'Humans Of Searchmont'
Humans Of Searchmont Introduction:
The ‘Humans Of Searchmont’ concept is taken from the blog project created by photographer Brandon Stanton called ‘Humans Of New York. Brandon created a blog with beautiful, moving, and inspiring photographs with stories and captions that would encompass the stories of people living in New York, back in 2010.
This is the same idea 'Humans Of Searchmont' will be about. Capturing the stories (some longer than others), captions, and excerpts of the humans who live and breathe at Searchmont Resort!
What makes Searchmont Resort so special are the people. It is the staff, new-comers, season pass holders, advent skiers and boarders, and the people who live in Searchmont and share their love for Searchmont Resort are what makes this place so unique.
Whether you need a good laugh, an inspirational story, or just want to learn something new; these people: 'The Humans Of Searchmont' exude their passion, their stories, and are what make Searchmont tick! These diamonds in the rough, these hidden gems, are ready to shine! Enjoy C.M.W
Humans Of Searchmont
It’s not just a hill, it’s a mountain. It’s not just a ski resort, it’s a place to ride how you choose. It’s not just a tourist attraction, It’s your home away from home.
Whether you cross country ski, snowshoe, ski or snowboard, we invite your passion and want to see you enjoy yourself every season. There is so much history in this mysterious winter wonderland that we should embrace and open our eyes to how lucky we are to have a place like Searchmont just outside our backyard (or a 45min car karaoke away). In between the great Canadian shield, one of the oldest mountains, we have Searchmont Resort.
There isn’t anything like it, when you are on top of a mountain and you look out and see the snow covered peaks in the background, how in the heart of Searchmont, outside Sault Ste. Marie, is your escape.
There is just something beautiful about Searchmont and the people that ride here. Seeing the sun shinning, blue bird days (and some grey days too), and seeing the smiling faces of snowboarders, skiers, cross country skiers, snowshoers, and tele-markers makes Searchmont Resort a hidden gem. There is no place like home and This Is Our House! See you outside! C.M.W
First Photo- The Founders: Herb Lederer and Ian MacDonald
"The success and popularity of Ski Searchmont are due to the vision and hard work of the founders, Herb Lederer and Ian MacDonald”.
The history of Searchmont Resort is short and sweet, but we should all know the founders and the foundation of how Searchmont Resort came to be and how it got to where it is today:
'Back in 1957 Sault Ste. Marie Alpine Ski Centre was located at the Landslide at Hiawatha Park endorsed by the Sault Ski Club. Led by Karl Martische. By the end of WW2 Alpine skiing started become popular with new Canadians arriving from Scandinavia and Austria. To try and meet up with the demand, The Ski Club built a ski jump at landslide, but it was the growing popularity, the location was getting crowded and needed a larger home.
The Sault Ski Club set up 2 teams to scout suitable hills: the north group and an east group to check out the city. Location is key, since hills were found, but were too far away from the highway and were not suitable for skiers. However, there were 2 energetic leaders from the north team who ventured out of the pack, (Herb Franz Lederer and Ian Frederick MacDonald). The north team, led by Ian and Herb, inspected Searchmont Mountain and were interested in developing this location as a private venture
With no financial capital, from the club, they didn’t have the funds or government grants, which were unheard of at this time, Ian and Herb, along with volunteer labourers had to work hard on their own to develop the mountain into a ski hill. In 1957 a lift and a small chalet were built and Searchmont Ski Centre opened it’s doors for skiing.
The need for development capital allowed for the incorporation, known as Searchmont Valley Ski Resort, to be created by investors and skiers. This means that the two founders, Herb and Ian, were no longer the only sole owners.
"The success and popularity of Ski Searchmont are due to the vision and hard work of the founders, Herb Lederer and Ian MacDonald” (Unknown).
Miriam Owsley and Andrew Briggs; Traverse City, MI
Andrew Briggs: “Vibe here is humble, down-to-earth, friendly, laid-back, rugged and you get your sense of adventure not far away; don’t know why we haven’t come here’ Great place if you want beer, something to eat, and the people here are the people you want to spend time with. You see people coming off the hill with cheesy smiles being like ‘man that was wild’ that’s what we like to see.” We will be back: easy to get here, cheap to stay and ski. Come out to Canada and have an experience.”
Miriam Owsley: “We are a good team! Skiing together for 2-3 years, been together for 5 years. He pushes me, gentle pushes, to go harder, ski harder, try new Terrain…I teach him self-preservation and not to break any bones. Andrew is into kittens and is a Rockstar! The thing about guitarists is they are totally unreliable, but the nicest one is sitting right next to me."
