RANGELEY — Saddleback ski resort has been unable to secure financing to install a new high-speed chairlift it needs to open next season, but it may have found a buyer for the resort.

In a post Wednesday on its Facebook page, the ski resort said that over the past 44 days it had “exhausted all reasonable financing options” to replace the Rangeley Double Chair with a high speed quad chair.

“Although we have not been able to secure financing for the quad, there has been significant interest in a purchase of the resort,” Saddleback said in the posting.

In July, the ski resort said it needed to raise $3 million within two weeks to replace the 51-year-old double chairlift or it would not be able to open for the 2015-16 season. A new quad could double the number of skiers who could be transported up the mountain.

According to the resort, “transactions of this nature take a long time,” and the process requires a high level of confidentiality. “The degree of confidentiality can be frustrating to all of us because we would love to tell you what is going on, but legal restrictions prevent us from sharing,” the resort said in the posting.

However, the resort said there are four possible scenarios for the future of the resort:

• It has a buyer who is negotiating to purchase the resort and install a quad lift this season.

• It has a buyer negotiating to buy the resort, keep it closed this season and install the quad next year.

• There are two potential buyers who will operate the resort as it is this winter and start improvements next year.

• The resort said it also is looking at a leasing option.

The Berry family bought Saddleback in 2003 and invested $40 million into the resort, increasing the workforce from less than 70 to more than 300. They put the 400-acre ski mountain on the market in 2012 for $12 million.

Residents and business owners in Rangeley and the surrounding area are anxious to learn Saddleback’s fate. The mountain is a major contributor to the winter economy in the area and is one of the largest employers in Franklin County.

In its Facebook post, the resort acknowledged it was a “tough time for all of us.”

“The Berry Family is evaluating all options with the goal of a sustainable future for Saddleback,” the resort said.

“We understand the frustration about the unpredictability of the future and not being able to make winter plans. We assure you that we are doing everything in our power to resolve these questions as soon as possible.”

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

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