The ski racing community is shocked to learn of the passing of Jeff Shiffrin, father of World Cup athlete Mikaela Shiffrin. Shiffrin died following an accident at his home in Edwards, Colo., on Sunday, Feb. 2.
Shiffrin was transported to a Denver-area hospital and was surrounded by family during his final hours, including son Taylor, daughter Mikaela, and wife Eileen, who returned home from Europe.
A former Dartmouth racer, Shiffrin will be remembered as a loving family man, renowned anesthesiologist, and valued member of the Vail Valley community. He was 65.
Shiffrin is survived by Eileen, Mikaela, and Taylor.
In a Facebook post, Mikaela Shiffrin said, “My family is heartbroken beyond comprehension about the unexpected passing of my kindhearted, loving, caring, patient, wonderful father. Our mountains, our ocean, our sunrise, our heart, our soul, our everything. He taught us so many valuable lessons…but above everything else, he taught us the golden rule: be nice, think first. This is something I will carry with me forever. He was the firm foundation of our family and we miss him terribly. Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for respecting my family’s privacy as we grieve during this unimaginable and devastating time.”
Service arrangements are forthcoming. Mikaela Shiffrin is expected to remain in Colorado, and her return to the alpine World Cup tour is indefinite at this time.
On behalf of the ski racing community, our thoughts and prayers are with the Shiffrin family during this difficult time.
After a half decade of drama, Saddleback Mountain has finally been sold. According to the Portland Press Herald, Arctaris Impact Fund acquired the resort from the Berry family this afternoon for $6.5 million. The firm was awarded state financing earlier this week.
Andy Sheppard, who was CEO of Maine Winter Sports Center when it owned Big Rock, Black Mountain, and Quoggy Jo ski areas, will be the General Manager of Saddleback.
Arctaris’s plans call for reopening Saddleback for the 2020-21 season with a new Rangeley chairlift (reportedly now a fixed grip quad replacing the double) and new T-Bar. An eight year plan reportedly calls for additional lifts, as well as off season offerings.
Based out of Boston, Arctaris Impact Fund was formed in 2018 to “invest in Low and Moderate Income communities throughout the U.S., addressing underserved and underbanked businesses that are poised for growth.” The fund is a subsidiary of Arctaris, which was founded in 2009. According to the company’s web site, Arctaris’s co-founder is Jonathan D. Tower, who worked for Fidelity and IBM.
Arctaris entered into an agreement to purchase Saddleback in June 2019 and reportedly planned on closing the deal that year.
The Finance Authority of Maine was established by the State of Maine in 1983 as a successor to the Maine Guarantee Authority “to make the best use of the State’s limited resources.” FAME has been involved in other ski areas in the state, including Evergreen Valley and Sugarloaf, and is providing $3.5 million in financing and financing insurance for Saddleback.
The Saddleback saga dates back to July 2015, when the Berry family, owners of the ski area since 2003, announced the Rangeley double chairlift was “at end of its useful life” and that operations would cease if the lift could not be replaced. The lift was not replaced and the ski area has remained idle since, including a failed acquisition attempt by an embattled Australian firm. The ski area currently features a vertical drop of 2000 feet, served by two quads, two doubles, and a T-Bar.
At the northern edge of the Alps, ski runs near the foot of Germany’s highest mountain snake down the greenish-brown slopes in narrow white ribbons of artificial snow.
Like other resorts at relatively low altitude, global warming has left its mark on Garmisch-Partenkirchen — the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics—putting the town’s identity and affluence at risk. It’s January, and there’s so little natural snow that anxiety is building whether upcoming ski races can go ahead.
In Garmisch and across the Alps, tourism is a key support for local economies. In neighboring Austria, it makes up just over 6% of economic output, while in the mountainous region of Tyrol the share is more like 18%. The ratio is similar for the Swiss canton of Graubünden, thanks to resorts like St. Moritz, Klosters and Davos.