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Business and Economy

Saddleback Season Pass Holders Still Wondering If The Mountain Will Open

Frustrated season ski pass holders may learn this week whether Saddeback Mountain will be able to open for the coming season, according to the resort's general manager.

Back in July, Saddleback's owners, the Berry family, announced the mountain would be forced to close if it could not come up with $3 million in financing to replace the aging Rangeley double chairlift with a new four-person ski lift.

An update on Saddleback's Facebook page, in early October, said the mountain was in serious talks with a buyer, but there's been little information since then about the resort's immediate future.

 

We are in the midst of serious negotiations with a buyer that plans to open for the winter-hope to be up and running soon. Keep you posted as soon as we have more information!!! Posted by SADDLEBACK MAINE on Thursday, October 8, 2015

In the July message, Saddleback officials said the Berrys had guaranteed that all season pass holders would be reimbursed, if the mountain failed to open for the upcoming ski season. But the limited flow of information since then on possible sale and reimbursement plans has left some Saddleback skiers shaking their heads.

 

Latest Update-Saddleback Continues to Seek OptionsThe Berry Family Continues to Seek $3 Million in Financing to Replace... Posted by SADDLEBACK MAINE on Friday, July 31, 2015

"I guess I've been thinking it's going to be dark for a year," says Luke Labbe, who lives in Falmouth, skies at Saddeback every winter with his wife and three young kids.

The Labbe family has owned a condo at the resort for several years. It's right on the mountain at about 2,000 feet above sea level, a short ski away from the base lodge. Labbe has already paid about $1,900 for passes for the upcoming season.

"I don't really want to drop a couple more grand, or $3,000, to go to Sugarloaf, if our mountain is going to open for two months and stick it to the ticket owners, season pass holders," Labbe says.

If Saddleback closes, Labbe says Shawnee Peak has offered the family a season pass for $750, well below the normal rate of $2,150. But Shawnee, located in Bridgton, is over 100 miles away from Saddleback. Sunday River and Sugarloaf, which are much closer, have offered the family their early bird April rates.

"I expect that Saddleback will be following up in the near future," says Greg Sweetser, head of the Ski Maine trade group. "I mean, obviously, it's just about December. Winter is here in the state of Maine."

Sweetser says Saddleback has been mum about the status of any sale talks.

"It's been very quiet," says Sweetser. "Everybody is just waiting for some announcement."

If the mountain were to remain closed for the year, another early season pass buyer says he's not worried about getting his money back. Dick Hall and his family have been skiing at Saddleback since the early 1970s.

"In my opinion, the Berrys are extremely honorable people," says Hall. "And I can't imagine that they wouldn't eventually pay it back. Now, it would not surprise me if they have to wait till they sell it, before they can pay that back."

Chris Farmer, Saddleback's general manager, declined to do a taped interview on the status of any negotiations, but said an announcement on the ski area's future could come as early as the middle of the week.