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Saddleback

machski

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As for the Berry family - did they really hold out? Seems to me they didn’t have any offers before except for the swindling Australian guy and the nonprofit type group.


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I have to think someone or group made an offer or 2 just for the land but not necessarily to operate a ski resort.

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deadheadskier

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I just bought a test drive ticket and booked a house in Rangeley Monday through Friday of NH school vacation week. Will ski Tu-Th.

Hard to beat at $135 for a three day lift ticket

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Newpylong

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As for the Berry family - did they really hold out? Seems to me they didn’t have any offers before except for the swindling Australian guy and the nonprofit type group.


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Holding out or not holding out aside, they certainly could have let the place go to shit while not operating but they spent a lot of money out of their pockets to keep the place maintained. Outside of the Rangley and Casumptic the lifts were maintained and so were the buildings, trails and snowmaking. If this was not the case, there would be no opening this year.
 
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Smellytele

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Holding out or not holding out aside, they certainly could have let the place go to shit while not operating but they spent a lot of money out of their pockets to keep the place maintained. Outside of the Rangley and Casumptic the lifts were maintained and so were the buildings and snowmaking. If this was not the case, there would be no opening this year.

They had to so they could eventually sell it. Let it go to shit and never be able to sell it.


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Glade Monkey

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The maintenance was pretty minimal during the last 5 years. Biggest thing they did was run a groomer up the t-bar line occasionally to make it easier for people to skin up.

Besides the Rangeley double, the new owners took out the Sandy double and Cupsuptic T-bar, because they were beyond repair.
So the only remaining lifts are two newer quads (one which covers the learning terrain downhill from the lodge, and the Kennebago which covers the top half). The new HSQ build is proceeding nicely and they plan to replace the t-bar next year.
Also while expanding the upstairs of the lodge, they had to completely re-shingle the roof. Plus, all the snowmaking pumps were just sent out for rehab. They have started cleaning up the glades and mowing the trails which were getting somewhat overgrown. Last picture I saw of the yurt at bottom of the Kennebago, it didn't look like it could be saved, but hope springs eternal.
I am looking forward to taking a 4 minute ride on the new lift, versus the old (cold) 11 minute ride up.
I bought a test drive pass.
 
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Edd

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Do they have the same mountain ops director from the last season they were open? They appear to moving along at a very confident pace.


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Glade Monkey

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Do they have the same mountain ops director from the last season they were open? They appear to moving along at a very confident pace.
They still have Jim Quimby and other key long timers. There is new GM and Marketing person who I supposed were hired by Arctaris.
Since this lift is the only new one that Doppelmayr is installing in New England this summer it is getting all of their attention.
As for the other updates & upgrades they had 5 years to dream & plan them ;-)
 

x10003q

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I like that Saddleback will be up and running again and all they are doing.

Now, as to the Berry Family, I think we should acknowledge and/or thank them for holding out on just selling the resort and that they sold it to a group that would actually revitalize the resort. I mean, in our wildest dreams, did any of us ever really believe anyone would come in, add a detachable quad, rebuild a fairly recently renovated lodge, add COVID inspired HVAC, beef up the snowmaking (which every resort seems to do every year), and more.

Every now and then I read an article on their hiring and rehiring, and some of the work going on. I'd love to read a report on the glades being thinned out and opened up, they surely must have grown in over the past 5 years.

I am just looking forward to skiing there this season and seeing what Arctaris is doing there. And I gotta say that I really appreciate the Berry's not just selling off the land for condos or whatever. Kudos.

Before you canonize the Berry's, we need to remember the clown show that they have been running since they bought SB in 2003. Yes, they get credit for spending the money, but they also get credit for the horrible decision making, starting with spending $13 million on the lodge in 2004 before replacing the Rangeley double. Who spends $13 million on a ski lodge at a mountain that, in 2003, had 15,000 visits? A FGQ replacing Rangeley would have cost $3million (at the time), still leaving $10 million to be spent on the Lodge. This would have shored up the weakest part of SB.

