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New Buyer Says Maine's Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort Could Reopen In Late 2020

A deal that could bring the Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort back to life is in the works — again.

Just last year, an Australian developer who had planned to buy the mountain was arrested for fraud. Now a new buyer has been found, and he has plans to reopen late next year.

Andy Shepard will be the mountain's new general manager. He led the redevelopment of Black Mountain in Rumford and Big Rock in Mars Hill, as community-owned nonprofits. Saddleback will be a different kind of venture, he says — for-profit and year-round.

He adds that as he has worked on the deal, business owners and home-owners in the Rangeley area have been anxiously quizzing him about the fate of the resort, which has been closed for four years.

"Some of them are families that bought condos for their kids when they were young because they wanted their kids to have that kind of lifestyle and, specifically, to have that kind of lifestyle at Saddleback, which had a unique culture,” Shepard says. “And since they bought it, they've not had a chance to use it, and how they've seen their childhood slipping away and how sad that's been."

Late yesterday, representatives of owners Bill and Irene Berry announced they had completed negotiations with a Boston-based investment firm, the Arctaris Impact Fund, for Saddleback’s purchase. Sanford says the deal should be finalized by late December. Then renovations and construction of new infrastructure can begin, with an eye toward opening by Thanksgiving of 2020.

Correction: Andy Shepard, not Sanford, will be Saddleback's new general manager.

Originally published 6:39 a.m. Nov. 8, 2019