Skiing together for 2-3 years, ski together a lot, and met 5 years ago.
Andrew: 'So much different then Michigan. The lengths of the trails are longer and make you work harder, which is good! More rugged, compared to a flat easy service….Big difference, it is a positive challenge.'
Miriam: ‘We went past the Quad over to the woods, which was tons of fun and want to go again!”
We are doing the Ski & Stay Package at the Water Tower Inn.
Andrew: We were doing the math from U.S currency to Canadian dollars and it comes to about $100 a person, per day (check my math), to ski all day which nuts! "Come out to Canada and have an experience!"
Everyone is so friendly, we were walking towards the Quad and the guys from the Quad were like “Awe Shaggy’s”, and that’s how we made friends, had some drinks and went to ‘the cave’.
Miriam: Kayaking in the summer, Manistee River, 3 nights and 4 days at the campsite. We spent hours cleaning; had a ‘Kayak full of garbage’, got a bag of oranges as a gift and put their beers in there and kept them cool in the river.'
Andrew- You see locals here and you can tell this is where they grew up, this is their hill. We met a groomer, Chris, he was a jolly dude who could talk...he was a nice guy.
ABOUT THE COUPLE:
Miriam: Works at a non-profit called ‘The Ground Work Centre'. It helps bring local foods into school."I am an interesting person, I have lot’s to talk about, I love what I do". Took Fresh Water studies, but it’s the interest that I have, makes me the person I am. This is important: relationships with people, connections with people, working together to solve big issues without big money.
Miriam: ‘Andrew is a Rockstar'. He was in a band called ‘Funktion’- they were touring nationally. The thing about guitarists is that they are totally unreliable, the nicest on is sitting right next to me."
HOW THEY MET: Beerfest, Miriam's 19th birthday. “Andrew is into kittens.”
Miriam: This trip is Christmas present, but also a Christmas present for himself. Birthday next weekend, Anniversary is coming up, 5 years together. “He pushes me, gentle pushes; small fights all the time, we are both pretty stubborn.”
How Andrew Benefits Miriam: “Good team, go harder, ski harder, try new Terrain.” How Miriam Benefits Andrew: “Teach him self preservation and not to break any bones.”
Andrew: We will be back, easy to get here, cheap to stay and ski. It’s way less expensive compared to the States and other places. We are just into the sport, we are all here to ski! The vibe here is very humble, down to earth, friendly, adventurous, go across Mackinac Bridge sense of adventure, not far away.
Great place if you want beer, something to eat, and the people you want to spend time with. You see people coming off the hill with cheesy smiles being like ‘man that was epic’ that’s what we like to see.
“Vibe here is humble, down-to-earth, friendly, laid-back, rugged and you get your sense of adventure not far away; don’t know why we haven’t come here!"
OLIVIA BABIC; Sault Ste. Marie, ON
"I'm funny, you just have to get me started, just ask Beau."
Olivia Babic has been skiing since she was 3, started racing when she turned 7, and is now a coach for the Searchmont Ski Runners. How she started getting into skiing: her father used to live in Austria and he has been a skier since he was young, so the whole family, including her older sister Alex, all ski out at Searchmont.
Her family has had a chalet out at Searchmont, since she was 13, and you should "get out here as much as you can!"
Right now she is at St.Marys College and wants to take Social Work at Algoma University. She is always laughing and when asked for her to tell me something about herself, anything, she responded: "I'm funny, you just have to get me started, just ask Beau."
Olivia loves to 'get to know everyone here, everyday, and knows the locals', since she has skied up here basically all her life. She is by no means shy, and her bubbly personality makes it easy for her to get to know everyone here, and I've had the luxury of getting to know her too!
Words To Describe Searchmont: "Comfortable environment, everyone knows each other."
Words for Searchmont: "Just come out!"
Nick And Sean; BC Boys Back In Ontario
Bromance Nick and Sean: Became friends out in Edmonton, lived in BC for about a decade, and argue about which is better, living out west or living out east; mountains vs the sky. BC has mountains,'but there is no sky!'
Pete; Sudbury, ON
This is Pete! He is a Sudburtonian now. He is a middle child of 5 and is the only one out of his family born in Searchmont; family moved back to Sudbury. He has been skiing since he was 10, since his Aunt and Uncle live in Soo and would come visit. First time he ever went skiing was here at Searchmont and comes out to Searchmont Resort a few times a year.
Tyler Epp; Branford to Saultite
"Figured out, I'm not immortal...insert cheesy board related comment here."
