Page 10 - WCM 2021 Winter
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  Over 60 trails and glades are carved into Saddleback’s high alpine terrain, providing everything from long cruisers and fast groomers, to epic steeps and and a variety of glades for all abilities.
Arctaris Impact Fund, which has vowed to invest 38 million dollars into the resort in this decade, 18 of that in just the first year. Most critically, this invest- ment includes a new detachable high-speed quad chairlift, which triples the capacity of the previous lift, and reduces the ride time from 11 to 4 minutes! They’ve also vowed to soon replace the ancient, now inoperable t-bar, with a new state-of-the art version that will keep things rolling in high winds that noto- riously idle chairlifts these days. More snowmaking also tops the to-do list, as is new grooming equip- ment. There is also talk of cutting a few new lines to add even more variety to the existing system of over 60 trails and glades, a well-balanced mix of about a third each of novice, intermediate and expert terrain.
A massive renovation and reconfiguration of the inte- rior of the base lodge has tripled dining capacity, and created prime seating areas overlooking the mountain, improving the previous design by leaps and bounds. Who doesn’t want to look up at the mountain they just conquered, and revel in the glory after an epic day on the slopes? A major kitchen expansion will help serve all those happy, hungry skiers, and create more culinary options for the new management. The old
bar is also gone, replaced by a larger and more up-to- date version. An added smaller remote bar and pizza oven will help keep the apres ski crowd well-watered and fed in a timely fashion.
Other major improvements to the classic timber frame lodge include a ventilation system designed for rapid turnover of air, and all new touch-free bath- rooms to help keep visitors safe. Other safety mea- sures in place will be remote ticket sales and automatic ticket dispensers activated by a QR code, as well as reservation-only seating in the lodge at peak hours to maintain physical distancing. Andy Shepard, Saddle- back’s new General Manager and one of Maine’s most visionary ski area developers, told me that they are working closely with the Maine CDC and other top epidemiologists to develop best practices. They are also learning from ski areas in South America that just went through an entire season with protocols in place. At the time of this writing, it’s full steam ahead with the reopening schedule based on current condi- tions in Maine, which has one of the better records in the country of handling the virus while managing the flow of tourists. Call ahead. If schedules change, there are provisions in place for season pass-holders to be
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