Saddleback Unveils Brand-New, Ski-In/Ski-Out Staff HousingNovember 29, 2023
(Rangeley, Maine – November 17, 2023) The affordable housing crisis has impacted rural businesses, including ski areas, nationwide and put tremendous stress on the sustainability, and in many cases, the viability of these businesses. In a sort of perfect storm post pandemic, high housing costs coupled with the loss of long-term rentals to the VRBO/Airbnb market, has made it difficult for ski areas to find and retain a workforce.
Arctaris Impact Fund’s interest in reviving Saddleback Mountain was in re-establishing the region’s leading employer and it realized that to do so successfully, and to support all the other businesses in the greater Rangeley region, there needed to be a commitment to building a state-of-the-art workforce housing facility. Ground was broken in the spring of 2022, and the result: a ski-in, ski-out staff house that puts quality affordable housing right on the mountain.
The Saddleback Mountain staff house offers a quality-of-life for staff that connects to the South Branch lift, is yards from our mountain bike trails, and offers a locker room for storing skis and equipment. The dormitory-style housing has 43 rooms, which, depending on the room sharing, can house 60 to 70 people.
The private spaces come in a variety of options: a suite for two individuals with a private bathroom, a flex unit with two separate bedrooms and a shared bath which could also be rented as a single room with a private bath, and dorm rooms which share common bathrooms and showers on the same floor. Laundry facilities are available on each floor in the staff house. The common kitchen will have seating for as many as 30 people at a time.
Saddleback expects to accommodate nearly all the employees in need of winter housing for the 2023-2024 season and in the Spring, any available housing will be available for employees working at other businesses in the Rangeley region. In addition, Saddleback intends to work with other employers during the off-season at the mountain to offer housing for those employees.
“This project has been a huge undertaking for Saddleback, our property maintenance team, and our partners,” said Bruce Lancaster, Director of Facilities & Property Maintenance for Saddleback. “ I cannot say enough about the work this team has done to make the staff house doors open in time for the 2023-2024 season. This project will allow Saddleback to offer brand new affordable, local housing for our dedicated team members as well as other Rangeley businesses.”
Why the Saddleback Staff House is an Industry-Leading Project:
- Affordability: The staff house follows federal affordable housing guidelines by charging no more than 30% of the employee’s income.
- Ski-in, ski-out: Located just off the Smelt Streamer trail, the Saddleback Staff House is ski-in/ski-out. If arriving by skis, staff will walk through the main slopeside entrance into a shared locker room where they can store and dry their gear.
- Mountain-bike-in, Mountain-Bike-out: Saddleback’s new mountain bike trails also run through the campus and offer easy access to staff house residents in the summer and fall.
- On-site amenities & transportation: The staff house will have a shared kitchen and laundry on-site, offering all essential living amenities. Saddleback also plans to set up shuttle transportation to the base lodge and into downtown Rangeley for staff house residents.