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Searchmont plans to open this winter with new lifts and trails, renovated villas

COVID forced ski hill, resort to close its doors last year
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Searchmont Resort has announced its intention to be open to skiers and snowboarders, both locals and tourists, for the 2021-22 season.

The decision comes after the resort was forced to stay inactive last season due to COVID-19’s battering of the hospitality, tourism and recreation sectors.

“With the current stage that we’re in for the Reopen Ontario plan and the current state of vaccinations, we are feeling comfortable opening up,” said Darren Sanderson, Searchmont media coordinator, speaking to SooToday Tuesday.

Searchmont, at this point, does not have a specific opening date, Sanderson said, depending on how soon the snow arrives.

“We did upgrade our snowmaking capability, so if things go well, we would hope (to open) around that time (early December).”

What a lot of skiers will be particularly excited about, Sanderson said, is that “we are replacing our old double lifts with a new triple and we are putting in a brand new triple that will feed into two new trails. We are planning that they will be operational this season. That’s a little optimistic but we’re planning that they will be and we’re really excited about it.”

Plans also call for interior and exterior renovation of the resort’s 12 villas located near the bottom of the main ski hill.

“It’s a pretty big project, and just like the new lifts and new trails, we are planning that they will be ready sometime this season…(work on the villas) is pretty comprehensive,” Sanderson said.

“We hear a lot of banging all day long,” Sanderson laughed. 

Sanderson said the resort is looking forward to receiving Canadian and U.S. visitors, with the border opening to twice-vaccinated Americans.

“We serve a pretty wide area, both Canadian and American. We’re confident with the new (COVID and vaccination) guidelines and protocols being put in, we’re comfortable that things will go well.” 

Searchmont is owned by Detroit-based Wisconsin Resorts Inc., which purchased the resort in Nov. 2018.

“We want to be compliant with the Reopen Ontario guidelines that are set forth for businesses and we’ll go above and beyond, making sure that everything is clean, people socially distancing with masks,” Sanderson said.

Though planning for an upcoming ski season is important even during a hot summer, Sanderson said, with a chuckle, “I’m more of a winter fan, so it’s great for me.”

As for Searchmont’s Facebook announcement for 2021-22, Sanderson said “the public hasn’t heard from us in a while, since we closed last year, so we really wanted to get word out what our plans are for this upcoming season.”

The Searchmont Facebook announcement, released Tuesday, states “we will not be taking reservations for the villas at this time but we hope that they will be made available sometime during the season. Stay tuned for more information.

“Season passes will be available this season but we have not yet finalized specifics. We are estimating that season passes will be available for purchase in early October. We will make an announcement regarding their availability when we have more details.”

For more information, go to Searchmont’s Facebook page.

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Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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