Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Efforts to save Rumford's Black Mountain Ski Area from closure will receive a big boost Thursday when officials from Bangor Savings Bank plan to announce a matching $25,000 donation program.
The Maine Winter Sports Center has run Black Mountain of Maine since purchasing the area, with funding from the Libra Foundation, in 2003. A decision to slash alpine ticket prices to $15 last winter resulted in the area's best year to date, but the non-profit MWSC still projected a loss of $80,000 this year.
Given the history and importance of the area in the Nordic skiing world – from junior high to college and up through the national championships, which Black Mountain hosted in 2011 and 2012 – two fund-raising efforts have produced about $80,000 in two weeks.
"I'm trying to come up with a plan to keep the mountain open," said Andy Shepard, head of the MWSC. "It's too important to Western Maine as an economic engine and an epicenter of a healthy outdoor lifestyle."