RANGELEY – Warren Cook said he is excited to start his new job as general manager at Saddleback ski area.
Cook, 63, of Strong, the former president of Sugarloaf Mountain Corp., will take over as general manager of Saddleback, which is owned by Bill and Irene Berry of Farmington and their family. Cook replaces Tom McAllister, who was the general manager of Saddleback for 31 years, working the last five years with the Berry family after they bought the ski mountain.
“I’m excited to be working with the Berry family and the Saddleback and Rangeley Lakes communities,” Cook said this morning. “It’s a unique community living and working there.” Cook starts his job on Monday. McAllister has agreed to stay on and help with the transition, Irene Berry said.
“We are absolutely committed to continue as a family mountain,” Berry said. As part of that mission, ticket prices are kept affordable and an emphasis is placed on conserving the mountain, she added.
Cook said he wants to start his new job by focusing on customer service and training the staff with an emphasis on safety. He also said he wants to build Maine’s third largest ski resort into a “first class real estate development program.”
“I will be reaching out to the staff and the community,” Cook added.
Since becoming owners of Saddleback in 2003, Bill and Irene Berry and their family have expanded and renovated the base lodge, developed the mountain’s ski and rider terrain by 44 percent, replaced the grooming fleet, increased snowmaking to over 85 percent, upgraded and lengthened the Rangeley Chair, and added a half mile-long quad chairlift and beginner/kids area.
The expansion continued over the summer. Saddleback is completing work on three new trails, adding more snowmaking lines and guns and another quad chairlift to the upper mountain where a T-bar once took skiers up.
Last spring, a Sugarloaf employee who ran the ski school, Mark Robie of Kingfield, was hired by Saddleback to take over its ski and ride school and recreational program operations.