AUBURN — After the community rallied in September and saved the ski season for financially troubled Lost Valley, its owners committed to opening one chairlift this winter.

The ski area announced Tuesday that running both lifts will allow it to open all 17 trails — and that season pass sales this year have already beat last year’s sales.

Owners Connie King and Lincoln Hayes had originally projected that it would take an additional $40,000 to $50,000 to start the second lift.

Spokesman Paul Badeau said Tuesday that a strong turnout at a volunteer day last month to spruce up the 54-year-old ski area helped, along with the condition of the second lift being better, and less expensive to repair, than feared.

“A number of people showed up with their heavy equipment and were able to clear brush and clean out the trails, so that saved them a lot of money in equipment rental, fuel and manpower,” Badeau said.

An original fundraising campaign on Crowdrise by the Friends of Lost Valley gave the business a $26,000 boost after King and Hayes announced in late summer that the next season was in jeopardy. Ticket sales hadn’t kept up with mounting costs for repairs and the business was more than $1 million in debt.


A second Crowdrise campaign has been started to help with ongoing maintenance.

Badeau said owners continue to look at creating a nonprofit structure for the mountain and are working with an advisory committee.

“It is absolutely humbling and heartwarming to know that so many people have come to the aid of our mountain,” King said in a news release. “This facility is critically important to kids who are tomorrow’s athletes. It gets them off their electronic devices and instead gives them an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. If it wasn’t for Lost Valley, athletes like former World Cup champion and Olympic competitor Julie Parisien would not have achieved the success they did. Lost Valley could be home to the next Seth Wescott or Bode Miller.”

Opening day is set for Dec. 19, depending on the weather.

“If it’s cold enough to make snow, they will be open,” Badeau said. 

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