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Ski Resort Asks For Donations In Wake Of Unseasonable Warmth

By Christy Strawser
The warm spell is soaking hopes for some as others revel in 60-degree temperatures expected as a rare wintertime treat in metro Detroit.

Michigan ski resorts are creating their own snow and hoping for the best, but the luxurious Searchmont Resort in Ontario, near Sault Ste. Marie, pushed back opening day and is asking for donations from the public to keep going this season.

There's no snow and it's too warm there to sustain any faux snow, owners say. The facility has a 1,600 foot summit and 18 runs.

Average snowfall there is 83 inches a year. This year, there's been no appreciable accumulation and the temperature on Christmas Eve is expected to be 56 degrees. Rain will come next week.

"Unseasonably high temperatures have resulted in the pushing back of opening day, which in the grand scheme of things means Searchmont Resort will miss out on the Christmas Holidays – a period that historically amounted to 20 percent of our annual income," the resort says in a press release.

"The reality is that a combination of several factors out of our control have made the 2015-16 season an uphill battle ... Natural snow is limited, and without world-class snow making equipment, blowing artificial snow would only be for the purpose of making bigger puddles," the resort said.

Meanwhile, they say they're looking to the community for support with a fundraiser "dedicated solely to offsetting costs accumulated throughout the offseason and expenses that otherwise would not have been a concern if we were able to open on the planned date of December 12th."

They're holding a New Year's celebration as a fundraiser, and selling season passes, gift cards, and six packs. A full season pass is $604.80. They're also offering advertising space on chair-lift chairs to businesses and organizations that want to ante up.

"Searchmont is open to any and all ideas including title sponsorships, naming rights, and more. We welcome your ideas, donations, and support with open arms and many thanks. We need your support, and we welcome your advice," owners said.

Meanwhile, this is the more optimistic message from Nub's Knob in Harbor Springs, Mich.

"Keep the faith as our weather guru is seeing some snowmaking temperatures arriving right after Christmas and you can bet we'll be hard at it," the resort said in a press release.

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