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Doubts Mount Over Saddleback 2017-18 Reopening
Doubts Mount Over Saddleback 2017-18 Reopening
Work and communications appear to have slowed to a crawl.
Monday, December 18, 2017, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Sandy Chairlift, December 2017
Sandy Chairlift, December 2017

Though a foot of snow now coats Saddleback, optimism for a 2017-18 reopening is fading. As of mid-December, the ski area remains idle, with no lifts ready to carry eager skiers. An oft-heard response in Rangeley is "hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst."

The latest saga dates back to July 2015, when the Berry family, owners of Saddleback, announced the Rangeley double was "at end of its useful life" and that operations would cease if the lift could not be replaced. The lift was not replaced and the ski area sat idle for the following two winters.

Majella Global Headquarters
Majella Global Headquarters

On June 28, 2017, the Berry family announced Saddleback was being sold to the Majella Group. At that time, Majella announced the sale would be completed later in the summer and that a new fixed grip quad chairlift and T-Bar would be installed in 2017. At the time, Majella did not commit to operating in 2017-18.

On September 18, 2017, Majella declared "dominoes have fallen into place" and that "physical work is starting" and that "the first step will be taking down the existing Rangeley lift." As of mid December, the chairs remain on the Rangeley Double. However, chairs were removed from the other lifts and remain on the ground, now buried in snow. Saddleback's lifts have not passed state inspection since November 2014.

Also on September 18, with regard to a 2017-18 reopening, Majella posted, "only thing that is going to hold up or delay this process is Mother Nature" and that Majella was "committed to opening in some capacity for the 2017-18 ski season, assuming Mother Nature does not deliver an early winter with heavy snow."

On November 9, Majella announced delays in the sale, while also adding uncertainty to a 2017-18 reopening by stating it "will not be a full opening, rather a limited operation that, if possible, will allow our Saddlebackers and their families to return and enjoy the mountain in some capacity."

On November 21, NBC Portland reported it had "learned exclusively that the money isn’t there," adding "if the group doesn't come up with the money soon, the deal could fall apart entirely."

Last week, when seeking operating information for its 2017-18 ski season round up, the Portland Press Herald stated, "management deferred comment to a Majella spokeswoman who didn’t respond to requests for comment."

Meanwhile, ski areas from Rhode Island to Maine have opened for the season.

Sandy Chairlift, December 2017
Sandy Chairlift, December 2017

Rangeley Chairlift Not Removed, December 2017
Rangeley Chairlift Not Removed, December 2017

Rangeley and South Branch Chairlifts, December 2017
Rangeley and South Branch Chairlifts, December 2017

Cupsuptic T-Bar, December 2017
Cupsuptic T-Bar, December 2017
Cupsuptic T-Bar, December 2017




Related Stories on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • Proposed Saddleback Purchase Involved in Australian Fraud Case - July 10, 2018
  • Prospective Saddleback Buyer Released on Bail - June 22, 2018
  • Prospective Saddleback Buyer Arrested, Charged with Fraud - June 21, 2018
  • Prospective Saddleback Buyer Talked of Arranging Hostesses 'So We Don’t Have to Get the Bloody Brothel Licence' - May 2, 2018
  • Problems Mount for Prospective Saddleback Buyer - March 21, 2018


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


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