CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Anthony Rogers looked up and smiled Wednesday as he grabbed his snowboard off the rack near the Sugarloaf SuperQuad chairlift.

“Oh, yeah, I’d be over there,” said Rogers of Kingfield when asked about Saddleback Mountain, which typically opens in mid-December but has yet to open this season.

“(The glade skiing area) is my home. If Saddleback were open, I’d be up there all day today. Saddleback is where I learned to snowboard. It’s less aggressive, a little less gnarly than this mountain. I’m sad Saddleback is closed.”

Saddleback announced Dec. 18 on its website that it expects a sale to a “prospective new owner” and plans to open in late January, adding it would offer full refunds to season pass holders if they choose not to wait.

Saddleback General Manager Chris Farmer affirmed Thursday that late January remains the timetable for the Rangeley ski area to open.

Saddleback regulars had to look elsewhere to get their fix of Alpine fun last week, but it hasn’t necessarily translated to a bump in business for other large ski areas in Maine.

Sugarloaf and Sunday River, Maine’s two biggest ski areas and both run by Boyne Resorts, have offered Saddleback season pass holders discounted rates on season tickets.

A full-price regular adult season pass at Sugarloaf or Sunday River costs $1,245, while the early-season rate, which is being offered to Saddleback season pass holders, is $999. A Saddleback regular adult season pass costs $825.

Sugarloaf spokeswoman Noelle Tuttle said last week only a handful of Saddleback season pass holders have taken advantage of the discounted price. She said Sugarloaf skier visits have been on par with last winter.

And at Sunday River in Newry, only four Saddleback regulars took advantage of specially discounted season passes, according to director of communications Sarah Devlin.

Wednesday at Sugarloaf, Saddleback regulars could be found among the hundreds who stood in at ski lifts. But they were day trippers.

Austin Paine, 16, and his sister, Olivia, 13, said if Saddleback were open, they would have gone there instead because the day rates are less expensive: $69 at Saddleback and $86 at Sugarloaf.

Tiffany Cane, 25, of Boston, has a season pass at Sugarloaf and has been coming to ski there with several friends since they were in college. They still buy season passes. And they always make a trip to Saddleback to get in a “powder day” and ski in the trees when they are in Maine.

“We’re still Sugarloafers but Saddleback is a good alternative,” Cane said.

Sergey Terrio of Oakland hadn’t known that Saddleback has yet to open. The University of Maine senior was at Sugarloaf snowboarding for the first time this winter as he got over a knee injury.

“I used to snowboard there and here. But I snowboarded there a lot. That’s a bummer it’s closed,” Terrio said. “I’ll definitely go if it opens. I like the atmosphere. It’s homey.”

Luke Wenzel, 23, of Belgrade was on college break and snowboarding at Sugarloaf with buddies. Growing up in Belgrade he would snowboard at both Sugarloaf and Saddleback.

But Wenzel didn’t see himself snowboarding in Rangeley this winter. He thought Saddleback’s future at this point did not hold much promise.

“I might have gone over if it were open. But it’s not Sugarloaf. I don’t think it looks like it will open. They need a new lift on the main hill. If they got crowds like this they’d be (in trouble),” said Wenzel, 23.


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