By Natausha Cogley, Contributing Writer
Winter is right around the corner and this means that Saddleback Mountain will finally be open after being shut down for five years.
Saddleback Mountain is located in the Rangeley Lakes Region and is about an hour away from UMF. They are hoping to open on Dec. 15, just in time for the 2020-2021 ski and snowboard season. After being closed for nearly five years, the mountain was purchased and some big changes were put into place. There is now a brand new high-speed quad ski lift, renovations to the lodge, and investments on new snowmakers.
The mountain has 66 ski trails. The Royal Tiger, one of the easier trails on the mountain, is in the middle of the slow zone that contains over half the easy trails on the mountain. “[The slow zone] is a great place to freshen up your skills or hit the mountain for your very first time,” said Olivia Hall, a Rangeley local and avid skier.
Saddleback is one of the biggest ski destinations in the state, which means there’s lots of trails for even the most experienced skiers and riders to choose from. Hall recommended Golden Smelt as one of the best trails. “Golden Smelt is my favorite trail because it’s easily missed and not a lot of people can find it. So there’s always a lot of powder on it,” said Hall.
As the weather gets cooler at UMF, skiers are itching to try out the new Saddleback. “I haven’t been able to hit the trails on Saddleback since 2015,” said Mary Swiney, a sophomore from Rangeley. “I feel the newly renovated lodge and the new ski lift will significantly improve the mountain and make it more enjoyable.”
Rumors are flying about how the Saddleback will look and feel compared to before Saddleback closed in 2015. “I haven’t seen the new lodge yet, but I heard they’re expanding the upstairs and working on a restaurant,” said Hall. There’s expected to be some big changes that everyone is looking forward to.
From now until Thanksgiving, Saddleback is offering a discounted full season pass to college students with a valid college ID for $324. The normal price for a college student pass is $449.
For more information on their newest additions, renovations, and updates, follow their Instagram @saddlebackmaine, like their Facebook page, or go to their website at https://saddlebackmaine.com.