Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby farmboy » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 am

cat in january wrote:Must have closed if they have a crew taking the lift down.

Any bush hogging started?



They have an operating agreement that allows lift removal
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby cat in january » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:12 pm

Thanks, I just reread the FB post and came here to say my previous assumption was not correct about them starting work meaning clear title-me filling in the circle in my mind.

Things never seem to follow the simple path at Saddleback.

Your words reinforce that. Colors must be coming on nice up there.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby LongRanger » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:50 pm

From a reply to a comment on f/b

"In June this year, Majella Group announced it has signed an asset purchase agreement to secure ownership of Saddleback Mountain Resort. The Rangeley Double Chair will be replaced with a new TRISTAR Fixed Grip Quad Chair Lift that can support 1,500 skiers per hour - we hope to have this operational this season. The T-Bar will be repaired and that will allow for access to the other lifts in the interim. "

Still only say 'hope' but that was posted only a couple of days ago.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby Andrew B. » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:16 pm

LongRanger wrote:From a reply to a comment on f/b

"In June this year, Majella Group announced it has signed an asset purchase agreement to secure ownership of Saddleback Mountain Resort. The Rangeley Double Chair will be replaced with a new TRISTAR Fixed Grip Quad Chair Lift that can support 1,500 skiers per hour - we hope to have this operational this season. The T-Bar will be repaired and that will allow for access to the other lifts in the interim. "

Still only say 'hope' but that was posted only a couple of days ago.

I still 'hope' Santa brings me a fist full of hundo's :D
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby salsgang » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:51 pm

I am beyond trying to guess what happens next. I am just going to take it as it comes an enjoy skiing Saddleback again whenever that is!
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby ME2VTSkier » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:28 am

October 1st this weekend... still no major news or activity noted?
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby cat in january » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:41 pm

The Berry's must have had quite the mess for the closing to have taken this long.

Anyone had eyes on the mountain to see if any substantive work has been done?
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby Nonsuch » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:02 am

cat in january wrote:The Berry's must have had quite the mess for the closing to have taken this long.

Anyone had eyes on the mountain to see if any substantive work has been done?


Good news is that the trails have been mowed...the first time in several years...a good sign!
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby ME2VTSkier » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:47 am

Any repair work completed on the T-Bar?
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby ME2VTSkier » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:52 am

Never mind, I see a FB post of someone who was there on the third, one car by the office, chairs still on the double, and the T-bar hadn't been touched.

Nothing going to happen at Saddleback this winter other than some skinning.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby Glade Monkey » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:02 pm

ME2VTSkier wrote:Never mind, I see a FB post of someone who was there on the third, one car by the office, chairs still on the double, and the T-bar hadn't been touched.

Nothing going to happen at Saddleback this winter other than some skinning.


First sign of life - they mowed the trails.
Their stated plan is take down the chair, fix the T-bar and then put up the new lift (in that order)

Sadly, I predict they'll say that they wanted to put in the new lift but early season was too cold and snowy. Perhaps also that they couldn't take down the lift, so they couldn't get around to fixing the T-bar :roll:
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby cat in january » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:59 pm

Imagine the negotiations have gotten a bit testy. The problems with closing the deal looks like they will kill this season. T-bar may be able to open, but lots of money will be lost operating a hill in Rangeley with a T-bar as your primary lift. Majella must be looking to the Berry's for some concessions as a result. What choice do the Berry's have? The Foundation is not coming back to life and no other interest has materialized over the years.

Should be good to skin at least this coming winter.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby Glade Monkey » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:43 pm

cat in january wrote:Imagine the negotiations have gotten a bit testy. The problems with closing the deal looks like they will kill this season. T-bar may be able to open, but lots of money will be lost operating a hill in Rangeley with a T-bar as your primary lift. Majella must be looking to the Berry's for some concessions as a result. What choice do the Berry's have? The Foundation is not coming back to life and no other interest has materialized over the years.

Should be good to skin at least this coming winter.


Don't forget that from the base lodge you will also need to take a double chair just to get up to the T-bar :roll:
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby farmboy » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:03 pm

cat in january wrote:The Berry's must have had quite the mess for the closing to have taken this long.



:shock: Far from the truth with that statement. We have been ready on our end to close for months. Someone just needs to write the check
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby tipsdown » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:29 pm

farmboy wrote:
cat in january wrote:The Berry's must have had quite the mess for the closing to have taken this long.



:shock: Far from the truth with that statement. We have been ready on our end to close for months. Someone just needs to write the check


Oh no...not this again.

The good news is if that's all that's left it does sound straight forward. No messy back and forth complications...

