RANGELEY – Warren Cook, chief executive officer and general manager of Saddleback Maine announced today that Conrad Klefos has been hired as director of marketing.
A ski industry veteran and consummate marketing expert, Klefos will guide all of Saddleback’s marketing for the ski resort, including all of the sales, advertising, public relations, promotions, Internet marketing and real estate marketing at the resort. He and Cook will work together to lead the employee team in delivering the kind of quality guest service that will set the mountain apart from other New England resorts.
He will work with JoAnne Taylor in marketing and Chris Farmer in real estate, who have been guiding Saddleback’s growth since the resort was purchased by the Berry Family of Farmington in 2005. This past year, Saddleback’s paid visits were up 22 percent over the previous year, and real estate sales at the resort were over $4 million. Recently Saddleback announced plans to purchase and operate the Oquossoc Cove Marina on Rangeley Lake, as well as the design and pre-sale of an 80-room condominium hotel adjacent to the base lodge, in addition to an expansion of the base lodge to comfortably accommodate an increased number of skiers and snowboarders.
“I wanted a visionary leader with real ski industry experience to guide the marketing team here at Saddleback,” Cook said. “With Conrad’s proven track record of success, I feel confident that he is going to take us to the next level of growth while emphasizing the quality customer service that I’ve been working on developing since I came here last year. He is widely respected in the ski industry for his integrity, his work ethic, and his marketing expertise.”
Klefos has been working in the ski industry since graduating from college in 1975. Upon completion of a four-year program at the University of New Hampshire and receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Administration, Klefos began his career with the city of Lebanon, NH operating the town’s ski area. His passion for skiing and success from operating Lebanon’s Storrs Hill turned his career towards the ski industry. He has dedicated 25 years operating and marketing ski resorts. For 20 of those years, he was the director of marketing at Jay Peak Resort located in northern Vermont and created Jay’s brand reputation as having ‘a big snow difference,’ plus spearheaded the start of the glade skiing rage in the east.
During that time he created a solid reputation as one of the finest and most accomplished ski resort marketing directors in all of eastern United States and Canada and grew Jay’s skier visits from 68,000 to 210,000.
Because of Jay Peak’s unique location near the Canadian border, he developed an extensive knowledge of the Eastern Canadian markets as well as the Eastern USA. In 2000, he left Jay Peak to assist with the launching of a new national ski publication, Ski Press USA Magazine. Later the company created a snow sports trade publication called Snowpress Show Daily. Most recently he was associate publisher for Ski Press World, Inc.
“I’ve worked with Conrad for over 25 years and he is one of the most capable people I’ve met in the New England ski world,” said Tony Chamberlain, who has covered skiing for the Boston Globe since 1979. “I’ve spent a lot of time with Conrad, skiing and fishing. His marketing knowledge is impressive, and he is personable and warm. He works well with the press, and I will look forward to working with him in his new capacity. He has the kind of expertise that will move Saddleback forward.”
At Saddleback, Klefos hopes to increase skier visits, bring more destination skiers to the lodges in the Rangeley Lakes region and grow the loyalty of its guests. “I am very excited to join the Saddleback team,” stated Klefos. “This opportunity to bring my past experience to contribute to the growth of Saddleback will be the highlight of my career,” Klefos said.
Saddleback is one of New England’s finest family ski resorts with a mountain elevation of 4,120 feet and a vertical drop of over 2000 vertical feet. Saddleback is focused on providing a great experience to families, while also providing a high elevation alpine experience for skiers and snowboarders with over 64 trails and glades consisting of classic New England terrain. Breathtaking views of the lakes and mountains in the region make the experience memorable and, as many guests describe it, “different” from any other resort. Its beginner terrain is set apart from the other areas of the mountain, offering an ideal place for beginning skiers and snowboarders to improve their skills. The new base lodge is an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind post and beam structure. Ski-in, ski-out trailside condominiums on the mountain complement the classic lodging options available in the town of Rangeley. Shopping, restaurants, and area attractions make Saddleback a true year-round tourist destination.
Saddleback Maine currently employs 40 staff members year round and during the winter season the staff increases to 180. It is expected that with the expansion plan, Saddleback staffing will increase by 15 percent when the hotel is completed. Saddleback anticipates that local businesses will benefit from this significant expansion, which will drive new business to this beautiful region in western Maine. Historically, the Rangeley Lakes region has been a noted vacation area of inland Maine for over 100 years, and the current improvements are aimed at reinforcing this tradition. Cook has always believed that working collaboratively with the local community is the key to creating a welcoming destination for guests.