Canada’s Searchmont Resort Again Under American Ownership
Detroit-based Wisconsin Resorts Inc. and the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation announced Nov. 1 that a deal had been struck to purchase Searchmont Resort for $2 million.
Joseph Kosik, president of Wisconsin Resorts Inc., indicated they will be adding close to $750,000 worth of snow-making equipment. The resort presently only has 20 snow guns, and they want to increase that to 50 for this season and more than 100 over the next three seasons.
He used to coach ski racing in the Detroit area years ago and took his team to Searchmont to train where he fell in love with the mountain-like atmosphere at the resort.
This is the second time that the Canadian resort has been American owned. Chicago-based entrepreneur Jack McDermott brought the troubled resort out of two years of receivership in 2002. After three reported money-losing seasons and significant infrastructure investment on the horizon, announced in 2005 he would no longer finance downhill ski operations.
Searchmont Resort is currently owned by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp., and operated by the SSAI, a non-profit organization recognizing the impact a viable ski area has on winter business in the area.
The resort in its heyday during the 1990s advertised heavily in the Michigan and Chicago markets and with a favorable exchange rate was drawing quite a few skiers north of the border. The ski area was averaging over 90,000 skier and rider visits per season. Last season, during a good winter, it drew less than 40,000 to the ski area. The current exchange rate is favorable again. Spend $100 American dollars in Canada and its worth about $131. Their hope is to again make it a big player around the Great Lakes.
Located in the Canadian Shield, some of the oldest mountains in the world, Searchmont offers a big—for the Heartland—750-foot vertical drop, 21 trails, terrain parks, snowshoe and cross country ski trails, and four lifts. The variety of runs ranges from long beginner and intermediate runs over a kilometer long to several terrain trails through glades. It feels like you are skiing in the mountains. There are slopeside chalets and condos available for rent.
Searchmont is located about 25 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, just across the St. Mary’s River and Soo Locks from the United States.