On a side note, they picked off the best chef in the area from Bald Mountain Camps to head up their food and beverage....That's a good indicator they'll be emphasizing quality food which can be hard to come by in the ski biz. Good move for them.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby farmboy » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:15 pm

tipsdown wrote:
farmboy wrote:
cat in january wrote:The Berry's must have had quite the mess for the closing to have taken this long.



:shock: Far from the truth with that statement. We have been ready on our end to close for months. Someone just needs to write the check


Oh no...not this again.

The good news is if that's all that's left it does sound straight forward. No messy back and forth complications...

On a side note, they picked off the best chef in the area from Bald Mountain Camps to head up their food and beverage....That's a good indicator they'll be emphasizing quality food which can be hard to come by in the ski biz. Good move for them.


I agree Brian is a great Chef
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby cat in january » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:44 pm

Appreciate the clarification. That was the second hand word I heard from a person who knew someone close to the situation. Made sense on why the whole process was taking so long, if there were many leans to untangle. Apologize for the inaccurate assumption.

Given this new information much less faith in Majella. Their reputation was not the best prior to the sale.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby farmboy » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:01 pm

cat in january wrote:Appreciate the clarification. That was the second hand word I heard from a person who knew someone close to the situation. Made sense on why the whole process was taking so long, if there were many leans to untangle. Apologize for the inaccurate assumption.

Given this new information much less faith in Majella. Their reputation was not the best prior to the sale.


They are operating within the timeframes negotiated. I would just be patient
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby muleski » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:47 pm

Confusing, at least to me.

We'll see.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby Skimaine » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:17 pm

The latest from Spacebook:

Good-evening Saddlebackers, Majella Group’s acquisition of Saddleback is progressing. Whilst details around the acquisition are a matter of a confidentiality agreement, I can confirm we are within the original parameters of the agreement.

Please do not take our silence as a lack of progress, rather a focus on the task at hand. Over the last few weeks our dedicated crew have brought snowmaking equipment online and are continuing with the process of inspecting, testing, adjusting and certifying the lifts. Our mountain operations team have been cutting, mowing and grooming trails that have grown in over the last two years.

Reopening is a top priority and we are doing everything we can to open in some capacity for the upcoming ski season. The extent of which will be determined by the work we are able to achieve in the coming weeks. As we stated in June, we have many hurdles, but we continue to push through them. This was never going to be an easy or quick process but our tireless team are hard at work.

Best regards,

Majella Group CEO, Sebastian Monsour

Image credit: Kyle Haley Photography
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby muleski » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:18 pm

This is "interesting reading."
I remain skeptical, to say the least.

http://newenglandskiindustry.com/viewst ... toryid=610
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby redrider » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:44 am

muleski wrote:This is "interesting reading."
I remain skeptical, to say the least.

http://newenglandskiindustry.com/viewst ... toryid=610


Squaw part II?

Hope not, may they be incredibly successful at SB.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby cat in january » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:40 am

I find it odd according to the article above that they formed a company in Maine a half world away prior to forming one in Australia.

Definitely wishing them the best as not sure what options there will be if it falls apart.

Start does seem to belie some of their inexperience.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby k2trav » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:21 am

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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby Glade Monkey » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:07 pm

From their FB page - radio silence is broken (meanwhile on the SMF FB page Farmboy is getting frustrated with the rumor-mongering)

SADDLEBACK MAINE
October 21 at 7:09pm

Good-evening Saddlebackers, Majella Group’s acquisition of Saddleback is progressing. Whilst details around the acquisition are a matter of a confidentiality agreement, I can confirm we are within the original parameters of the agreement.

Please do not take our silence as a lack of progress, rather a focus on the task at hand. Over the last few weeks our dedicated crew have brought snowmaking equipment online and are continuing with the process of inspecting, testing, adjusting and certifying the lifts. Our mountain operations team have been cutting, mowing and grooming trails that have grown in over the last two years.

Reopening is a top priority and we are doing everything we can to open in some capacity for the upcoming ski season. The extent of which will be determined by the work we are able to achieve in the coming weeks. As we stated in June, we have many hurdles, but we continue to push through them. This was never going to be an easy or quick process but our tireless team are hard at work.

Best regards,
Majella Group CEO, Sebastian Monsour
Image credit: Kyle Haley Photography

Image
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby RockLobster » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:06 pm

I get that all the rumors and doubters would be frustrating and wear on you over time, but to an extent the rumor mill is self inflicted. Yes, with a small town like Rangeley and community like saddleback, there will be a lot of chatter, but if you get out ahead of it and set the narrative, you should be able to control the speculation to some extent.

To me, this is like receiving an email from someone, not replying, working on whatever they asked you about, then getting annoyed when they check in saying "Hey what the heck is going on? Have you worked on X, Y and Z?" It's definitely annoying to get that email the day after their first email, but if you let it sit for 2 weeks, avoiding that follow up email was totally within your control. I'm over simplifying, but there has definitely been a degree of this involved with Saddleback.

