Plans include reopening the upper mountain and developing new real estate.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
A bold new development is being proposed at Big Squaw, the Bangor Daily News reports.
Big Lake Development Company, LLC reportedly entered into an agreement to purchase the 1,200+ acre Big Squaw property in 2019. Big Squaw has been owned since 1995 by James Confalone, who operated the entire ski area until a March 2004 upper chairlift failure. The lower mountain ceased operations in 2010, sitting idle until The Friends of Squaw Mountain restored it for the 2012-13 season. In November 2020, a state judge ordered Confalone to restore the upper mountain to operating condition and to pay a fine for illegal logging on the property.
The abandoned upper base area (2019)
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. 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 Confalone acquired it.
Big Lake Development Company, LLC is operated by Perry Williams of Spruce Head, Maine. Williams was previously employed by Majella in 2017 during its initial efforts to reopen Saddleback Mountain Resort.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Provident Resources Group of Baton Rouge, Louisiana is working with Big Lake Development to procure Finance Authority of Maine funding for the estimated $75 million development. Provident has been involved in educational and senior living developments. Though it does not have any ski development experience, it does claim to have facilitated the development of water parks.
According to plans prepared in the spring of 2020, the upper base area would be redeveloped with a new hotel, base lodge, and brew pub built around a new quad chairlift. A new snowmaking system would be fed by Mountain View Pond, located below the area. Non-ski attractions would include zip lines and a marina. Real estate development would include 108 condominiums, 315 townhomes, and 60 houses. 358 to 477 new jobs would be created.
The new development would be called Moosehead Lake Ski Resort, recalling its early 1990s Moosehead Resort name. Developers are aiming for a 2022 reopening.
In a Facebook post today, the Friends of the Mountain stated, "It’s such an exciting time at our mountain. Even though the lifts and lodge are not currently open, there is a bustle of activity. Please be patient and supportive during this time of transition. Here’s to the future!"