September 21, 2019
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Lee ski area has new owner with big plans

LEE, Maine — A Massachusetts ticket broker has purchased the Mount Jefferson Ski Area and plans to turn the facility into a year-round resort, he said Tuesday.

Ken Zimmerman of Tewksbury bought the 51-year-old business from the Delano family.

Night skiing, camping, snow tubing and, eventually, outdoor concerts are among the activities Zimmerman said he wants to add to the ski area. He completed the purchase of the 160-acre parcel for an undisclosed price on Jan. 15. Zimmerman also purchased a 6-acre plot adjacent to the south side of his property Jan. 21, according to Adria Blake Yock, an associate broker at Realty of Maine who handled the transactions.

Zimmerman, Yock said, is the best fit for the property. Other would-be buyers wanted the business just to get ownership of the two cellphone towers on the parcel.

“He is going to be good for the business and for the community,” Yock said Tuesday. “He wants to work with the [Delano] family, which made it really nice. I just hope the community welcomes him. He has some great ideas to help grow the business.”

Zimmerman said he is the owner of Bostonian Tickets, which describes itself at its website as a one of a kind service that specializes in hard-to-find event tickets nationwide.

Mount Jefferson concerts would be a logical outgrowth of Bostonian Tickets and would provide an alternative to Bangor’s outdoor concerts along the Penobscot River, Zimmerman said.

“It could be a good investment between the skiing and the good possibility for outdoor live entertainment in the summer,” Zimmerman said. “It is a nice little place. The view is amazing.”

The brothers and co-owners, Byron and Randy Delano, discussed the sale with a mixture of pragmatism and wistfulness. Their parents, Susan and Byron Delano Sr., were among six couples who bought and launched the business in 1964. The Delanos acquired it in 1979 and celebrated the venue’s 50th anniversary last year.

“It is just time. There are six kids and my mother involved. We’re getting old,” Byron Delano said.

None of the latest generation of Delanos can take over the business from its present owners, Randy Delano said.

The timing seems right for another reason, Delano said.

This winter’s weather has so far been pretty abysmal for skiing, so much so that the ski area hasn’t actually opened yet. The place lacks snow makers, and rain was pelting the area’s 12 trails Tuesday, damaging the good base earlier snowstorms had left, Delano said.

Zimmerman said he hopes to open when the weather permits and plans to purchase snow groomers for the business next winter. The concerts likely will happen in a year or two.

The Delanos said they plan to stay on to help Zimmerman transition to his new enterprise.

“I know I’ve been coming here for 40 years,” Randy Delano said. “It’s a part of our lives.”

 

Correction: A previous version of this story said the ski area lacked snow groomers. It lacks snow makers.


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