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Lost Valley a go for upcoming season

w.LostValley.Operational

These new energy-efficient HKD Focus Tower Snow Guns are expected to save about $60,000 a year in energy costs. Along with an outpouring of community support, this will allow Lost Valley to open for its upcoming season.

Just weeks away from the start of its ski season, Lost Valley recently announced that it will in fact open its second chair lift this year, thanks to an outpouring of financial and in-kind support from the community This development means that the popular local ski area will be fully operational for opening day on December 19.

“We’re able to do this because of the generous and overwhelming support of the community,” said Lost Valley co-owner Connie King. “In fact, if it wasn’t for all the support we’ve received, we wouldn’t have been able to open at all this year. It’s heart-warming to know that so many people have come to the aid of our mountain. I think it shows just how many people feel a personal connection to Lost Valley.”

King especially recognized the hard work of a group of volunteers, skiers, and other benefactors who call themselves the Friends of Lost Valley. That group launched an online fundraising campaign on the crowd sourcing website Crowdrise that, within a few weeks, raised $26,000 to support the ski area’s operations.

Lost Valley has experienced financial challenges over the last few years, due in part to poor weather conditions and a lingering recession. Late last summer, King and co-owner Linc Hayes announced that they might not open for the winter season.

However, a number of developments have since worked in the ski area’s favor. An energy assessment conducted by Efficiency Maine revealed that significant savings could be achieved by replacing old snow guns and lighting with more efficient equipment. New snow guns alone could save as much as $60,000 a year.

Also, a number of local businesses came forward in support. Emerson Toyota and Sunday River each donated $5,000, and local restaurants, including Mac’s Grill and Buffalo Wild Wings, held Lost Valley nights, donating part of the evening’s meal sales to help the resort.

On a recent Volunteer Day, more than 100 volunteers converged upon Lost Valley – some with heavy machinery – to limb trees, clear debris from trails and spruce up the lodge. Some have even donated fuel for the machinery. These in-kind contributions have saved thousands of dollars in labor and rental costs.

Finally, sales of season passes have also been very strong, surpassing those of last year.

“This facility is critically important to kids who are tomorrow’s athletes,” said co-owner Linc Hayes. “It gets them off their electronic devices and gives them an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. If it wasn’t for Lost Valley, athletes like former World Cup Champion and Olympic competitor Julie Parisien would not have achieved the success they did.”

“Connie and Linc have always been there for the community, offering reasonable prices so the kids of young families could learn how to ski,” said Friends of Lost Valley volunteer and Volunteer Day organizer Whitney Condit. “This place means a lot to the community. Generations of families have learned to ski here, and people have told us they feel it’s their turn to give back to Lost Valley.”

The Friends of Lost Valley have now established a new Crowdrise site, this time to support needed maintenance and improvements to the facility. To make a donation, see www.crowdrise.com/friendsoflostvalley.

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