Originally from Branford, ON, Tyler moved to Sault Ste. Marie back in 2008. The first 'winter type thing' he did on moving here was come to Searchmont Resort. "I'm from Southern Ontario, all we have is hills". He fell in love with Searchmont and "figured out I'm not immortal" when he had an injury. However he went riding the next week, so he is a pretty tenacious individual. Some fun facts about Tyler: he took the Adventure Rec program at Sault College; where he currently works as a Manager for the Alumni Relations and Events at Sault College, loves the outdoors and has had some great times with friends in White River, loves trying doughnuts, and enjoys both skiing and snowboarding. Tyler is one of the newest Searchmont Ski Association Inc's (SSAI) Board Of Directors Members and he loves how he "gets to be on the board, insert cheesy board related comment here, and make sure the hill is still over here for others to enjoy...it's fantastic!"
Benjamin Button (Date); Born And Raised In Searchmont
"Free Your Mind"
"I’m bad at ice-breakers… my name is Ben… I work here and I am versatile". Ben lives in Searchmont and has been snowboarding for 10 years. Just snow you know he has mad skills on the rail, but ‘not up to par with the park rats, I’ve seen them do flips’.
"I’m hard to label”. He loves sports, plays and loves football, but is also a huge Star Wars fan; has a star wars belt, and can do a solid batman impersonation. “My hopes, my dreams you ask…. “do you want to see 56 push-ups?” When wearing his superman t-shirt he is Clark, missing Kent. Ben is an avid runner; runs with his dog Kavik who is like a cat, loves playing games on his phone, first job was self-employed at Tour Of Doodie, is in the military, hates toads, is a pretty sick rapper; just ask him to rap alphabet aerobics, and hates math. He got accepted into the Criminology program at Ottawa U and couldn’t be more excited for school in September.
“Me being natural is not talking about myself”
He doesn’t brag about his abilities, he is genuine and transparent and can laugh at himself. He is entertaining and is one of the most empathetic and caring person you will meet. Ben will go out of his way to make sure everyone is helped, comfortable, and taken care of. When he doesn’t know an answer, he will always go the extra mile to find out for you. He is a stand-up guy and there should be more people like Ben.
What he has to say about Searchmont: “I like snowboarding, close to home, I like the natural beauty of the area and being able to see it on top of the slope”.
Most important thing of all: He wants everyone to… “Free your mind”.
Duck (aka The Duck Lady) And Moose; Haslett, MI
"became an on going joke on how they can always find each other".
Meet Moose and The Duck Lady, also known as Lars and Lisa who have a funny story on how they received their nicknames.
Moose and Duck are certified snowboard instructors and use to teach with a ski school, but just teach friends and family how to snowboard. “Lars started snowboarding in 1987 on a Burton Cruiser… I started to learn to board on our teen daughter's snowboard when I was 38 years old”.
How they got their names: ‘Where is the duck lady?’ started when they were teaching their friend’s kids how to snowboard and added stuffed animals to their helmet as a way to keep the kids happy. What started as a way to keep kids happy turned into a way to “Lars loved how easy it was to find me, so he decided we needed our own helmet decorations”
“Lars had a stuffed moose his mom had left at our house that was perfect for his helmet. I wanted a toy squirrel (to be "Moose & Squirrel" from Rocky & Bullwinkle), but couldn't find one. It was funny listening to how this story unfolds to having Lars trying to convince his wife to have a stuffed pig on the helmet…”he still doesn't understand why I said no”. They decided to go with a stuffed duck and now their friends know them as 'Moose & Duck'.
Now their helmets always have the Duck and Moose stuffed animals on them and "became an on going joke on how we can always find each other."
“Lars and I have been to Searchmont in the past, but not in a few years. We had and awesome weekend at Searchmont. We were very impressed by the children's race program, they were having so much fun! We loved riding in the woods and we are both fans of bumps in trees. I took a picture of Lars in front of the 'Moose Difficult' sign-because sometimes he is! We would love to come back."
WOZ: Hunter Waugh; Officially Canadian
“Lovin’ life, vibe as …. anything, happiness, gratitude, this is your life”.
This guy has more Searchmont hats than the mad hatter!
For those of you who know him, you love him, and if you don't then this will shed light on how crazy cool this kiwi is!
Here is a list to give you a general idea of who Hunter Waugh (aka Woz) really is:
He is a buck 160…somewhere in there
Tall, dark, and kiwi (not aussie),
Favourite colour: Blue
Nickname his buddies call him back home: Woz
From: Dunedin New Zealand
Occupation: Bartender at Searchmont
Sports: Goalie in hockey; has a coach, playing with the big dogs!
