Mt. Holiday plans $4 million+ fundraising campaign, upgrades

A $4 million+ fundraising campaign to eventually fund major property upgrades and renovations at Mt. Holiday is just beginning, with the goal of restoring and reviving one of the winter sports gems. of the region.

“It’s a Traverse City tradition and a community gem,” says Nathan Noyes, General Manager of Mt. Holiday. But Noyes says Mt. Holiday urgently needs upgrades to everything from its snowmaking machines to the lodge to the lifts.

“The big problem is…it’s old. He never had a good business plan, never had his peak when he was swimming in money. The two lifts date from the early 1960s. The pavilion was built in the 1950s from wood taken from the coastguard barracks. It’s safe and gets inspected every year (but) needs a lot of maintenance,” says Noyes.

“So what we’re trying to do is raise enough money to replace (things) to ensure it’s available to the community for another 30, 40, 50 years.”

Mt. Holiday dates back some 70 years when a group of local businessmen won permission to build a ski slope on state-owned land. “It was created in 1949 by volunteers and prison workers,” says Noyes.

In 1985 it was purchased by Warren and Sue Brosch, but when Warren died in 1999 it was put up for sale. A group of volunteers formed a non-profit organization to purchase the area. Today, Mt. Holiday is a year-round recreation area, with attractions such as a zipline, hiking trails, and biking trails. It hosts races and other events, corporate and family functions, and has a full-service clubhouse. “We want to create a place of recreation in four seasons,” explains Noyes.

But it’s even better known as a winter sports paradise, with downhill runs for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. And these are some of the areas most in need of upgrades.

Noyes says the biggest challenge is managing the ever-shorter time window for skiing and snowboarding. “From a ski operations point of view, it improves our snowmaking. We cannot rely on Mother Nature. We need to. Our current system takes a long time. We want to open earlier. This year, Mt. Holiday only opened in January, missing not only the early December dates, but also the crucial week between Christmas and New Years.

For comparison, it points to Nub’s Nob in Petoskey. “It has more than 250 (snow) cannons. We have six. He also points out the antiquated equipment of Mt. Holiday. “Our pipes are from the 60s and 70s. They are two inches – they must be six inches. Stations such as Nub’s can start producing snow as soon as the temperature drops to 28 degrees, and it doesn’t take long to produce the necessary base. “Nub’s can activate it and open the slopes in 72 to 96 hours,” says Noyes.

He readily acknowledges the difference between a large-scale, for-profit resort and a neighborhood ski resort, and actually says that’s the point. “Mt. Holiday is a nurturing hill. They need places like us. Then they go to Nub’s, Crystal Mountain, Breckenridge, Vail, etc. God knows how many skiers have been created for them by places like this- this.

“Like Hickory Hill, Mt. Holiday is in a neighborhood. Nub’s, Boyne, Crystal – these are destination places.

Mt. Holiday is designed to be an affordable family alternative. The cost of doing business isn’t all that different from the big boys, but Mt. Holiday doesn’t charge the rates of a Nub’s Nob, Shanty Creek, or Boyne. “Lift tickets are $15. We have a scholarship program. We are proud of that,” says Noyes. This makes it more difficult for Mt. Holiday to realize the kinds of benefits that would enable the necessary improvements.

Kelly Mengebier and Julie Hay of HKM & Associates advise the Mt. Holiday Board of Directors which manages the organization.

The two grew up together and their children also grew up skiing at Mt. Holiday. “We’re motivated,” says Hay. “We love the hill, the sense of community. It’s small, children have freedom (there). We love it as a community resource.

It’s just that the resource runs out, and when obsolete equipment eventually does, it may be impossible to repair. And as far as simple replacement goes, that may not work either – Noyes says that due to its age, many components are not commercially available. “We want all parts and pieces to be compatible.”

Thus the ambitious multimillion-dollar fundraising campaign for the upgrades, which could take up to two years. Hay presented a proposal to Acme Township Council to serve as municipal support for a grant application in the amount of $25,000 for the Grand Traverse Tribe of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians as part of the annual distribution of income of 2% of the tribe.

The council submitted the nomination, one of the first steps in the campaign. Hay and Mengebier note that the campaign is still in its early stages, with a much more public campaign to come.

In the meantime, Noyes says Mt. Holiday will continue to provide safe and fun recreation for families and opportunities to engage the community. “We had a benefit for cancer awareness. We provided the frame at no cost. All the little kids were running all over the ski slope. Where else are you going to see (this)? »

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