Welcome to MILSAP! We are dedicated to collecting and publishing information about the history of lift-served ski areas in Michigan. If you have fond memories of flying down the slopes on your favorite hill, but the area has closed, let us know about it. Michigan has a long, rich history of skiing and sliding and it should not be forgotten. Please help us keep it alive by sharing your recollections, snapshots, memorabilia, news clippings, home movies, or whatever you may have that would remind you and others of the places where people used to enjoy winter in Michigan.
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We have approved 29 comments since our last update exactly a month ago. We have been approving them throughout the month, but have waited until now to post a summary because our ski area opened very early this year, November 13th, earliest ever.
Anton Mal posted several comments about west-side areas like Big-M, Crystal, Ward Hills, and Caberfae. He included a link to Northern Edge Snowsports which was supposed to lead to a gallery of pictures of an abandoned portion of Caberfae (but we couldn’t find the gallery). If you find it, please let us know. Anton wanted to know why Big-M failed while Crystal prospered and Tom Fullerton responded with some of Crystal’s advantages. Anton also posted videos of a ride up the Caberfae chair to the “Dark Side,” expert terrain on South Peak and of a vintage (1948) skiing experience at Caberfae played to a recording of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” He also posted a link to the about-us page for Mulligan’s Hollow.
Roger Guiney commented on a Munising Ski Jump that was located on a natural slope (no scaffold) near the High School in 1963-64. Jumps of 120′-140′ were registered that year. We cannot locate this site on satellite or topo because a new school was built a few years ago and we have been unable to determine the location of the old one. If you know where Munising HS was located in ’64, please let us know. Roger also corrected our location for Pine Mountain Jump. I had inadvertently entered Iron River instead of Iron Mountain, missing by about 40 mi. Sorry, my bad.
Ed Ivenson posted a couple of comments about growing up at Fonro, which his father managed. He has very fond memories of the area in both winter and summer. Karen Olson Giradot also commented on Fonro.
Anton Mal then moved further north with questions about Mt. Mancelona which were responded to by Mikey, who commented that he never skied there when it was open, but has refurbished the t-bar and has had a lot of fun with his kids, friends and kids friends. He says the vertical was bout 800′ and the t-bar is 1200′ long because that his how much wire he had to string to rig the safeties. Anton also commented on the great beginners area at Nub’s Nob, complete with chairlift. He also posted a video of the deterioration at Sugar Loaf, a very neat video taken from a remote-control copter with a camera attached. Anton also posted comments about his adventure skiing at Mt. Bohemia (which is now in the “final 4″ in Powder Magazine’s contest to find the greatest American Ski Town, although I’m not sure anything near Bohemia qualifies as a town). You can sign up to vote on Powder’s Facebook page. While you’re on Facebook, check out the MILSAP Facebook page, too.
Evan Buit commented about his recent climb to the top of Carousel Mountain, where he says parts of the chairlift are still there: the top tower complete with bullwheel. Bob Sisco commented about Little Switzerland that Joe Montana used to ski there while he was attending Notre Dame (Really? The coaches let him ski?) Bob questioned the location of the photograph of people riding the rope at the Grand Valley Colleges ski hill, wanting to know which campus the hill is at. He also commented about Tower Mountain, correcting our picture captions, and about Bittersweet, noting that the history of the area is available on the Mt. Holly page (same ownership).
Gustave Rayl commented on Indian Hills Park where he skied with his brother and sister around 1960 (starting when he was 6). He says he biked there in the ’70s and nothing was left of the ski area. He also said he has pictures of Pioneer Hills taken around 1955.
Anton Mal remembers a friend, Bill Norquay stopping off at Riverview Highlands after work to practice his ski ballet after a day at the office. Ski Ballet? Must have been in the ’80s. Finally, Lori Fullerton Melton left a comment about her memories of skiing at Mt. Brighton. The new owners have put a lot of money into the hill and lodge this year and it has just opened for the season, so perhaps in another 30 years, today’s kids will be commenting about their fond memories of skiing there, too.