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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It’s been way too long since I posted a summary of your comments back at Halloween and here it is past the 4th already. All I can say is I was busy skiing during ski season which lasted a long time, and I have had some family health problems to attend to this spring. That hasn’t stopped our followers, we have had 107 posts in the past 8 months!
James replied to Keith on the Tyrollean Hills page that he remembers the cool, new Poma and hitting golf balls into the lake in the summer. Agnarchy posted a short history of Mt. Mancelona. Bob Sisco posted that he finally skied Otsego on 2/19/19. He thought it was not real challenging, but it was fun and had character. He liked seeing the lifts from the short-lived Miner Denver Company, but lift 4 was not running. The lattice tower and lift pole at the entrance says it is a M-D but it is really a Telecar and was installed about the same time as nub’s first chair in ’59. Gene Pomalgalski (Mr. Poma) was on hand for the christening. Otsego was the area that started skiing in Gaylord. However, skilifts.org says the telecars were installed in ’65 and ’66.
Frank Presti, Jr. replied to Gary Chomiak on the Snow Valley page that he remembers working summers at the resort. Robert Mogford replied to Gennie Morgan on the Griswold Mtn. page that the guy who now owns the property is the founder of the Monster Energy drink company. He has been trying for years to put in a motocross and dirt bike track. Marc Cassidy replied to Rick on the Sheridan Valley page that the best memories of his life are those weekends at SV. The kid Rick is trying to remember is Tommy Takash. He tells Rick to look him up on LinkedIn.
Dave Martin says his grandparents, Hans and Ida Boehme managed the Greenbush Inn from from its earliest days. He remembers swimming in the pool every summer. His mother, Shirley Martin, succeeded her father as Greenbush’s Postmaster. Themastercylinder posted that he found an article in the Alcona County Review, 7/25/68, about the centennial of Greenbush that had a history of the Greenbush Inn and a picture of the “Carlsburg” toboggan slide. He also said he worked one summer with Sy Goebel putting in a trampoline where the pool had been. He said there was also a mini golf course. Ken Goebel replied to themastercylinder that he spent a lot of time in that pool in the ’60s. His father’s cousin, Si (Seaborn) Goebel bought the land after the inn burned and turned it into an amusement venue. He passed in ’93.
Keith C Lay complained about MILSAP on the Sylvan Knob page that he doesn’t like cookies. Sorry, Keith, they’re put there by our host, WordPress. Bill Courtright replied to Mys Schaefer on the Firsts page that he helped build the chairlift towers at LCS and started and instructed for the Michigan Association of Blink Skiers. He is looking for Roy to confirm that this was the world’s first association for blind skiers.
Roxanna Stewart says she remembers Ward Hills and Camp Martin Johnson, she skied and worked there from ’52 until it closed. She cleaned tables, taught skiing and patrolled. She says she’s trying to post a ’77 picture of her and her friend, Judith, from the top of Hill 4. Dave Norris replied to Stephen that he would live to see some pictures of Ward Hills. He publishes Big Bass Lake and Beyond. Stephen Reese says he lived in one of the cabins at Ward Hills until he was 4. His grandparents owned 300 acres including the ski area. Grandpa (Paul Howard Reese) installed the tows. He opened it in the mid-’50s and sold it in ’70 for $40,000. He believes his great grandfather, George Painter, owned the land before grandpa Reese.
Scott says he skied the first time at Mt. Maria in ’72 with his scout troop. He is now a 9-year ski instructor at jay Peak, VT. Joan replied to Lori about Mt. Maria that she went to Hicks Elementary–such fun memories. Scott M says he was stationed at Wurtsmith in the early ’90s and learned to ski at Mt. Maria. He met some great people there.
Galen Walter commented about Big M that the Prices would build wooden ramps at lower Vista to ski jump for the 4:30 schuss. His mom and dad had the ski shop from ’56-’72. The patrol room was at the other end of the lodge and he would nap on the cots. The ropes were so fast that they put blue rosin rocks at the bottoms to help you grip. He’s still riding ropes at Hansen Hills. And to (Bill Jennings) he still has the Spaulding Siderals. tom replied to Guy that he has great memories of Big M. He remembers the runs (but not their names), throwing real logs on the fire upstairs and the wax machine outside. Greg Heinzelman says his family often skied Big M in the ’60s. They stayed in a friend’s cabin in Wellston or a pickup camper in the parking lot. He also remembers the cool ski jackets of the ski patrol when he was hauled into the lodge on a toboggan after he caught a root on a shortcut between Vista and Oh Me. William! says the Manistee brochure matched well with Google Maps.
