The communication tower on the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley collapsed Monday as winds blew at an estimated 100 mph. (Sugarloaf photo)

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — A 120-foot communication tower on the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain folded in half during high winds Monday.

This photo of the communication tower on the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain was taken Feb. 19, 2019. Sugarloaf photo

Sugarloaf resort staff took a photo of the dramatic sight showing the tower bent in an upside-down V, surrounded by tiny trees, looking more like something in a post-battle scene on the planet Hoth in Star Wars’ “The Empire Strikes Back.”

They estimated the tower crumpled sometime between 1 and 4 p.m.

Spokeswoman Noelle Tuttle said the ski resort leases space on the 4,237-foot summit to companies that own and operate many towers.

The tower that was toppled Monday is owned by Somerset Telephone Co., which does business as TDS Telecom, according to corporate spokeswoman DeAnne Boegli in Madison, Wisconsin.

Boegli said Tuesday the tower hosts several cellphone carriers, “as well as other third-party communication services,” including U.S. Homeland Security, according to The Associated Press.


The company was still trying to assess the damage and impact but could not approach the tower until the winds died down.

“The two-story building under the tower site remains operational with power and heat, according to data being collected from the unmanned site,” Boegli wrote in a news release. “Once conditions improve, a full site evaluation will be conducted and plans for tower restoration will begin.”

“The summit was closed (Monday) due to the wind, so there was no one up there at the time it blew over,” Sugarloaf’s Tuttle added.

All lifts were closed after 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday morning because of wind.

The anemometer used to measure wind speed on the mountain broke Monday, but Ethan Austin, director of marketing at Sugarloaf, said staff estimated wind speed at more than 100 mph.

New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet high, recorded a wind gust of 171 mph Monday, an all-time peak for February, according to The Associated Press.

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