NOVEMBER 8, 2019 | WRITTEN BY Matt McGinnis

#1: Saddleback Resort Sold to Arctaris Impact Fund:

Top Five Fridays November 8, 2019: Saddleback Image

Image previously found via Saddleback's Official Website

We start this week with some very big news for anyone who’s been following the seemingly endless saga of Saddleback Resort in Maine. For those unfamiliar, a quick recap: way back in 2015, the owners of Saddleback announced that they were selling the resort as it required updates that they couldn’t afford. Since that time, a number of suitors flirted with the idea of purchasing, including an Australian business man who by all measures would have acquired the resort, had he not found himself in legal trouble related to an EB-5 scheme. Then, over the course of the last year or so, a Boston based investment firm called the Arctaris Impact Fund began expressing interest in the resort. Unlike a majority of other suitors, Arctaris’s primary goal is to invest in rural communities who’ve fallen on hard economic times. To all observers, the potential sale seemed like a perfect fit, until it nearly fell apart just months ago.

This week however, the fortunes for all involved have changed dramatically as it’s just been announced that the Berry family (the current owners of Saddleback) and Arctaris have finally struck a deal and entered into a sales agreement! Regardless of what the recent difficulties were that almost derailed the deal at the end of September, this week’s news suggests that both parties wanted to see the sale happen badly enough that they were able to overcome any obstacles. Now, with Arctaris set to take the reins, a slew of updates are being planned for the resort. Unfortunately that means lifts won’t be spinning for the 2019-2020 season, but the expectation is that the resort will open sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2020. When it does, visitors will experience new lifts, a renovated base lodge, and a number of other updated amenities. For more on this week’s big news, check out the full report from Maine’s Press Herald Newspaper, and congrats to all involved!

#2: Utah’s Brian Head Resort Acquired by Mountain Capital Partners:

Top Five Fridays November 8, 2019: Brian Head Resort Image

A look at Brian Head Resort, a hidden gem in Southern Utah. Image: Brian Head Resort on Facebook

Speaking of ski resort acquisitions, we’ve got another one this week that demands our attention: the sale of Utah’s Brian Head Resort. Now, to be perfectly honest, a one off sale of a ski resort this time of year typically wouldn’t rise to “Top 5 Friday” level of importance. This instance however, is a little bit different as the real news isn’t that Brian Head Resort was sold, it’s that it was purchased by Mountain Capital Partners. If this name is new to you, don’t worry, MCP is still off most people’s radars, despite now owning eight ski resorts in the Southwest, which it operates collectively under the Power Pass umbrella. In addition to slowly developing a small empire of ski areas in an overlooked region, the value of MCP is that the company is investing in small to midsize ski areas, helping ensure their viability and connecting the region’s ski community. Keeping in mind the highlight we just covered regarding Saddleback, it’s pretty easy to see how valuable their role is in providing stability for these resorts. We won’t dive too deeply into the details of the transaction, or the quality of skiing that Brian Head resort brings to the Power Pass, but we will suggest reading this recap from the St. George news if you’re interested in learning more about the acquisition. If you’d like to know more about Mountain Capital Partners, you can visit their website here, or check out their Power Pass website here.

#3: is Coming for Your Backcountry

Top Five Fridays November 8, 2019: Backcountry Headquarters Image's headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT. Image:

Before diving into this one, a quick preface: here on Top 5 Fridays, we try to avoid stories that showcase members of the skiing community in a negative light, regardless of whether or not they’re a competitor of ours, or if we agree with their approach. That being said, we caught wind of some news this week that’s simply too comically surreal to ignore. This week, published a story that highlights an ongoing effort of to sue other brands who’s name contains “backcountry”, citing trademark breaches. Amongst the brands who have had legal confrontations with over the use of the word, are brands like Backcountry Denim who launched a line of denim jeans via Kickstarter in 2017, and Marquette Backcountry Skis, which is a small startup selling a unique touring-specific ski system. In addition to these two brands which had the gall to confront the industry juggernaut, a number of other businesses have also changed their names as a result of’s legal efforts.

That, as it turns out, is simply part one of this story. Part two of the story is a masterclass in what happens when the internet decides you’ve overstepped. After the publication of the story, the internet community of outdoor enthusiast’s response to has been swift, decisive, and uniform. On all of’s social media outlets, comment sections are being flooded with outrage from customers and non-customers alike. In general, the consensus is this: does not own the word “backcountry,” and their instance that they do has resulted in a reaction straight from the pages of cancel-culture, with hashtags like #scrapethegoat emerging. In response to the backlash,’s CEO Johnathan Nielsen published an open apology on the company’s website, admitting to overstepping. While many regard the apology as a shallow attempt to save face, only time will tell whether or not this story will have a long term impact the brand. To read the original story by the Colorado Sun, click here. To read Backcountry’s apology effort, click here.

#4: Salomon Slides Further into Sustainability

Top Five Fridays November 8, 2019: Salomon Concept Shoe Image

Salomon's concept: plastic shoes that turn into plastic boots. Image courtesy of Salomon

Finally, let’s round out the week with a cool story that we can all get behind, regardless of whether we’re backcountry or front country people. This week, Salomon unveiled a new concept running shoe. Cool, right? Just wait, it gets better: said running shoe is made using 100% thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and can be entirely recycled at the end of its life. While it’s still just a concept and not a product that’s on the market, the idea is that the running shoe could be returned to Salomon when it’s been exhausted, where it’ll be ground down into raw plastic material, dyed, and then used to create the shells for ski boots. Again, we can’t iterate enough that this is just a concept, so being overly critical about things like the quality of said ski boot, whether people will actually ship their old shoes back, or what happens to the plastic once the ski boot is spent really aren’t where we should be focusing. Instead, the thought process and practical application are noble enough to earn a round of applause and serve as reassurance that Salomon’s Play Minded Program, their sustainability effort, is being taken seriously.

It’s also worth noticing how this effort connects back to skiing. By making a ski boot the end product of this concept shoe, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that Salomon’s sustainability effort was likely born out of their ski department. Extrapolating that idea, it’s both encouraging and exciting to consider how skiing’s role as the “canary in the coal mine” in regards to climate change could result in other industries considering more sustainable practices. After all, companies like Salomon, Rossignol, K2, and many others have crossover into other industries, which could result in sustainability gaining even more momentum amongst mainstream brands. For more on Salomon’s conceptual efforts, check out the recap from

#5: And Now, Your Edits of the Week: TGR Presents: Flow - Squaw Valley

Art of the Arc:

Jesper Tjader Gets Unrailistic, For a Second Time:

Finally, HBO Presents "Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season":

Written by Matt McGinnis on 11/08/19