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Strengths: great sense of humour, loyal, wise, cool and calm as a cucumber, pretty sweet, great to talk to, easy breezy beautiful, and gives epic hugs!
Weaknesses: he would probably say he doesn’t have any
Favourite Outfit: Freddie Flinstone
Fears: There's a list...but he hates scary movies!
He loves long walks on the beach and can cook a mean pancake!
What this awesome bloke has to say, ‘cue accent’:
“Lets get the record straight here right at the start. New Zealand, not Australia”. Originally came to Sault Ste. Marie to train for hockey and ended up scoring a job out here on the bar. Best job i ever had. Searchmont is this super chill, sweet ski hill that is such a massive part of my life now. People often ask me why I am here of all places but there's really no place I'd rather be. I love the people and I love the place”
“Lovin’ life, vibe as …. anything, happiness, gratitude, this is your life”.
The Kat And Jamie Show
“Did you say famous or dangerous?…U.S. snowboarding mammas rule, we’re rollin…not wham, not bam, 1, 2, POW!"
There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe this dynamic duo. These two are fun-loving, hilarious, wild, zealous, entertaining and are very caring mothers. I knew when I met them I had to interview them, everyone has a story to tell, and I couldn’t wait to hear what Kat and Jamie had to say. If there are some parts in this story that are random, it’s because there was a lot going on and some things can't be published, so embrace the gaps. C.M.W
Kat and Jamie have known each other for 1.5 years, but seeing them together you would think they were long lost sisters.
Case in point, in since they both said...and I quote at the same time: “Did you say famous or dangerous."
These guys are going to be taking the show on the road, 'The Kat and Jamie Show'...Jamie PG's Kat down.
Kat- “Pow the Kat and J show..."
Jamie- "Definitely the kat show…I bring the class"
#RideOrDie4Life is Kat’s hashtag
“We are rollin’ in an escalade with Lola and Starbucks"
Jamie- “The day my world changed is the day I met Kat...this is the person you want a story on. Kat is inspiring, fighting brain cancer* (*recently just beat it twice), was a pro-boxer…she lives each day to the fullest, that’s what is cool about Kat. Lives her days full."
Kat-'Jamie is very polished, I'm raw around the edges...pow and pizazz.'
Jamie: "She tries to stay in her lane but doesn’t,…you hang around Kat…she has a different lane."
“need to be calm…never calm here”
Kat “1…2..POW for whatever reason, not wham and not bam (guessing it has to do with Kat’s Pro-Boxer Name: Krackin’ Kat).
Kat disappears from the interview for a little... to try and find a bull horn...
They wanted to find a bull horn so they can say 'Colin we’re here!'
Jamie- "I’m a girly girl, lipstick all the time…boots with the fur, but rubbing off on her. I go with the flow and Kat likes her positive vibes!"
Jamie and Kat's boys, Matt Landen and Flyin Brian (Brian Rice) are in the in U.S.A. SA Team Snowboarding Association.
Nationals in Colorado start in the beginning of April; they have 2 competitions in Michigan and travel every weekend.
Matt Landen (11 years) taking gold every weekend; little brother, Beckham (8 years), goes with the flow.
Follow the snow and training,. ‘come because of Hutch Academy…might be back here because we don’t have any snow and you guys have snow.’
Kat-“ I’m one with the universe”. She is a speaker for the Annual Brain Tumor Foundation, MI. She donated stem cells for DNA genetic testing and has an inspirational article from the 'Univerity Of Michigan- Pow Krackin’ Kat Fights Back. This article is on Kat's fight and victory over her brain tumour.
It’s funny the little details you remember about people, like when I first met Jamie drinking a class of wine on the patio with her adorable puppy Lola. Then I had the honour of meeting both Kat and Jamie with their kids signing up for Hutch Academy’s camps.
I heard the story of how it was so icy one day that no one could get up the hill for photos. However that didn't stop Kat, to get a photo of ‘Flyin Brian’, her son. She took off her boots and climbed up the icy hill to get the shot.
Jamie-"There really isn’t anything Kat can’t do."
Kat- "I’m very direct about things...U.S. snowboarding mammas rule, we’re rollin'."
Meet My 3 Favourite Hooligans: Dave, Dave, and Jarred
(Where Is Dave?)
"We are the bad...this is a lifestyle...go big or go home...send and be sent."
