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Saddleback 1/26-27 trip report

Whitey

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There seems to be a consensus among all the trip rpts; WBGITGMS = "would be great if they got more snow".

Salsgang seems to pretty well cover the Saddleback updates. But I'll offer my TR & 2 cents. Sorry - no pics, too cold to break out the camera. Skied 2 days at Saddleback. Many of the expert trails were closed. It was almost sad to look up and see the trails with rocks & stumps showing and knowing that with the base they have - just one decent snow storm in the last 2 weeks would have made all the difference ("WBGITGMS").

So it was mostly all glades & groomers. The glades were holding up surprisingly well. You had to watch for the stumps/rocks in the troughs but there were decent lines to be had in all of the middle glades (Nightmare, Intimidator, Thrombosis, Dark Wizard). Nightmare was probably best. But they all skied about the same. Dark Wizard was the most challenging. Groomer ROTD was Jitterbug down into Silver Doctor. Hero man-made/groomed snow all the way.

Casablanca was "open" and we somehow managed to ski almost all of the glades in there. We hit #2, #3, & #4. Long trek over as the wind had blown major whales along the route. Pretty "challenging" skiing. #2 was probably the best. After navigating the very sketchy tops, you were rewarded with some sweet turns thru the woods in the bottom half. I'd say stay away from #4 as it is really wind scoured.

The place was empty. Even with the cold, I couldn't believe on a peak ski weekend how dead the place was. Most of the day Sunday my son & I were the only ones on the Kennebago quad. Ski on to the lifts each day. They were blowing massive amounts of snow onto Tight Lines. Looked like they were going to groom it out & have it open for next weekend.

A couple of thoughts on Saddleback. 2nd time in last 2 yrs there for me for multiday trip. I love this place and think it has huge potential. (It's never been 100% when I've been there). However. . .

- For any of you wondering what to do with that spare couple of million you have, I'd say hold onto it. They've got to replace at least the main double with a quad just to get into the 21st century with everyone else. That lift was PAINFUL on a bitterly cold day. Plus they will have to make significant additions to their snowmaking capacity. Just too many closed trails.

- With SR & the 'loaf so nearby, I just don't know how Saddleback "makes the leap" and can generate the kind of skier visits that would make it profitable. Without the upgrades noted above, which would cost millions, I can't see how they compete. It's too far to be a day trip place (unless you live in Lewiston/Augusta). It would have to attract skiers to come & stay.

- Rangeley is still a snowmachiner's (vs skier's) town. The motel we stayed at had more snowmachines than cars parked in front of it. Has a cool vibe, but for anyone looking for the "ski weekend" experience, it's all "ski" and very little "weekend" (which I like, but it's not for most skiing families).

Again, love the place & will ski it again. But it's was hard, knowing it's for sale, not to ski/hang around there and think "I know why they are selling". Unless there is a sweet deal on the real estate around the base, not sure who is going to bite on that deal. It may have suffered some by comparison as we skied 'loaf the weekend before and the 'loaf was pretty epic. . .
 

Nick

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Interesting report, thanks for sharing. Will be interested in hearing from Chris at Saddleback (as soon as I get off my A$$ and send him the AZ Challenge questions :roll: ) about the sale, what it means, what to expect. I'll throw a question in the ring about the local economy + competition as you mention.
 
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