Black Mountain will now be owned by the non-profit volunteer board, which has run the mountain for the past 10 years. With the new ownership structure, strong community support and sustaining the current fundraising campaign will be even more important.
The Maine Winter Sports Center, with the support of the Libra Foundation, has announced its intention to make an historic gift of Black Mountain ski area in Rumford, Maine and all its assets to the community based non-profit corporation, which has operated the mountain since 2003. The completion of the gift remains subject to the parties reaching agreement on terms of the transfer document. The gift, when completed, combined with demonstrated strong fundraising potential, and the support of partners like Bangor Savings Bank, Franklin Savings Bank and Sunday River Resort, will allow the mountain to open this season.
“In just three weeks since plans to close the mountain were announced, Black Mountain of Maine has raised over $125,000, toward a goal of $200,000,” said Andy Shepard, President and CEO of the Maine Winter Sports Center. “Given the rapid progress toward the goal, we felt it important to make known our intentions to donate the mountain and let the community begin the important work of planning for the future.”
Black Mountain changed its business model radically last year, looking to make skiing more accessible and to reach profitability. It reduced day tickets to $15 and season passes to $150, added a new snowmaking system, website and retail shop and expanded the Last Run Lounge. It also added a new 1.5-mile intermediate trail, Allagash, which quickly became a major new attraction. The result was a dramatic increase in new skiers and revenue, which has put the mountain on a positive trajectory.
“When the Libra Foundation got involved in 2003, Black Mountain was 470 feet of vertical, had a T-bar, an aging lodge and was struggling to make a difference in the region,” said Craig Denekas, President and CEO of the Libra Foundation. “We believed we could make a difference for these communities and invested significant resources into the project because we believed in Rumford. The mountain is now Maine’s 4th tallest ski area, has a beautiful post-and-beam day lodge, four paved parking lots and, I believe, honors the proud skiing heritage in western Maine by making community skiing accessible to all. We are very pleased to complete our phase of involvement by making this gift to the western Maine communities supporting Black Mountain.”
Bangor Savings Bank, Franklin Savings Bank and Sunday River Resort have been instrumental in leading the fundraising effort. Sunday River, which has also been an invaluable partner to Black Mountain over the years, will continue to provide expertise to the new ownership.
To help the new Black Mountain reach its fundraising goal, visit: www.gofundme.com/3eyo8c. Donations will be matched on this site by Bangor Savings Bank until this online campaign reaches $50,000. You can also go to any Bangor Savings Bank branch with your donations.