The restoration of what was once one of the largest Maine ski resorts could be returning to its former glory. The Maine ski resort, which is currently known as Big Squaw, has been without lift service on the upper portion of the mountain since 2004. In 2021, Big Lake Development, LLC announced plans to reinvigorate the ski resort, but needed state approval in order to start construction.
The Bangor Daily News reports that the state of Maine gave conditional development permit approval for a $126.3 million redevelopment project that would help grow a ski resort that’s been partially closed for decades. Here are some of the conditions: they need to start construction in two years, complete the project within five years, reach a wastewater disposal agreement with the Moosehead Sanitary District, among many other factors that involve financial and environmental terms.
Some planned additions include a sixty-three-room hotel, a new base lodge, a detachable chairlift to the summit, a zip-line tour, a taphouse and restaurant, major snowmaking upgrades, and more. An outdoor center was initially planned but was eventually removed from the proposals.
It’s been a bumpy ride for Big Squaw, but a name change is inevitable. Federal sites with derogatory Native American names have recently been renamed, so you can expect a change at this Maine ski resort as well. It’s great to see the era end where current owner James Confalone abused the property, shutting down the upper mountain, and used the land for illegal timber harvesting. In March, he was forced to pay $3.8 million to make repairs to the ski resort that he helped partially destroy.
In spite of this great news, I personally have some hesitations about the development. With so many excellent ski resort competitors in Maine, along with the remoteness of the location, you have to ask yourself: if you build it, will they come?