RANGELEY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — He promised to turn it into a "premiere ski resort in North America." Sebastian Monsour, the CEO of the Australian Majella Group, saiad he was purchasing Saddleback Mountain in honor of his late mother. "[She] really loved this state," he told a crowd through tears in June.
The Majella Group was set to purchase the mountain from Bill and Irene Berry of Farmington. The elderly couple had struggled with the mountain's upkeep, eventually shutting down operations. A local group had tried to come up with donations to purchase the mountain and operate it as a nonprofit, but was unsuccessful.
Saddleback Mountain sat idle for two full ski seasons.
In June, when the sale was announced, Monsour told the crowd he would finalize the sale by the end of summer, and immediately begin work replacing the mountain's older ski lifts.It's November, now, and while some Maine mountains are already making snow, Saddleback still has not been sold."We have encountered delays that have impacted our timelines. This has been on our end and not the Berry’s," said Monsour in a Facebook statement Thursday morning. "We are incredibly thankful to the Berry family and their advisors for their ongoing patience, kindness and support," he added. He also said he is "whole heartedly committed to this deal."Fred LaMontage, a former Portland firefighter, is set to run the mountain locally as its CEO.
In October, in another Facebook post, Monsour urged the public that work was being done to open the mountain. "Please do not take our silence as a lack of progress, rather a focus on the task at hand," he wrote. "Over the last few weeks our dedicated crew have brought snowmaking equipment online and are continuing with the process of inspecting, testing, adjusting and certifying the lifts."Still, the Majella group is promising to open in some capacity for the 2017-2018 ski season. Monsour wrote the the company is "doing everything we can to open in some capacity for the upcoming ski season." The comments on the Thursday morning Facebook post were overwhelmingly positive, with people from Maine and as far as New Brunswick writing how they were excited to get skiing.One man wrote, "So looking forward to the announcement stating that the deal is done and you own the mountain."The sale between the Berry family and the Majella group is private, and Majella has promised to alert the public when the sale is final.