Saddleback Ski Area announced plans to build a $4.5 million employee housing facility yesterday, and members of the ski community are rejoicing.
Saddleback has begun the process with a generous donation of $1.5 million from Susan and Fritz Onion, and is seeking to raise another $1 million for the facility. They’re naming it ‘Saddleback House’.
The employee housing facility will contain 100 beds and be located at the base of the South Branch quad chair. This means employees won’t have to drive to get to work.
Here’s to hoping more ski resorts follow Saddleback’s lead in offering employee housing. The housing market near most ski resorts has inflated to a point where the average kid making even $15/hour can’t afford rent. We need more employee housing facilities at or near ski resorts in the future.
Check out more information about Saddleback House here. Considering donating if you can. Contact Chris Massi, Director of Development, at 207-208-0901 or CHRIS.MASSI@SADDLEBACKMAINE.COM for more info!
Updated renderings of the Saddleback House. Planned 100-beds for workforce housing accommodations. Construction could start as early as late spring 2022.
— Saddleback Maine (@SaddlebackMaine) November 30, 2021
“Rangeley, Maine (November 30, 2021) – Saddleback Mountain is very excited to announce a lead gift of $1.5 million to support the development of critically needed workforce housing for the greater Rangeley region. The donation is being made by Susan and Fritz Onion in collaboration with Venn Foundation.
Donors Susan and Fritz Onion explained, “Having grown up skiing and hiking in the area, we know Rangeley is a resilient community and one of the most beautiful areas in Maine. However, we also know that economic development is constrained because workforce housing is in very short supply. To attract and retain workers – to grow the economy – we wanted to do something to help increase the amount of affordable housing available.”
Saddleback was purchased by Arctaris Impact Fund in 2020. “Arctaris’ interest in Saddleback was in re-establishing its role as the largest employer in the region,” said Andy Shepard, Saddleback General Manager. “Our efforts to work with the community to help solve for challenges like affordable housing for employees, access to childcare and being able to provide seasonal workers with year-round benefits are all a part of the mission that goes along with being owned by an Impact Fund. To have partners like Susan and Fritz, who have been providing thought leadership to Maine for years, bring their leadership to this effort will be transformative.”
The $1.5 million major gift launches a campaign to raise a total of $2.5 million from the community to build housing for seasonal workers in Rangeley and to be located at Saddleback Mountain. Construction on the $4.5 million, 100-bed accommodation could start as early as late spring 2022. The remaining $2 million in construction costs will come from other sources.
With both private and shared rooms, common kitchen areas, as well as ski-in/ski-out or bike-in/bike-out trailside living, the lodging is designed to attract and retain staff who might work on Saddleback Mountain during the winter and at local restaurants, retail shops and other local businesses during the summer. The goal is to make Rangeley, Maine, with its stunning natural scenery, rugged mountain, world renowned waterways, plentiful jobs, and down-to-earth, hard-working people a national destination for those who want to live and work in this remarkable community.
Chris Massi, Saddleback’s Director of Development, added, “Fritz and Susan are making a huge difference in the region, and with their gift, we’re now more than 60% of the way toward our $2.5 million goal. Workforce housing helps every business in town, but it does so much more. As we raise the next $1 million with Venn Foundation, it brings us closer to meeting the needs of the people of Rangeley and the long-term future of the region.”
“Charitable impact can be achieved by many different types of organizations, and that includes investors like Arctaris Impact Fund and businesses like Saddleback Mountain,” said Jeff Ochs, CEO of Venn Foundation, “We are proud to be investing in Saddleback Mountain to create more affordable workforce housing in Rangeley, and we invite all other interested philanthropists to join Susan and Fritz Onion in advancing this work as well.”