The Berry Family, owners of Saddleback Mountain, have reached an agreement with Arctaris Impact Fund of Boston for the purchase and sale of Saddleback Maine.
The Berry family has owned Saddleback since 2003 and invested more than $40 million in improvements to expand and upgrade the ski resort. In 2014-2015 when the Berrys determined that major capital expenditures were necessary for the continued operation of the mountain, they decided to look for a buyer who had the resources and vision to continue the revitalization that the family started.
Arctaris first expressed an interest in the property in 2018. This week, they have finalized an agreement with the Berry Family to purchase and reopen the mountain. “This beautiful mountain has so much potential and it looks like the Buyer has a strong plan moving forward. We are excited for the acquisition to be complete for the Saddleback Resort community and the entire Rangeley area” said Dawn Klein of Lakehome Group, real estate broker for the Berry Family.
With an elevation of 4,120 feet, Saddleback is one of the largest mountains in Maine. It offers 2,000 vertical feet of skiing and some of the toughest expert terrain in the East. In the twelve years the Berrys operated the mountain, annual skier visits increased from 15,000 to more than 110,000.
The resort went on the market in 2015, when current owners the Berry family determined that major capital expenditures were needed to continue operating the mountain. Several potential suitors have explored making a purchase, but none have pulled the trigger before now.
Arctaris first expressed interest in the ski area back in 2018 after one prospective buyer, an Australian developer, dropped out amid a fraud scandal unrelated to the resort. In June 2019, Arctaris and the Berrys signed a non-binding letter of intent to negotiate a sale, but negotiations fell through in September.
It seems the sale is now back on. The acquisition price was not disclosed, but Andy Shepard, former CEO of the Outdoor Sports Institute and Saddleback’s new general manager, told news outlets that Arctaris plans to invest in significant capital improvements at the resort.
According to Shepard, Arctaris plans to replace the old Rangeley Double chairlift with a high-speed quad, install a new T-bar, modernize the base lodge, expand facilities, and upgrade the snowmaking infrastructure. The work will be done with an eye toward reopening Saddleback in about a year, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2020. At its peak, Saddleback was the largest employer in the county, and saw roughly 110,000 skier visits a winter.
Arctaris, which targets its investments in areas where economic development and job creation are lacking, is looking to continue the Berry family’s revitalization of the ski area. “We want to become one of New England’s iconic ski resorts, and we’re excited to be in the company of resorts like Sugarloaf and Sunday River,” Shepard told the Portland Press Herald.
Report by Katie Brinton