Page 13 - WCM 2021 Winter
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 Courtesy Saddleback Mountain
Early morning grooming is the key to providing fresh “corduroy” on Saddleback’s extensive beginner and intermediate terrain.The new owners have added another groomer to the fleet to help keep surfaces soft and fresh.
ers and all manner of water sports enthusiasts, hikers, mountain bikers, and of course, leaf peepers during the fall foliage season (that pushes the already epic views over the top), will be the beneficiaries of this great remaking.
Included in Saddleback’s off-season plans are guided hikes, extensive mountain biking trails that will con- nect to the Rangeley Lakes Trails Center, birding and photography workshops, and other activities to take advantage of Saddleback’s scenic beauty and diverse mountain ecology, which Shepard points out, they are doing their best to conserve. “What we are try- ing to do is become a model for what development in an alpine environment looks like.” Shepard told me among the clamor of construction workers at the base lodge this past fall, “We want to develop in harmony with the environment, and do it in a way that’s real, not just a marketing strategy.”
To that end, Shepard set out to partner with Maine Audubon, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, and Trust for Public Lands, to help guide future develop- ment of the resort to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Included in the plans is a mid-mountain
lodge that will use state-of-the-art green building techniques, while being sensitive to the environ-
ment. This means building on pilings to minimize disturbance to the ground and water table, employing bird-friendly triple-glazed windows and other energy saving strategies, as well as a sod roof complete with lowbush blueberries to support pollinators and other wildlife. Also in the works are an on-site 40-acre solar farm to offset the prodigious amounts of energy used in snowmaking and other operations, public trans- portation from Rangeley village for staff and visitors, and electric vehicle charging stations to increase access for zero-emission vehicles. The extensive remodel-
ing of the base lodge also boasts many energy saving measures including new high-efficiency windows, and upgrades to the heating system.
For environmentalists like myself, a trip to the moun- tain for a day of lift-serviced skiing or riding often comes with a twinge of guilt and a dose of reality. Pondering my carbon footprint, or experiencing some winter weather “weirding,” reminds me of the consequences of our collective actions. Knowing
that the people working hard to make the skier/rider 13

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