AUBURN — In six weeks’ time, Scott Shanaman has plenty of work to do.

Shanaman and his wife, April, signed a purchase and sales agreement, as well as an interim management agreement, for Lost Valley Ski & Banquet Resort on Friday. On Monday, the New Hampshire couple were on the property, crafting a to-do list.

“I’m excited; she’s nervous,” he joked.

Before opening day on Dec. 18, they want to paint and service the ski lifts, add new signage, trim up the hills, move the ski school into the former retail space downstairs and pare the name back to simply “Lost Valley.”

“The potential I see for this place is to turn the focus back to what it originally was — and that’s a ski area,” Scott Shanaman said.

“I want people to walk through the door and see a ski lodge and not a wedding place,” April Shanaman said.


Scott Shanaman graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in 1994 with a degree in the ski industries program and worked for Sugarloaf for 10 years in lift operations before starting his own company. Aerial NDT Inspection has more than 90 ski-area clients, from West Virginia to Wisconsin.

Lost Valley had been an Aerial customer for about 10 years, he said. He heard about the resort’s rocky finances when former owners Lincoln Hayes and Connie King announced last summer that Lost Valley was $1.6 million in debt and might not be able to open for the winter. A group calling itself Friends of Lost Valley emerged, and with help from the group and a crowd-sourcing campaign, Lost Valley opened in time last year.

“Many of my customers that are (in) the smaller areas, with good locations, they’re very, very successful,” Shanaman said. “I see that potential with this area.”

The couple started talking to Hayes and King in May. Now, they’d like to put the “will they or won’t they” behind Lost Valley.

“A ski area should not be a charity,” he said. “A ski area should support charity.” 

He expects to formally close on the sale in 2016 and said any debt will be paid at closing. Shanaman declined to disclose the purchase price. 


“We’re buying the assets of Lost Valley; we’re not buying the liabilities,” he said.

Next year, the Shanamans would like to add a snow-tubing park, a conveyor lift to help beginning skiers get up the hill and a small skating rink under the lights, as “everybody around here is pretty much born with skates on their feet,” Scott Shanaman said.

They will also upgrade the electrical drives on the two chairlifts to make them variable speed. That last upgrade will allow them to slow down if someone needs a few more seconds getting on or off, Shanaman said.

“We’ll be putting a lot of work into the snowmaking system next year,” he added.

This winter, both lifts will run whenever Lost Valley is open. Night-skiing has also been extended by an hour and is now open from 3 to 9 p.m.

Prices are staying similar to last season and so are the ski programs. They’ll start hiring soon but a lot of the staff will stay in place.


“We’re real excited (by the new direction) — elated,” said Tad Bettcher, snow sports and ski and snowboard school director.

They’re hoping to set a family-friendly tone with something for everyone, Shanaman said, and work toward having the area open year-round with plenty of activities.

The Shanamans’ three sons, ages 11, 9 and 6, all ski and play hockey. The plan is to eventually move the whole family to the area.

Meanwhile, “I’ll be here 25 hours a day,” Shanaman said.

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