During the summer of 2008, they replaced the Kennebago T-bar on the upper mountain with a quad instead of replacing the Rangeley lift to get to the upper mountain.
In 2012 they put SB on the market for a ridiculous $12 million and that only included the 400 acre ski area and lodge, not all the rest of the 8000 acres they own for expansion. How could anybody consider SB worth $12 million when they probably never cracked 100k visits and the Rangeley double main lift needing to be replaced?
In the summer of 2015, after spending $40million since 2003 (the Berry's number), they finally drew a line in the sand and it was over financing the older than dirt and now broken and unfixable Rangely Double. At the same time, the Cupsuptic T-bar (for upper mountain access) also needed to be replaced.

Then, in 2017, after every major ski company in the US passes on SB, they announce a deal with a guy who had zero experience with ski areas, no sign of financing, and property tax issues in Portland, Me. As anybody with an internet connection could see, this guy was a fraud and was soon arrested in Australia for trying to pull another RE scam. This wasted another year or 2.

It took the miracle and funny financing of Arctaris Impact Fund( they solicited donations in order to close the deal!?!?!?!?) for the Berry's to finally sell, after wasting 8 years from their initial attempt to sell SB.

I only hope the Saddleback timeline gets better.
 

Smellytele

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Before you canonize the Berry's, we need to remember the clown show that they have been running since they bought SB in 2003. Yes, they get credit for spending the money, but they also get credit for the horrible decision making, starting with spending $13 million on the lodge in 2004 before replacing the Rangeley double. Who spends $13 million on a ski lodge at a mountain that, in 2003, had 15,000 visits? A FGQ replacing Rangeley would have cost $3million (at the time), still leaving $10 million to be spent on the Lodge. This would have shored up the weakest part of SB.

During the summer of 2008, they replaced the Kennebago T-bar on the upper mountain with a quad instead of replacing the Rangeley lift to get to the upper mountain.
In 2012 they put SB on the market for a ridiculous $12 million and that only included the 400 acre ski area and lodge, not all the rest of the 8000 acres they own for expansion. How could anybody consider SB worth $12 million when they probably never cracked 100k visits and the Rangeley double main lift needing to be replaced?
In the summer of 2015, after spending $40million since 2003 (the Berry's number), they finally drew a line in the sand and it was over financing the older than dirt and now broken and unfixable Rangely Double. At the same time, the Cupsuptic T-bar (for upper mountain access) also needed to be replaced.

Then, in 2017, after every major ski company in the US passes on SB, they announce a deal with a guy who had zero experience with ski areas, no sign of financing, and property tax issues in Portland, Me. As anybody with an internet connection could see, this guy was a fraud and was soon arrested in Australia for trying to pull another RE scam. This wasted another year or 2.

It took the miracle and funny financing of Arctaris Impact Fund( they solicited donations in order to close the deal!?!?!?!?) for the Berry's to finally sell, after wasting 8 years from their initial attempt to sell SB.

I only hope the Saddleback timeline gets better.

This[emoji1312]


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Newpylong

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Sadly I would have to agree.

I will add one more: the decision to install an airless snowmaking system on a mountain of that size. Whoever decided to do that should be taken out to the woodshed.
 

uphillklimber

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Before you canonize the Berry's, we need to remember the clown show that they have been running since they bought SB in 2003. Yes, they get credit for spending the money, but they also get credit for the horrible decision making, starting with spending $13 million on the lodge in 2004 before replacing the Rangeley double. Who spends $13 million on a ski lodge at a mountain that, in 2003, had 15,000 visits? A FGQ replacing Rangeley would have cost $3million (at the time), still leaving $10 million to be spent on the Lodge. This would have shored up the weakest part of SB.