Patti Baillet commented that her parents, Al and Flo bought into Fonro around ’70. The pet deer was “Butter Nose.” She loved snowmobiling on the airstrip. Tris replied to Patti that she has great memories of being on the patrol at Fonro in the ’60s. Jackie Schreur says her husband Jim and Bob Fosdick were ski instructors there when Jerry Fairbanks was the owner.
tkk2hotmail.com posted that he has many good memories of skiing at Brady’s Hills from ’74 until it closed. Denise says she used to go to Brady’s with her dad when he went deer hunting. She skied there when it was Brady’s and also Winterskol. Fred Quick commented that hiws grandma was a cook at Brady’s. They lived 1/4 mile away. Hie and his cousin would play in the snow and listen to the music from the ski area. He learned to ski there before it closed. Fred Stephen Wark is wondering what is going on at Mt. Mancelona, he was there and wondered it it was open. He should check them out on Facebook to keep up on their events. Mikey from Mount Mancelona replied to Fred that they are open to hiking with permission.
Bill Behse commented on the Thunder Mountain page that in the late ’50s, Stein Eriksen did a couple of flips off the dip in front of the lodge. He says he has 8mm of it, but can’t locate it. Susie Miller says her family also weekended at Thunder. She remembers in 1960 at age 6 she skied the 1st time down the big dip. She also remembers getting her braids tangled in the rope. greymouser70 replied to Bill Behse that the Thunder weasel was still olive drab in ’59 (he was 11 then). Gilbert K Arnold remembers Bill lived in Charlevoix and his parents had a Nash Metropolitan convertible. He says the Thunder Mtn. weasel was nicknamed the “Dirty Bird.” Dan replied to Kirk on the Thunder Mtn. page that he remembers the pool party he had for the ski patrol. Frank Bodenmiller threw your cat in the pool. He says he has hundreds of pictures from Thunder. He wants to know if Kirk’s pass is good at A Basin to ski with him. Kirk said that his dad, Blaine Johnson, was on the patrol and he learned to ski at Thunder. He is now an adaptive ski instructor at Winter Park.
Susan posted about Circle TNT that the Black River was the water source for their snowmaking. She also posted that TNT stood for Tom and Toots, the main owners. She says she was a part owner in the ’70s. The main hill ended at the Black River. Marilyn Turner from Channel 7 used to call for snow reports. The area hosed motorcycle races in the summer. Sadly, the sun shone brightly on the slopes and often melted the snow they made.
john phillips posted on the Lansing Ski Club page in reply to Steve that he was on the ELHS ski team in ’69 (first year). He remembers the jumps in the woods where the lights didn’t reach. He moved to Aspen in ’70 and opened a pizza place with his experience at Domino’s. John says he skied LCS in the ’50s when a season pass cost $10. Win Stebbins replied to John that LCS ran from ’48 until “84 or ’86. His dad, Rollie Stebbins, bought the Renz farm property in ’48 with about 20 other area skiers. They developed lots on Dawn Ave and sold them to pay Rollie off. originally, they used their cars to warm up in, until Claude Chamberlain designed and built the 1-room warming hut. MNB foreclosed in ’84-’86 and the property is now The Greens at Walnut Hills. Pete B remembers LSC well, he learned to ski there. Steve Rosewarne also remembers growing up at LCS. Mark d replied to Dave Tschirhart that he thinks they went to ELHS together. Mya Schaefer commented that her dad, Roy, built the hills at LCS with a yellow bulldozer. They left LCS in ’76/’77 for western Massachusetts where they took over Berkshire East ski area. They still own and operate it along with Catamount. Chad replied to Mike asking if he knew his dad, Dave McCuen at LCS.
