The Cass City Chronicle for Fri., Nov. 9 1956 in the “Michigan Mirror” column lists Gay-El-Rancho among the rapidly developing ski areas in Michigan. Gay-El-Rancho was south east of town on the east side of Dixon Lake, about midway between the location of the Otsego Ski Club and what would eventually become Michaway. Apparently they ran a “dude” ranch there right through the 1960′s (eventually removing the Gay from the name when word usage changed, becoming El-Rancho Stevens.) It still functions as a summer resort and year-round(?) restaurant. I don’t see a lot of elevation change on the topo map or remains of slopes on the satellite, so I don’t know whether downhill skiing was ever developed or how long it may have continued.
If you have any information about skiing at Gay-El-Rancho, please post it or send it to us via the directions on the About MILSAP page.