Saddleback Maine is a retreat offering plenty to do in all seasons. From spring through fall, the surrounding lakes are the focus of outdoor recreation, but once the weather turns icy in mid-November, Saddleback Ski Resort swings into gear and fulfills a season lasting until April. The Rangeley Maine skiing area rises more than 4,000 towering feet and teems with snow-filled glades and multiple-level trails. The mountain sits directly on its namesake lake flanked by Rangeley Lake State Park and Hunter Cove Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s due north of Portland and a short drive from the airport in Bangor. The family owned and operated mountain retreat focuses on maintaining an affordable and safe ski and recreation area.
At Saddleback Maine, the lodge is where it all begins. Situated at more than 2,400 feet, it is the core feature of the ski area. Visitors will find season passes and lift tickets inside as well as a rental shop that also handles repairs to ski equipment and snowboard gear, a mountain retail store, and the ski school, which is owned and operated by Saddleback Ski Resort. Current weather conditions, wireless Internet, change rooms and restrooms, and the resort’s concierge service are also found inside the lodge. Other services, amenities and features include onsite dining, child care services, a pub, and ATM, and a large, cozy fireplace.
Rangeley Maine skiing at Saddleback also means great conditions, even when Mother Nature doesn’t deliver, the resort has 85 percent snowmaking ability throughout the 220 acres provided for skiing and snowboarding. Ambitious skiers and boarders love Saddleback Maine for its 2,000-foot vertical drop, one that offers the thrill that big mountain skiing delivers. Altogether, there are 66 glades and trails to choose from. The Saddleback Ski Resort is a great place for beginners to take ski vacations, with 25 beginner slopes to learn on or brush up skills. Intermediate riders can tackle 19 medium-level trails. Experienced skiers choose between 22 advanced level runs—a mix between both black diamond and double black diamond. Two double chairs, two quad chairs, and one T-Bar lift are provided.
The Rangeley Maine skiing area is also popular for Casablanca, its main star and the largest glade measuring 44-acres and taking top spot for largest glade in the eastern region. The terrain park, called Freerider, is accessed by the Sandy River lift, and has a host of multiple-level terrain for all levels. It also has abundant ramps, rails, hits, jumps, and other features for freestyle riding. Receiving more than 220 inches of natural snow per year makes Saddleback Maine a great bet for the best ski vacations.
Staying trailside when visiting Saddleback Ski Resort is achievable via the mountainside condos, all ski-in ski-out facilities. Condos are available with one to four bedrooms and situated with plenty of mature trees around as well as spacious terraces and fireplaces, all available through several annual ski vacation packages. Nearby, there are a wide choice in Maine hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts ideal for anyone planning a Rangeley Maine skiing trip. Loon Lodge is a historic, all-season lodge with nearby accommodations directly on Rangeley Lake and filled with a ton of charm as well as wireless internet, dining, and great scenery.
Saddleback Maine ski area benefits avoiding expanding during the building boom that happened at many US ski resorts in the later 1990s. There have however, been plenty of upgrades, necessary expansions, and improvements. Saddleback has retained its rugged, wilderness feel, offering a genuine outdoor experience with a homespun vibe ideal for families. Other Maine ski resorts worth looking into include Camden Ski Bowl and Shawnee Peak.
Image: Saddleback Ski Resort