I was blessed to meet these guys in the beginning of the Season. They are originals, characters, and always great for a laugh. You can learn a lot from these three, and if you need someone to brighten your day, come talk to Dave, Dave, and Gerid.
With all 2 ½ talking at the same time (you will see why below) you might be able to try and understand some of this awesome, but random conversation. I don’t know if you can decipher this, but give it an honest shot! C.M.W
These 3 guys like to get down and be ‘Bad n’ Boogie’…
Gerid- “The things I want to say, I can’t say…nothing to trace back to his name”
Dave has no problem letting us know that Gerid got “stuck in a tree, Jarred got buried in a tree.” Dave’s favourite trick is “the ‘backside lipslide’…steezy”
Our other friend Dave didn’t get to say much because during the interview he was being a gentlemen and was helping a lady tighten her ski boots. He got a beer out of the deal, so didn't really get a chance to talk, but chimed in when he could!
Fun fact about Dave squared and Gerid: They love chocolate chip cookies!
These guys aren’t knew to the snowboarding scene…"We are the bad...this is a lifestyle.”
Jarred: 10 years of snowboarding and coming out to Searchmont. “We have our own way of doing it”
“My word is a Soo thing, my solidest word.” Snowboard:Burton Process 2015-152 Freestyle Bindings.
Gerid: “It’s the only place we got close to home big mountain experience at a small local hill that use to be run by locals.
This hill drives people to live, there is built up passion and aggression.”
Dave- “Go Big or Go Home can you smell send…send and be sent."
But we are missing one of the Dave’s from the photo…Where is Dave...Dave we miss you! I always loved seeing you 3 here, and just know you will be back next year. See the 3 of you on the ‘backside lipslide’.
Forrest and Jamie (Jam)
"Jamie has 3 businesses, I plant trees...deep is the powder of Searchmont… this place is literally my blood…your’re steeped in Searchmont.. 'you know everyone here, you are Searchmont."
Sometimes you meet people and it's a crazy random happenstance, and this is one of these cases, but I am happy I did. C.M.W
Forrest and Jamie are currently living in Revelstoke BC for 5 years off and on. They both use to work at Searchmont, more on that later, drove up here to come to the Sault. It took 3 days of driving and despite to ever-changing weather in the Soo, "blue sky for 3 days, not a single drop or snowflake."
Jamie: Works for himself, took engineering, retiring soon. "Ten years ago I dreamt about a life I now have…clued into it the last 2 years, it came real fast".
Forrest: "Jamie has 3 businesses, I plant trees." Forrest use to work rental shop and has been "working since I was 12". He worked rentals when he broke his collarbone,"it's amazing to watch the body heal, overcome situations, to do what you want to do."
Both Jamie and Forrest use to both be Ski Instructors here and Forrest's mom use to run Snow School. It's really a small world: Helena, who works Housekeeping here, use to be Forrest's Grade 1 teacher (if you haven't met Helena yet, you should. She is so sweet, friendly, warm and welcoming...what you would expect from someone who taught Grade 1).
Forrest- "Sometimes I stay here for 4 months, sometimes for a few weeks.
Can't forget about the "crew from the Soo". All met at Searchmont and came out here for a solid 8 to 9 years. "You’re steeped in Searchmont."
Forrest: "Mountains in BC are newer, Searchmont is ancient, ground down through history...time weather, ice ages. These mountains use to be as big as B.C."
To try and give some context to the next conversations, we were talking about experiences vs monetary gains and how their is a flip in mindset than what society expects. To each their own, live your life how you want, but this is what these guys are doing.
"Living your life by working hard for short time to take time for new experiences, work hard and then you can relax. You can’t put a monetary value to experience, create good experiences."
Jamie- "Moved to Revelstoke, rather than working, saving, and spending it on vacation, I just moved there." 'Most people work to save money to go on vacation and then spend it all and have to start all over again.'
Instead they moved out to Revelstoke rather than going back and fourth to vacation there."It’s becoming a thing out there, people are camping in tiny homes so they can travel and be in B.C."
Forrest: "More fragile...I live, I can have more time, energy and more experiences than sitting on a couch...you can zigzag, there’s no reason you can't change deep."
These guys are non-stop with mixing work and play! In the few days they have been here, they already started tapping trees from syrup. "Have a friend named Fern, who also taught skiing here at Searchmont, making maple syrup, tapped 40 trees." So we have Forrest, Fern And Jam making Maple Syrup, pretty sweet!
Last note on Searchmont:
"This place is literally my blood...never missed a year here in the last 21 years, skied here at least once each season...you know everyone here, you are Searchmont.”