The Saddleback Mountain Resort lodge, shown at night. Credit: Courtesy of Saddleback

After five years, and several attempts, Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley is opening again for skiing on Dec. 15.

Saddleback’s old chair lift, which took 11 minutes to get people up the mountain, has been replaced with a new $7.2 million quad lift that has shortened the ride to just four minutes, Andy Shepherd, Saddleback’s general manager and CEO, said.

“And it’ll take 2,400 people up the mountain,” Shepherd said. “So we feel like we’ve taken one of the biggest negatives of the Saddleback experience — which was it took forever to get up the mountain — we’ve taken that off the table with this new high speed detachable quad.”

Shepherd said renovations have also been made to the lodge, which will enhance views, greatly increase seating capacity. Snowmaking has also been expanded, he said.

Saddleback closed five years ago under financial duress, and was purchased last January by Arctaris Impact Fund of Boston, which Shepherd said invests in economically distressed communities, and in particular those that have lost their primary employer.

The previous owners, the Berry family — who has owned the mountain since 2003 — had been in negotiations since 2018.

When it was in operation, Saddleback was Maine’s third largest ski resort, Rangeley’s largest employer and a popular tourist destination.

The new investors said at the time that they planned to purchase new equipment, including chairlifts, housing and a base lodge.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.