Lost Valley finds funds to open this winter

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AUBURN — Lost Valley will open for the season.

After going public with the ski slope’s shaky finances this summer and reaching out for help, owners Lincoln Hayes and Connie King said in an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday that Lost Valley will open this winter.

Surrounded by people wearing colorful “FOLV” (Friends of Lost Valley) T-shirts, Hayes and King said they plan to form a board of directors, close on Mondays and purchase new snow-gun towers for substantial energy savings.

They also said they plan to slash season ticket prices to nearly half the price of last season in the hopes of selling more passes and, Hayes said, get back to its roots as a family mountain.

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Community fundraising has brought in $23,000. Originally, the owners had said they could open one lift with $50,000 in donations and both lifts with $100,000.

One lift will open this winter giving access to 65 percent of the mountain, Hayes said. If fundraising keeps up and early ticket sales look strong, they’ll open the second lift.

“We’re taking a leap of faith that it will continue,” he said last week. “People have come out of the woodwork in terms of volunteering their services. We had a gentleman call us, ‘I’ve got a Bush Hog, I’ll come out and mow the hill.'”

Hayes and King have owned Lost Valley for 10 years and lost money each of those years, according to Hayes. He estimated the mountain’s debt at $1.6 million.

The ski resort first opened in 1961, founded by the late Otto Wallingford and Camille “Doc” Gardner. It’s been the home terrain to such notable skiers as former U.S. Olympian Julie Parisien.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

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