RANGELEY — The operators of Saddleback have been unsuccessful over the summer in raising funds for a new ski lift. They may, however, have a buyer for the resort.

In July, owners of the ski resort said that Saddleback wouldn’t open this winter unless they could get $3 million to replace an old, slow ski lift.

Early Wednesday night, resort operators posted on their Facebook page that attempts to raise the money had stalled.

“Over the past 44 days, we have exhausted all reasonable financing options for replacing the Rangeley Double Chair with a quad,” according to the report, posted at about 5:45 p.m. “Although we have not been able to secure financing for the quad, there has been significant interest in a purchase of the resort.

“As many of you know,” the post continued, “commercial transactions of this nature take time; buyers need to do their due diligence (homework) and the process requires a high level of confidentiality. The degree of confidentiality can be frustrating to all of us, because we would love to tell you what is going on but legal restrictions prevent us from sharing.”

In July, Saddleback General Manager Chris Farmer said the 51-year-old double chairlift that leads to all of its other chairlifts is creating a bottleneck at the base of the mountain. The Berry family, which owns the resort, wanted to replace it with a quadruple lift that will move twice as many people an hour.

Having failed that, resort officials on Wednesday posted a variety of scenarios that may dictate how the business is run in the future.

* We have a buyer negotiating to buy the resort and install a quad lift this season.

* We have a buyer negotiating to buy the resort; will remain closed for the ski season and install a lift next summer.

* We have two potential buyers looking at operating status quo for the winter. Improvements would begin next summer.

* We are also discussing a leasing option.

Since buying the resort in 2003, the Berry family has spent more than $40 million on improvements, according to published reports. They put the resort, most of its 121 condominiums and 400 acres on the market in 2012 for $14 million.

It’s currently for sale for $9.5 million with 2,070 acres.

The resort employs up to 300 people in the winter and has averaged 80,000 to 100,000 skier visits per year. Saddleback’s owners say the resort is the third-largest employer in Franklin County.

“The Berry Family is evaluating all options with the goal of a sustainable future for Saddleback,” according to the Facebook post. “We appreciate the outpouring of support from our community and customers — this is a tough time for all of us.

“We understand the frustration about the unpredictability of the future and not being able to make winter plans,” the post continued. “We assure you we are doing everything in our power to resolve these questions as soon as possible.”

Two hours after the news was posted, dozens of skiers and Saddleback supporters had posted on the company Facebook page. The story had also been shared nearly 100 times.

Saddleback officials could not be reached Wednesday night for further details.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: