Moosehead Lake Ski Resort Redevelopment Postponed to 2023
The existing Big Squaw area will continue to operate this winter.
Friday, December 17, 2021, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
The proposed Moosehead Lake Ski Resort will not open until the winter of 2023-24, the Bangor Daily News reports.
According to the Bangor Daily News, funding and supply chain issues have slowed the project. Earlier this year, the prospective developers had hoped to have a new quad chairlift installed for this winter. A partial reopening is reportedly still possible next winter.
In the meantime, the non-profit Friends of the Mountain group has been preparing and improving the existing lower mountain ski area and plans to operate the triple chairlift as soon as snow conditions permit. Adult weekend day passes will remain priced at $30.
The abandoned upper base area (2019)
Big Lake Development Company, LLC is operated by Perry Williams of Spruce Head, Maine. Williams was previously employed by Majella in 2017 during the Australian company's initial efforts to reopen Saddleback Mountain Resort. Provident Resources Group, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana company primarily involved in educational and senior living developments, is working with Big Lake Development to procure funding for the once-estimated $75 million project. Though it does not have any ski development experience, it does claim to have facilitated the development of water parks. Provident is also involved in the proposed Balsams reopening in Northern New Hampshire.
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.
Big Lake Development Company reportedly entered into an agreement to purchase the 1,200+ acre Big Squaw property in 2019. As of mid-December 2021, the deal has yet to close. According to the Bangor Daily News, Big Lake Development was issued a $385,000 loan last December by the Eastern Maine Development Corp.
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.
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.