RANGELEY (WGME) – The Saddleback Mountain ski resort has been closed for nearly five years but now there is an effort to reopen it.
But if the buyers want to get the ski lifts running again, they will need some help.
The goal is to raise $2 million dollars by Dec. 16.
“I think it’s probably going to happen. A good friend has been working with them and so I’m guessing it’s going to happen. We have had some disappointments so we’re all kind of reserved, so we’ll wait and see,” said Rangeley resident David Rodway.
Most of those who attended a packed meeting in the ski lodge recently were optimistic that Boston investment firm Arctaris and the resort’s new general manager, Andy Shephard, can raise the cash needed to close on the resort.
“I do think it’s going to happen. I don’t think we’d back here again like this, dragging the community up here, if they didn’t think they had something serious in place,” said Farmington resident Ryan Wilford.
“I’m very excited. I’m hopeful and I don’t see any reason it should derail at this point,” said Rangeley realtor Carolyn Smith.
Ted Rioux, a local property owner, also was confident the resort will reopen.
“I think the players involved are absolutely prepared to do what it takes,” he said.
Members of the buyer’s team said they have commitments from investors from Vermont to Chicago, though part of their pitch to secure the sale is asking local residents to help meet the $2 million dollar goal as well.
According to Shepard, the purchaser plans to open with a whole new skiing experience sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas of next year. Plans call for new ski lifts and snowmaking equipment and renovating the lodge, all to make the mountain a four-season resort.
If it happens, residents said, the reopened ski area would put Rangeley back on the map.
“It will be a great boom for the community and the condo holders and people who work in the whole business community in Rangeley,” realtor Smith said.