During the summer of 2008, they replaced the Kennebago T-bar on the upper mountain with a quad instead of replacing the Rangeley lift to get to the upper mountain.
In 2012 they put SB on the market for a ridiculous $12 million and that only included the 400 acre ski area and lodge, not all the rest of the 8000 acres they own for expansion. How could anybody consider SB worth $12 million when they probably never cracked 100k visits and the Rangeley double main lift needing to be replaced?
In the summer of 2015, after spending $40million since 2003 (the Berry's number), they finally drew a line in the sand and it was over financing the older than dirt and now broken and unfixable Rangely Double. At the same time, the Cupsuptic T-bar (for upper mountain access) also needed to be replaced.

Then, in 2017, after every major ski company in the US passes on SB, they announce a deal with a guy who had zero experience with ski areas, no sign of financing, and property tax issues in Portland, Me. As anybody with an internet connection could see, this guy was a fraud and was soon arrested in Australia for trying to pull another RE scam. This wasted another year or 2.

It took the miracle and funny financing of Arctaris Impact Fund( they solicited donations in order to close the deal!?!?!?!?) for the Berry's to finally sell, after wasting 8 years from their initial attempt to sell SB.

I only hope the Saddleback timeline gets better.


To be certain, they made mistakes. Please show me any ski area that has made zero mistakes. Their intentions were always in the right place, if not their choices. At any given time, anyone, even you, could have stepped up, bought the place and showed everyone the proper way to run a ski resort.

As far as the deal with the Australian guy who got arrested, initially, everyone was hailing him as the hero, and no one with an internet connection was saying this guy is a fraud. it wasn't until a few months down the road that everything started coming out. Remember, he owned or had interest in a condo on mountain and wanted this resort working???

I do agree with you about the odd choice to build up the lodge and not replace that fixed grip main lift. Back when I was working Sunday River, in 2015 or so, they had a town hall meeting, explaining the choice of a carpet loader for Spruce Lift, as opposed to a HSD lift. The carpet loader at the time was a couple hundred thousand, while a HSQ was about 5 million, IIRC. (I'll admit I am a little fuzzy on this number, but it was more than a couple million). Pretty easy decision to go with a carpet loader, which, IMO is less than the success they were hoping for. But I digress, just trying to show perspective on pricing of lifts.

The Berry's have always held the line, along with even some of the folks here, that a HSQ would be a mistake, and an expensive one, for a resort like Saddleback. It's been my opinion that an HSQ is vital to resorts. It attracts newbie skiers who don't like getting on fixed grip lifts that need to be bumped by a liftie. That still is my opinion, and I was pleasantly surprised to read that is what Arctaris is doing. How many of us would have the stones to invest 40 million into a ski resort that never topped 100K visits in a season? And that HSQ is what? 8 Million of that total? I believe, that if they are going to succeed, they need that HSQ. Not sure the investment will be justified, but I certainly hope so.

Just for kicks, here is the website to Artaris, showing their portfolio.
https://arctaris.com/portfolio-companies/
I don't see any other ski resorts listed there. How do these folks have any more experience than the fraudster from Australia with ski resorts? that being said, I do like what they are doing. They hired back a bunch of folks in the industry and who had previously worked at Saddleback. They are actually tossing improvements into the resort. As you suggest, why so much money into the lodge. The Berry's felt this important, as now does Artaris. I felt the lodge just needed some roof repairs, and they stripped it completely, ice and water dammed the whole thing and re-roofed it. Class 1 job, for sure, but did they really need to spend that much? And expanding the lodge, which was recently improved? Did they need to do that? They are doing some of the same things that the Berry's are being criticized for.

I suppose I should have bought the place and showed everyone how to properly run a ski resort, eh? Not happening, from me, you or anyone else on this forum. My hat is off to whoever takes up the mantle of running a ski resort. You know the old joke about ski resorts? How do you end up a millionaire running a ski resort? Start out as a billionaire.

I'm not ready to canonize the Berry's, despite your suggestion, how about you back off on totally demonizing them a little bit?
 

MEtoVTSkier

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I guess I didn't realize/hear that the Sandy Double was also in such poor shape that it needed to be removed. Well, less infrastructure to maintain then. Too bad some of it's parts couldn't be sent to Eaton Mountain or another needy feeder hill to repair/improve their lift systems.
 
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