January 26, 2022

FAME Approves Additional Saddleback Financing

At its monthly meeting on January 20, 2022, the board of directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) approved additional financing to Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC (Arctaris), the owner/operator of the Saddleback Ski Resort in Rangeley.

FAME approved 50% pro rata commercial loan insurance on $5.5 million in financing (or $2.75 million) by Arctaris. The financing is expected to assist with additional project costs planned for the resort, including workforce housing; additional ski lifts; a new mid-mountain lodge; and additional snowmaking equipment, among other items.

FAME’s Commercial Loan Insurance Program insures a portion of a loan to a business made by a participating financial institution or investment firm. For a business, it may mean the difference between obtaining a loan or never getting the opportunity to start a business. “This program is a critical economic development tool which can help to improve the economic vitality of one of Maine’s key recreation and business regions,” stated Carlos Mello, FAME Acting CEO.

FAME has been supportive of the Saddleback project from the beginning. In January 2020, FAME approved commercial loan insurance for the project, but this financing was never used and has since expired. FAME also approved a $1 million FAME Direct Loan to Arctaris. Additionally, in March and November of 2020, FAME approved state New Markets Tax Credit financing related to investments to help with financing the costs of capital improvements, construction, equipment procurement, and other related improvements at the ski resort. Including a prior Maine Rural Development Authority   $1 million loan, as well as the above FAME financing, total state commitment to the Saddleback project now totals approximately $6.5 million.

“FAME is pleased to help with continued financing for this important project, which will enable Arctaris to continue their plans for additional improvements at the Saddleback Ski Resort,” stated Dave Daigler, FAME Board chair. “We are impressed by the progress made by Arctaris thus far, as well as by the benefits the resort’s operations have brought to the local economy in Rangeley.”

The resort’s resumed operations have benefitted area business and helped to stimulate the local economy and increase tax revenues. Arctaris successfully reopened the mountain in 2020, attained over 72,000 skier visits in the first year of operations, and provided economic support for the greater Rangeley community. Arctaris has successfully leveraged the local community, and state support of the project to attain secured financing from third-parties, as well.

Saddleback Mountain offers a 2,000-foot vertical drop and is one of seven New England mountains with a top-lift elevation of over 4,000 feet. In terms of number of trails, Saddleback is the third-largest ski mountain in Maine and is first of the three mountains in Maine with over 2,000 feet of vertical drop. There are presently six ski lifts and sixty-eight trails on Saddleback. The mountain also has a highly regarded twenty-acre terrain park.

Saddleback has made a number of improvements at the resort since its reopening, including renovations to the base lodge; the purchase and installation of a high-speed detachable quad lift; expanded snowmaking; a new grooming fleet; and increased four-season destination programs for weddings and summer outdoor recreations. Additional improvements are planned over the next several years.

“We remain grateful for FAME’s ongoing support of Saddleback Mountain as an economic development driver for the region, as the mountain becomes a year-round destination for outdoor recreation,” stated Jonathan Tower, Founder and Managing Partner of Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC. “Saddleback is back, and its future has never been brighter.” 

Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC (Arctaris) is a Boston-based impact investment firm with experience spanning more than 12 years and six funds, with both debt and Opportunity Zone equity investments. The firm manages funds which invest in growth-oriented operating businesses and community infrastructure projects located in underserved communities. Founded in 2009, Arctaris has partnered with the Kresge Foundation, Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, and multiple other foundation, federal and state government agencies to invest in Opportunity Zones, inner cities and targeted rural communities throughout the U.S., with the aim of delivering above market investment returns alongside positive social impact. For more information on Arctaris, visit www.arctaris.com.

Children skiing at Saddleback (photo courtesy of Arctaris)