News Roundup: Earth Week

Could Another Maine Mountain Stage a Comeback?

The mostly defunct Big Squaw Mountain would transform into Moosehead Lake Resort under a new plan by a Maine developer and nonprofit partner. The $75 million project would include a new summit quad chairlift, snowmaking system, a day lodge, hotel and summer activities. “Moosehead Lake Ski Resort and the Greenville area represent one of the only true Four Season resort venues in all of New England,” notes Big Lake Development, LLC, which seeks to purchase the resort from current owner James Confalone. Confalone was ordered by a court judge to restore the mountain to operating condition last year. Maine developer Perry Williams is behind the rebirth plan along with Provident Resources Group of Louisiana. Provident specializes in “mission-based business activities” in the housing, education and health care sectors. “Combining a family friendly ski experience with a high quality, big lake experience will be a unique product in the New England resort industry,” notes the company.

Big Squaw Mountain first opened in 1963 and passed through numerous owners over the decades including the Scott Paper Company and State of Maine. In 2004, while under the ownership of Confalone, the mountain’s Stadeli double suffered an accident which injured four skiers. The lift never reopened, rendering the summit inaccessible. Currently a local nonprofit operates the mountain’s lower mountain triple on weekends when natural snow permits. With the rebuild, that lift would remain in addition to the new summit lift and a connector surface lift between the two base areas.

The vision in many ways mimics the story of Saddleback, which a Boston-based impact investing group began rebuilding last spring. At Moosehead, Big Lake Development would finance its project with bonds from the Finance Authority of Maine. If successful, the group could reopen skiing from the 3,196 foot summit of Big Moose Mountain in late 2022.