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.
For more information about our site, check the About MILSAP link on the navigation bar above or at the top of our page links in the right-hand column.
It has been WAY TOO LONG since my last summary post just after Xmas. I can only say I was busy enjoying the ski season in Michigan and Vermont this winter. There have been 58 comments left on our website since my last post.
Sam Metcalf commented on our Snow Valley page that his family skied there in the 50s and it was a great family resort because all the slopes met at the bottom of the hill, making it easy to get to one from another. The main lodge at the top has a 4-sided fireplace, ticket sales, a bar/dining room, dance floor, and bowling alleys. The area had a metal toboggan run with a return tow. His family stayed at the Northernaire Motel and log cabins and often ate at Schlang’s Bavarian Restaurant which had good German food. Doug Lippert thanked Sam for sharing the memories. We do, too, Doug. hostirad commented on Snow Valley that she and her family lived in Ann Arbor in the 50s. She has memories of learning to ski and use the rope tow and of the cosy lodge. She found pictures and learned that her memories were of Snow Valley. Gary Chomiak commented that in 59, his parents became part owners. He started skiing there and remembers the ski jump. He thought it was unique. Actually, many areas had ski jumps at that time, and in the UP they’re still not uncommon.
Keith Pollock commented about Tyrollean Hills that he remembers it well and wishes he had pictures of it in its prime. He said it is a shame what it has become. Keith also would like permission to access the barn. GV said he stays in the old patrol building to hunt deer, but the old lodge is pretty vandalized. Zack Belwood is looking for pictures, old or current.
Rebecca Jones said on our Kandahar page that her grandfather was a co-owner of Summit and one year her mom was named Miss Summit. In the 80s, they became members of Kandahar. karla Callender-Giuliano remembers the Teen Friday Nights–hours of skiing to music and meeting other kids. She says she learned to ski of the Bunny Hill and Tony’s. Her family were members from the 60s until it closed. On New Year’s Eve they had a torchlight parade. She remembers the rust stains in the drinking fountain, cubbies to keep your things in, and the warmth of the fireplace. Jeanette Owen remembers her father renting a little shack near the lodge with an outhouse not too far away, black salamanders in the summer.
Joe Fessler also commented on Kandahar that his family were members from 62 to 76 and hot chocolate was $.10 in the lodge. His dad had to give permission to the rope tow operator to let him ride at age 6. He learned to ski jump there from the Bendas and Mr. Hyvonen. He took trips with them to compete at Cadillac, Munising, and Iron Mtn. Bruce Lawson said his family joined the KSC at the old location. He helped erect the Poma lift at the new location when he was a teen. Mark asked Rebecca Jones if she was the girlfriend of Leo Doan? He also replied to Greg Ellis that he is Mark Ostrander, son of Ed. His dad worked in Detroit and at Kandahar on weekends. His brother has a Summit Ski Lodge pin.
Susan Knickerbocker Field left a couple stories about Kandahar. She replied to R. Black, “Randy, you were like a God to me and my friends. We loved watching you do flips and other stunts.” She also said her father, Stuart Knickerbocker designed additions to the lodge and named a slope “Flying Rock” after they used dynamite to remove stumps and sent a boulder flying. She says her dad once insisted taking her mom skiing on Sweet Pea. Her mom was not much of a skier. He failed to tell her to let go of the Boomerang rope early. She crashed into the tow motor, took off her skis, walked back to the lodge, and never went skiing again. And Susan thinks her dad slept on the couch for a week or two.
Ted Stenger commented on our TimberLee Hills page that he attended a race camp there in 73 or 74 run by Heli Schaller, a former World Cup champion. Ed J. Bandoux commented about the Oxbow Club and Ski Area that he has friends who worked there, one as a caretaker and one as a tow rope operator. The caretaker used to have sledding parties but nobody ever made it to the bottom. HLM(Moonbeam) wants to know when Echo Valley opened. We’d like to know, too. Bill Hickley commented that he used to walk up to Diggins Hill Park to use the two rope tows. He also used the skiting rink and remembers the small warming shack. Jozlyin Vallade wants to know is she can bring a tent and camp in the woods at Mio Mtn? Bill Worden commented on Black Mtn That he grew up in Cadillac 46-63 and had cousins named Rauch in Cheboygan. They were all ski racers and often raced at Black Mtn.
