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Saddleback's Future Still Shrouded in Mystery
Saddleback's Future Still Shrouded in Mystery
The Maine ski area has not operated since April 2015.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Fan guns remain positioned on trails as a reminder of an aborted mid-season opening attempt. Chairlifts appear to be in various stages of maintenance. The base lodge remains active as a wedding venue. With the one year anniversary of the first talk of closure quickly approaching, no official announcements have been made about Saddleback's future.

Saddleback's last update was posted on February 8, 2016:
"We will not be open for February vacation week and any update on a possible opening date will be posted as we receive the information.
Saddleback is more than a mountain - it is a community of people. We are asking for your support as we seek to ensure the long term viability of this community. The Berry Family has made the decision not to pressure the buyer but to be supportive of the situation."

The area remained closed. A recent Facebook post by an employee suggests the owners are still working with the same perspective buyer.

Background
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.

In December 2015, the Berrys announced a prospective sale had delayed the start of the season and therefore offered season passholders a credit or refund.

In January 2016, Hertz placed a lien on Saddleback for non payment. Associated Design Partners, Inc. followed suit in March 2016.

The Rangeley Double Chairlift (July 2016)
The Rangeley Double Chairlift (July 2016)

A wedding sign (July 2016)
A wedding sign (July 2016)

Snow guns buried in lupine (July 2016)
Snow guns buried in lupine (July 2016)

The Kennebago Quad Chairlift (July 2016)
The Kennebago Quad Chairlift (July 2016)




Related Stories on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • NBC Portland: 'Money isn't there' for Majella Group Saddleback Purchase - November 21, 2017
  • Saddleback Mountain Foundation Receives 501(c)(3) Non Profit Status - November 14, 2017
  • Majella Announces Delay in Saddleback Sale, Construction - November 10, 2017
  • Concerns Mount at Saddleback - October 20, 2017
  • Majella Commits to Opening Saddleback for the 2017-18 Ski Season - September 19, 2017


  • More Information
  • Saddleback Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • Saddleback Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiHistory.com


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