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Searchmont - Free Lessons for All!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Here's an article on the sale of Searchmont. Note the last paragraph where they talk about the free lessons!

Searchmont (ON), Canada (Tuesday, June 4, 2002) - Searchmont, the Ontario resort known for its challenging terrain and uncrowded slopes, has after nearly two years on the market found a new owner in Chicago, the American city seven highway hours to the south that also supplies many of the resort's skiing and snowboarding guests.

The new owner who has been identified only as "Jack" is not yet ready to step forward into the limelight, according to Searchmont spokesperson Nila Randell. It is the first venture into ski resorts for the entrepreneur previously familiar with Searchmont only as a guest. The purchase price has been rumored but unconfirmed at CDN $1.8 million.

The sale of Searchmont out of receivership ends several seasons of financial difficulty for the Sault Ste. Marie-area resort, which has operated under the guidance of a steward appointed by the bank. It has focused on its steep, rocky terrain over 700 vertical feet of drop and free lessons for all takers to develop a loyal following and keep itself afloat. Uphill transport is provided by three fixed-grip chairs (1 quad, 1 triple, and 1 double), plus a surface lift. Night skiing and snow tubing are also offered.

Up until now, Searchmont has been strictly a winter resort. The new owner has visions of expanding to year-'round operation by focusing on off-season activities requiring little capital investment, including ATV touring. The immediate task at hand, according to Randell, is to develop a branding strategy to give Searchmont a unique identity among Midwestern resorts. Randell also added that the resort's new owner is committed to continuing the practice of providing ski and snowboard lessons free of charge.
post #2 of 3
What an odd name for a ski resort! It sounds like a search engine for the state of Montana.

Still, cause for celebration! Making lessons the loss leader is very interesting marketing and I hope the strategy is wildly successful.
post #3 of 3
Searchmont, which used to advertise that it "overlooks all of Michigan" may have offered a free beginner lesson with rentals or something like that, but the resort charged fees similar to those charged by nearby resorts for most instructional services last season, according to its website. It may have been a bit cheaper to US citizens because of the currency difference.

The place has been in a nosedive under receivership because the overseers were providing minimal lift upkeep, snowmaking and grooming, if my friends who've been regulars there for years can be believed. Some told me after a trip there in March the conditions were so poor they cut their stay short.
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