Susan Allen commented on our Sheridan Valley page that she learned to ski there in the 50s. Her family owned a lodge on West Twin Lake. Chris Dixon and Peter Morley commented to each other on the Skyline page that they remember each other from 75. Chris said he skied with Perer’s brother Mark and that now he skis weekly in New England. Carolyn Nye Boyd said she posted pictures from Skyline from 40-90 on the Skyline page on Facebook. Tracy Lane commented to Paul on the Mt. Maria page that she learned to ski there when he was on ski patrol.
On our Lansing Ski Club page, Win Stebbins commented about ski shops in the Lansing area: Larabee’s, Sportsmeister, Freestyle Sports in Okemos, just east of Coral Gables. Sportsmeister also ran rentals at LSC for the last few years. The LSC property is now “The Greens” with entry of Park Lake Rd. Eric Harder and Gregg Park also commented on the ski shops.
Joe Kolakowski said that from Fonro he remembers Chris Emig. Joe says he owned the Knot Hole Bar in the 70s and 80s. Candice Van Bolt said on our Fonro Page that she had an old business card from Art Suddon and other memorabilia. Tom Suddon replied to her that Art was his grandfather and he would like to purchase the business card. Kari replied to Danny of that page to ask him is he was related to Glenn and Frank from Comins?
Jay Balliet sent links to old Caberfae trail maps. Al Donnelly commented about Caberfae that he has a patch similar to our red one, but with a white “Caberfae”, brown stag head, and a black border. Bonnie Werth Stirler commented on Caberfae that she skied there in 61-63 when Franz Gabl was the ski pro there. He won the silver medal in the ’48 Olympic Downhill. She won lessons from him in a cribbage game. She remembers a private club there where they would have a few beers before they headed off to the bars in Cadillac.
Jason simply commented on our Royal Valley page, “Midnight Madness.” Fred Wark commented on the Mt. Mancelona page that there is a new owner as of last year who wants to re-open it in fall 2018. Mikey replied to Fred that there is a great deal of work to be done and don’t expect the slopes to open sooner than 2 or 3 years. However, they have been having a lot of fun fundraising activities, so check the MILSAP Facebook feed to keep up on what is going on there. Patrick Pung said on our Brady’s Hills page that he would like to acquire memorabilia from Brady’s. Christopher Van Eerden said that the hill at Middleville was used for mountain bike racing in the 90s. The clubhouse was renovated and they called it Retro Ranch.
Alan Larsen said his brother and he attended the summer jumping event at the Munising Ski Jump in 1960. It was the first time he had heard of jumping on plastic–common now. he has pictures of Gene Kotlarek jumping and of the jump itself. We’d love to see them, Alan. In 2014, we had a comment on our Franklin Hill page about an old ski jump visible from Nine Mile Road in Farmington Hills. Ed Grawronski commented on this jump that his father said it had been built by an Olympian. Derek Freund also commented on our Franklin Hill page that he remembers the ski jump from the 70s. It was on 9 Mile Rd. on the east side of Farmington or Southfield. His Dad told him it was built before 1918 by Henry Hall. He sent a link to a picture of the jump from the J. Willard Mariott Library at the University of Utah from the Alan K. Engen Photo Collection dated between 1920 and 1930. Another link is to livingstonpost.com (of the Flint Rd. jump in Brighton). David Arscott is looking for pictures of the Briar Hill ski jump in the early 50s. He said he broke his ankle on his third sump there.
Jim Jacques replied on our Milsap Updates page remembering Warren Miller who recently passed away.
Craig Condon mentioned that he started snowboarding at Mt. Grampian in 81. He thought that was very early for a resort to allow it. Patrick M. Griffin remembers the teen parties at Silverbell between 67 and 71, alcohol-free, featuring the Spencer Davis Group, Fleetwood Mac, Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger, The Rationals, The Unrelated Segments, and The Grass Roots Movement. He remembers one group, Popcorn Blizzard, who had an exceptional singer with a great range; he later recognized him as Meat Loaf. That would have been around the time Meat Loaf was recording for Motown. Jon David Wanner said that a family member, Frank Cabana, bought TNT in the early 80s with Dr. Ryan L. Schroeder. Ryan built an octagonal house there.
We hope you have been enjoying our site and want you to keep those stories, reminiscences, and messages coming to our blog and our Facebook page. If you have any pictures or documents to send us please do so via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Knox, Publisher
Michigan Lost Ski Areas Project