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Skiers Return To Saddleback After 5-Year Closure

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Fred Bever
/
Maine Public
Zooey and Mike Lambke of Skowhegan get stoked for their first run at Saddleback in five years.

Saddleback Mountain’s slopes opened to the public Tuesday morning after a five-year hiatus.

Eager skiers in Rangeley brushed aside near zero-degree temperatures and strong winds to return to the state’s third-largest ski area.

Skowhegan resident Mike Lambke was giddy about the chance to bring his now-teenage daughter to the hill, which closed while she was still a beginner.

“And now she’s ready to ski anything, so for me it’s — like, I’m going to get to watch Zooey ski the whole mountain,” he says with a laugh. “I’m so excited.”

And they’ll be able to get to the top a lot faster. The area’s new owners this summer tore down an old lift that was seen as one hindrance to the resort’s success and installed a high-speed lift that will carry skiers up in less than half the time.

The Boston-based Arctaris investment group is a so-called impact fund; its plans include providing workforce housing and day care on-site and year-round benefits for seasonal workers as well as permanent staff.