If you don't get out there, set the narrative, and provide clear updates, people are going to fill in the gaps... no use getting worked up about it. Either ignore and know you are doing the right thing or provide weekly updates.

Would it be so hard to say:

"Saddleback weekly update: We continue to work tirelessly to open in some capacity this season. Although we have no tangible updates to report on, we wanted to keep the SB community in the loop as much as legal restrictions allow. Lifts: Maintenance and inspection for quad lifts. We have a couple hurdles to get past before beginning to disassemble the Rangeley our current timeline to begin that work is beginning of November. We will provide updates on that timeline as soon as it becomes apparent that we will need to adjust it. Re-construction of the T-bar will commence after disassembly of the Rangeley. We will provide a timeline for this once work on the Rangeley commences. Snow making: Snow making is being prepped to fire up as soon as we have the green light and weather permits. We continue to make other necessary cosmetic updates to ensure that our main focus is on lift viability when that work commences. We will provide weekly updates to keep the SB and Rangeley community in the loop. Please bear with us as we work out the final components of the deal and work toward an operational saddleback. We want to avoid promising too much or too little while also working within the confines of our confidentiality agreements. We apologize for the frustration this may cause and will let you know as much as you can as soon as we can."

Something along those lines every week. Then have one person spend then next couple days replying to comments. Repeat next week.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby redrider » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:57 pm

Squeezing every dime out of an opening, even a limited one, is a sales job. Sales is communication with current and potential customers.

Buzz is everything.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby RockLobster » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:58 am

That's what is even more confusing about the lack of transparency. The first year the mountain did not open, it made sense to imply they would still open while being vague about details because they wanted to retain as many customers as possible in the event that they did open.

This seems futile at this point. I assume that regardless of opening or not, they will lose money this year... perhaps more if they open. The majority of casual season pass buyers have already made their decision for the winter. Weekend condo trippers are not sitting around waiting to hear if saddleback will open--if the mountain is slated to open when they plan their trip, they will consider it. If it's not, they won't. Day trippers will come regardless of whether or not they believe the mountain will open at this point. Whenever I day trip a mountain, I usually pick the mountain the week of. So from the perspective of trying to retain as much business as possible, I'd say being vague and continuing to imply an opening would provide a negligible profit at this point.

For what it's worth, I think it would be far more beneficial to just come out and say "We are doing what we can to open in some capacity this year, but it is very possible that we will run out of time. If we do open, it will be a very limited operation. We guarantee that next year we will be running 100%." Then say regardless of this year's outcome, we want to make our first full year of operation Saddleback's best year yet, and we want the Passionate Saddleback community, that helped convince us to buy, to help! To generate excitement for the re-open we want to host forums and workshops to hear from the community, get ideas on what you'd like to see at saddleback and what has kept you coming back for years. We'll host a few events at the lodge with giveaways for the following season.

If you're after sales, bolster your product, create excitement and buzz, give people something to look forward to. Don't make your faithful customers feel like a nagging spouse. If you can't tell us anything, fine, but there are plenty of opportunities to set a positive narrative rather than one shrouded in secrecy and doubt.

My theory is that Majella has little interest in operating the resort and simply wants to get it up and running, build a ton of condos, sell the condos and then sell the resort for more than they paid. It seems like they are squeezing as much out of the deal as possible to get the price as low as possible. They have a desperate buyer with no options and you don't build a real estate empire by not taking advantage of those opportunities.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby Tree » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:04 pm

Got to wonder if the underlying issue has more to do with financing. Majella must be trying to secure EB-5 assistance. Wonder if they are having difficulty in securing EB-5 funds. Also, new rules for EB-5 financing through "roll over" assets becomes more difficult in December.
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Re: Saddleback SOLD to Majella

Postby cat in january » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:31 pm

Saddleback stumbled with PR when it went to the press and subsequently eroding some good will. Appreciate all the honesty and forthcoming Farmer has shared.

Majella has also had a PR stumble. First they said an August closing. Then they talked a game about putting in the new chair this year. Lastly they promised to open this year with little evidence it would happen as the apples have ripened on the trees and now what are not picked lie mostly on the ground. All the while the communication has become less frequent and perhaps more opaque.

Pretty sure every skier and rider is pulling for Saddleback to see success. Every time they say boo on facebook there is an applause of likes and comments.

The very light skepticism pales next to real challenges of making Saddleback profitable.

I would think if part of their financing plan is government support than that is dubious seeing how the Berry's a Maine family did not get the money for the lift and at the time that was all they seemed to need.
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