The Northern Maine mountain will be forced to rely on natural snow this winter.
Wednesday, December 20, 2023, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Somber news continues to emerge as ski resorts assess damage from Monday's catastrophic rain storm. In a Facebook post today, the non-profit operator of Big Squaw Mountain announced that their snowmaking dam failed.
Friends of the Mountain started the post by saying, "We would be lying if we said everything was fine. It’s not fine," adding, "Overnight, the force of melting snowpack was so strong it broke concrete walls. What you see is only the a part of the damage at the base. The ground is still too soft for equipment to inspect the trails. Now 100% dependent on natural snow, we will open for skiing when the snow accumulates."
Located near Moosehead Lake, Squaw Mountain debuted in 1963 as a T-Bar served ski area, expanding its vertical drop to 1,700 feet with the installation of a double chairlift in 1967. Snowmaking was installed in 1970. In 1974, Scott Paper Company gave the resort to the State of Maine, which struggled with it for a dozen years before selling it in 1986. The resort subsequently went through a series of owners and operators until James Confalone acquired it in 1995. A March 2004 upper chairlift failure resulted in skiing being limited to the lower mountain until the entire operation ceased in 2010.
After sitting idle for two years, the Friends of Squaw Mountain Big Squaw for the 2012-13 season. The non-profit later became known as Friends of the Mountain and has continued to invest in the area, including reclaiming trails and buildings and installing a novice carpet lift. The group resurrected the snowmaking system for the 2014-15 season. A Borvig triple chairlift currently serves 660 vertical feet of terrain. A 13-passenger snowcat was acquired this year to provide access to the upper mountain.