January 4, 2011

Sugarloaf: A brief history

1951: Amos Winter, a Kingfield general store manager, and other ski enthusiasts hire a trail designer and form the Sugarloaf Ski Club. That winter, the mountain hosts its first skiers.

1953: The first mechanical means of getting skiers up the mountain, a rope tow, is installed.

1955: The for-profit Sugarloaf Mountain Corp. is formed. It expands ski lift capacity and cuts additional trails.

1964: Sugarloaf starts to draw skiers from throughout New England with a 9,000-foot-long gondola to the summit.

1972: The Village Center, a complex of shops and restaurants, is built. Sugarloaf also branches out into real estate, building some of the first condominiums in Maine.

1974: After a winter with little snow, Sugarloaf installs the world’s highest snowmaking system.

1986: After a second year of poor winter business, Sugarloaf Mountain Corp. files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

1987: The company’s reorganization plan is approved by April, and by June the company emerges from bankruptcy. The plan involves $8 million in investment from its new board of directors, new financing arrangements and the sale of several real estate projects.

1994: SKI Ltd., the publicly held company that owns Killington and other New England resorts, purchases a 51 percent interest in Sugarloaf. It immediately announces a $4.5 million expansion, including a 7,000-foot, high-speed detachable quad chairlift.

1996: Les Otten, owner of the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, announces that his LBO Enterprises will merge with SKI in a $107 million deal. The new American Skiing Co. becomes the largest ski resort operator in North America and gives Otten a controlling interest in Sugarloaf.

2007: American Skiing sells Sugarloaf and Sunday River to Boyne USA for $77 million. Boyne, a Michigan-based owner and operator of U.S. ski resorts, in turn sells the assets to Florida-based CNL Income Properties, another large resort owner, but continues to operate Sugarloaf and Sunday River.

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