Searchmont Resort has a new owner.
Wisconsin Resorts Inc., a family owned business that’s been operating ski resorts since 1958, purchased the ski hill from the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. The $2 million deal, which includes all land, buildings and equipment, was finalized on Thursday.
Joseph Kosik, President of Wisconsin Resorts Inc., said they chose to make their first Canadian purchase as they’re “always looking for opportunities to expand and do more.” The company also manages four ski hills in the U.S., including Pine Knob in Clarkson, Michigan.
This sale comes four years after the Sault Ste. Marie EDC took ownership of the resort in December of 2014. The EDC purchased the resort to ensure the ski hill remained open and sustainable. Their goal was to promote upgrades to the resort then sell it off to someone who could further develop it.
“I think it’s been exciting to see the best outcome we could hope for,” said Terry Rainone, Chair of the Board for the EDC. “We have a viable ski resort operator owning the hill. I think it’s very important that the EDC stepped up and purchased the hill when it did, because it was in danger of closing, and staff worked very hard to put things together, working with the Searchmont Ski Association, working with the lenders and the funders to really make it happen.”
Improvements made to the resort under EDC ownership include the reopening of the quad chair lift, hill remediation work causing less snow to be required to open runs, new signage, renovations to several slopeside villas, upgrades to the hill’s snowmaking system, a new roof on the main chalet building, and the purchase of newer groomers and other equipment.
Kosik says they’re looking to make more upgrades to the resort for the 2019-2020. These include building a beginner area to allow more people the opportunity to use the resort.
Both Rainone and Kosik say they think this will not only encourage locals to continue to use the resort, but also drive tourism in the Sault.
Searchmont Ski Association, who has run the resort for the past decade, is set to dissolve in the near future due to the new ownership.
Tyler Epp, President of the association, said in a release that their goal was to manage the hill until a new owner could be found.
“We’re happy to see that time has come,” he said.
Wisconsin Resorts Inc., under it’s newly-formed affiliate company Searchmont Holdings Corporation, will be operating the ski hill for the 2018-2019 season. All tickets, accommodations and other bookings that have been previously made will be honoured. This year’s exact opening date will be released on their website in the upcoming weeks.
For more information on Searchmont, visit their website here.