I’m one of those guys that pays attention to milestones in life, but I have to admit that with all the things I’ve had on my plate, the one-year anniversary of Arctaris buying and reopening Saddleback eluded me until yesterday afternoon. This is a milestone worth celebrating.
After 5 long, painful years and speculation the mountain would never open again, I remember jubilation when the deal was announced; fireworks over the lake, partying into the night and a lot of excitement, but I also remember a lot of hesitation at how much work needed to be done and whether we were up to the task. There was even a fair amount of speculation—especially when COVID hit—that the work would even be done.
Building a road to the top of the Rangeley—an incredible feat that literally required moving mountains—turned a few heads, but it wasn’t until the helicopters arrived to deliver the towers for the Rangeley to their platforms that the tide of optimism overwhelmed any lingering doubts that existed within and outside the Saddleback family.
The impact of the new Rangeley has been obvious, the new snowmaking system has allowed us to open our entire mountain in a low snow year before all but Black Mountain, the work on the lodge has made it one of, if not the safest in the East, and the quality of skiing and friendly vibe has calmed the fears that the new owners would not value the culture that has defined Saddleback for generations.
As proud as we are of the progress that’s been made, we are focused on continuing that progress. Plans for this summer include building a 5-megawatt solar farm, a spectacular mid-mountain lodge, a new lift, adding parking, a shuttle fleet and a host of other improvements to ensure we continue toward our goal of meeting the needs of our remarkable Saddleback family for generations to come.
Thank you, Saddleback Family, for being part of this remarkable year.
- Andy Shepard