Maine ski area had previously postponed the start of the season multiple times.
Friday, February 26, 2016, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Saddleback is closed for the season, according to a recent update on SnoCountry.com. In addition, the ski area's live webcam, which had remained streaming throughout the fall and winter, was disconnected nearly a week ago.
The developments come almost two months after Saddleback announced a sale was in progress and that the ski area would open in late January. The last update from the ski area came on February 8, when it announced it would not open in time for Presidents' Week. The area's once heavily moderated Facebook page now features many critical posts.
As of today, none of the ski area's lifts have been listed by the State Elevator and Tramway Safety Program database as certified or inspected for the 2015-16 season. In addition, no property transfer has been listed in the Registry of Deeds. The most recent transaction was on Monday, January 4, when Hertz placed a lien on the property for unpaid rental equipment charges incurred in 2015.
It is not known if the pending sale of the ski area is still active.
The latest Saddleback saga started on July 20, 2015, when the Berry family announced they had two weeks to place an order for a replacement for the Rangeley double chairlift, or else it would close the ski area. The family was unable to obtain financing.
Heirs to a large insurance company, Bill and Irene Berry purchased the Rangeley ski area and thousands of acres surrounding it for a reported $8 million in 2003, following an announcement from prior owner Donald Breen that it would close. Two new quad chairlifts were installed in subsequent years in conjunction with a major base lodge expansion. The Oquossoc Cove Marina was added to the fold in 2009.
After obtaining is B.S. in civil engineering from Lehigh University in 1955, M.S.T. in biology-geology from Colby College in 1966, and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Kansas in 1970, Archie "Bill" Berry Jr. joined the faculty of the University of Maine at Farmington. A longtime Saddleback skier, Berry purchased a condo near the ski area in the early 1990s and retired from UMF in 1996. Berry's son Mark worked at Sugarloaf and ran Titcomb Mountain ski area (to which Bill Berry made significant contributions).
In 1971, the U.S. Investment Corporation was founded, which would include Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company and US Underwriters Insurance Company. On August 8, 2000, Berkshire Hathaway acquired the U.S. Investment Corporation for an estimated $160 million in stock, mainly transferred to the extended Berry family.
On July 28, 2003, Saddleback, Inc. and Saddleback Land & Timber Corp. were incorporated in the State of Maine. Bill Berry, his wife Irene Berry, and their seven children soon took ownership of the 8,000 acre Saddleback tract via their corporations.
Since 2005, Saddleback has entered into multi-million dollar financing agreements with UnitedKinfield Bank, Camden National Bank, Skowhegan Savings Bank (via Finance Authority of Maine), and Coastal Enterprises Inc.
The Berry family placed the ski area on the market in 2012.
In recent years, members of the Berry family have loaned money to both corporations.
In May 2014, the Berrys sold 1,750 acres of land to generate funds.