Mars Hill officials stress that town not taking over Bigrock ski area

By Scott Mitchell Johnson, Presque Isle Star-Herald
Posted Sept. 15, 2013, at 9:59 a.m.

MARS HILL, Maine — Despite rumors to the contrary, the town of Mars Hill is not going to take over the operations of the Bigrock Mountain community ski area.

“Rumors persist that the town is participating in — or taking over — operations at Bigrock,” said Town Manager Karin Petrin, “but that just isn’t the case.”

In an effort to clear up those rumors, the Town Council held a discussion during its Aug. 19 meeting to clarify the town’s role as it relates to the threatened ski area.

“As many folks believe, Mars Hill is a large part of Bigrock’s community; however, it is believed a broader definition of community was intended to include all of Aroostook County and surrounding New Brunswick communities when the Maine Winter Sports Center announced its withdrawal from Bigrock,” said Petrin.

“Although the town of Mars Hill would like to assist financially, the reality is we just cannot,” she said. “Our taxpayers are shouldering as much as we are willing to ask. We will, however, offer moral support, facilitate and make contacts for Bigrock officials. Bigrock is an important piece of the Mars Hill community and we want to see it succeed. We just don’t have the money to take the mountain over ourselves.”

Bigrock Mountain supporters are looking to raise $300,000 to keep the ski area open and fund a three-year plan to restore the mountain to profitability. The fundraising effort began on Aug. 6 with an original goal of $150,000, and organizers have since raised more than $100,000. The goal has since been increased to $300,000 to ensure funding to support a turnaround plan that the mountain leadership believes will take three years.

Petrin added that the Town Council would like to extend its gratitude to “our neighboring Aroostook and New Brunswick communities for the outpouring of support to keep the staple that is the Bigrock Ski Area open for business for all to enjoy.”

At 980 feet, Bigrock Mountain is the tallest ski area in northern Maine and the Maritimes and touts a dramatically expanded snowmaking system, a new beginner/intermediate area with a triple chair, a magic carpet lift in the ski school park and a tubing park.

The fundraising group, Friends of Bigrock, has established an online presence for people to assist with donations. Visit www.gofundme.com/save-bigrockmountain to donate.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/09/15/news/aroostook/mars-hill-officials-stress-that-town-not-taking-over-bigrock-ski-area/ printed on September 20, 2014