AUBURN — Linc Hayes said all he ever wanted to do was keep Lost Valley Ski Banquet and Resort open for local families.

Friday’s sale to Robert Scott Shanaman does just that.

“To survive, we’d really had to make some changes, but I’d gotten frustrated and gave up,” Hayes said. “I couldn’t make the changes that had to be made. But Scott, he’s a new face, not tied to the past.”

Hayes said he and partner Connie King signed a sales agreement with Shanaman on Friday night, pending financing and a closing. Hayes said he expects the deal, for an undisclosed amount, to close before January.

Shanaman is a Wilton, N.H.-based tramway inspector, responsible for monitoring the chairlift connections at ski resorts. He could not be reached for comment Saturday but is expected at the resort on Monday, according to employees.

“He’s buying it for less than we were into it for,” Hayes said. “On top of that, he has the advantage of being in the trade and rubbing arms with the piston-pulley people and manufacturers. He knows the lifts and he knows that whole end of the trade, which gives him certain advantages.”

Staff at Lost Valley said rumors of the sale had spurred sales of discounted early season passes. Lost Valley had sold 375 season passes at the close of business Saturday, the last day to buy them at the discounted price. Last year, Lost Valley sold 255 discounted passes.

“We were full of people when we opened up this morning,” said Tad Bettcher, the ski and snowboard school director.

Hayes said Shanaman approached the owners last winter and said he might be interested in taking over.

“I think he knew we were struggling, so he let Connie know that for some reason, he was interested,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he always wanted to keep Lost Valley open. He and five others took over the resort from Fern Pontriand in 1999 with plans to make improvements that just never panned out.

“Nothing had ever changed; it just stood still in time,” Hayes said. “People would say, ‘Things don’t look bad,’ but where was the revenue?”

In June 2014,  owners announced they might not be able to open for the 2014-15 ski season and said they were facing about $1.6 million in debt.

A fundraising campaign and other events organized by local supporters who dubbed themselves Friends of Lost Valley raised about $23,000 and the resort opened in January 2015.

King announced in October that the mountain would open for the 2015-16 season.

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.

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