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Skiers Return To Saddleback After 5-Year Closure

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.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.