The transformation of Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley, Maine has been extraordinary. From 2015 to 2020, the ski resort was closed to the public. Since the Arctaris Impact Fund bought the ski resort in 2020, they have spent millions of dollars to modernize Saddleback. Some of the projects completed so far include a renovated base lodge with some of the best air quality in the ski industry, a new high-speed quad, a new t-bar, adding mountain biking to their summer activities, and much more. A couple of weeks ago, I got to speak with Jim Quimby (General Manager), Jared Emerson (Director of Operations), and Molly Shaw (Marketing Manager at Saddleback) to discuss what’s going on at the iconic Maine ski resort this summer.
The major lift addition of the offseason is the new Sandy Quad. Originally, the Sandy Double(and a rope tow most recently) serviced the Wheeler Slope trail. The new lift, which is being manufactured by Partek, will have a carrying capacity of 1600 people per hour and have a ride time of just under four minutes. The purposes of the new lift include connecting to the t-bar, and it will serve the upper condos and terrain park. One of the cool future features the Sandy lift could include is night skiing. Saddlebacks leadership team is considering putting night lights on Wheeler Slope, which is home to the ski resort’s largest terrain park.
Two major buildings are also being built at the resort: the Mid-Mountain Lodge, and the Saddleback House, which will be their employee housing complex. They originally aimed to have the Mid-Mountain Lodge open for the 2021-22 season, but supply chain issues, along with the challenges of constructing at 3700 feet above sea level, have delayed its opening to the beginning of the 2022-23 season. With a targeted completion date of November 2022, the Saddleback House project will be the first ski-in/ski-out employee housing project of its kind in Maine. The continued growth of their mountain biking operations will also be a priority for this summer. Their mountain bike trails are currently experiencing a delayed opening due to wetter surfaces than expected. Lift serviced mountain biking will be added for the first time ever this summer, as Saddleback purchased some bike carriers from Deason Built. They are aiming to reopen their South Branch quad for lift service operations in late July 2022. Saddleback will also be opening a full-service bike shop at the resort on June 17th, which will include bike shop repair and tuning equipment from AJ’s Cycles. Snowmaking continues to be a priority for Saddleback. They will be building a new booster pumphouse, which will double their capacity. This project will be completed in time for the 2023-24 season. Other snowmaking projects include adding fixed snowguns/stick guns from SMI and increasing their water electricity by adding water hydrants.
For drivers, Saddleback is also working on improving the access road and adding charging stations for electric vehicles. This week, Saddleback is starting the project of rebuilding and repaving its 4.6-mile access road to make it smoother for the wintertime. Saddleback will also be adding twelve electric vehicle charging stations to their parking lots. It’s shaping up to be another awesome season at Saddleback. If you are taking a vacation to Maine, you should definitely check this place out. Image Credits: Saddleback Mountain