Kevin Alman says he learned to ski at Mt. Grampian in ’75-’76 with Kingsbury school, every Friday (the school now skis at Mt. Holly). He has great memories, but stopped skiing in ’90. He started again in’14 skiing at Brighton (they live in Howell) but would like to meet up with other Kingsbury alumni for a beer. Scott Guthrie remembers skiing at Grampian in the ’60s. His dad jumped there. Geoff Smith thanked Cathy Gosenca on the Mt. Holly page for reminding him that Mort Graddis started Mt. Holly. Bill Van Cleve has great memories of ’84-’89 with his daughter learning to ski at Kandahar from the age of 3 1/2,
Ted Reilly replied to Dean of the Riverview Highlands page with a Youtube link to news and a 20/20 story about the landfill/ski hill. Rodney Grover says his family all called Mott Mountain home. His grandparents built a cobin on Lake 13 and bought season passes for the family from 78-82. He says they still ski as a family. Marko Reich replied to Karl that he thinks he skied with him at Mott and graduated with him from Farwell. He says he got his first case of frostbite at Mott. Jeff Novak commented that Bald Eagle was definitely closed by ’72. he remembers sledding and riding motorcycles there, also the old rope towers and the old ski building, like a hanger.
brian wants to know the name of the small ski hill just west of Marquette on 41. He remembers only a rope or T-bar. I think he is referring to Al Quaal, how about you? j. collingham remarked on the patched and Pins page that he has heard Mt. Bohemia has stopped issuing patches to control their brand. Anybody got one? Geoff Smith remembered Greg Schwartz and other great Michigan ski racers on the Iroquois Mountain page. Jon Carlisle replied to Geoff that he agrees Greg was a fine skier and racer; smooth, fast, and controlled. Norm Abbott posted on the Iroquois Mtn. page that he attended MTU, Sault Branch and raced at Iroquois Mike Butt from Sault, ON in ’60. AT commented on that he learned to ski at Munising’s Maple Mountain, a very tough hill. He remembers the “rohax” with a wooden ramp where the older kids would do back flips. These days you wouldn’t know the area was there.
Philip LaCombe asked if Kirlin Hill was where Marquette Mtn. is now. We replied that the best information puts Kirlin Hill at Mt. Mesnard based on the 1951 Master Plan for the city of Marquette. Philip replied that he has a program from the 2nd annual ski jumping tournament at Kirlin Hill with a list of jumpers and sponsors. We would like to see it and also know the date.
Karl DeBaker commented that he used to ski Mott Mountain ’75-’78. RWL11 says he used to race BMX at Mt. Grampian in 1980. Rex Phillips replied to Jeff to thank him for the information on the lodge at Bald Eagle. He said his family owned Herring Bone Ridge in the ’60s and he still has a bobsled with steerable skis up front and a break bar underneath. He’ll sell, contact him for pictures.
Mark Kimmerly is still looking for pictures of Silverbell Village. Bob Fischer sent a link to a vintage aerial photo of Silverbell. Bill Monroe left a post on the Kandahar page with directions on how to find the old ski trails and a rope tow pole in Pontiac Lake Park.
James Teeple asked a question about the name Teeple Hill. P Sienkiewicz replies that county historical society records show Edsel Ford purchased the land from Jacob Steeple. Over the years, maps showed J. Steeple, then Steeple Lake, and finally Teeple Lake. Back in January, he reported that there was a lot of snow today! He also invited people to the annual Rosebud Reveal celebration at Haven Hill (Teeple Hill) in the Highland Recreation Area, sorry it was in mid-May. Joann McCracken commented that in the late ’40s, her dad would take her and her friends to Teeple Hill for horseback riding. Mark Alken says Teeple was the first place he ever skied (’72). 47 years later he is still skiing 50-100 days a year. He remembers the quonset hut, the ropes, the sack lunches, and thermoses of hot chocolate.
Eric J. Peterson replied to David that Eric’s dad was on the ski patrol at Royal Valley. He learned to ski there and has great memories of the great lodge. Dave Siekman replied to Eric Peterson on the Royal Valley page that he has memories of Pierre instructing there. he replied to Kitty that he would love to see some of the group once again. Ethan says the slope names at Royal Valley (according to his family) were: Bunny Hill, Jester’s Bowl, Wedeler, Quicksilver, Timberline Trail, Challenger, and King’s Dive. his favorite Xmas present ever was a pair of skis to use at Royal Valley. His mother worked there and taught the kids to ski. He remembers the owners’ St. Bernard stealing sandwiches.
Rick Popiolek posted on the Briar Hill page that he has a 16mm converted to video of the Toledo Ski Club jumping at Briar Hill, skiing at Nub’s, Crystal, in New York, canoe trip on the Ausable, and of the TSC lodge at Boyne burning. Robert W. Rulison says he was a kid (12?) when the tow rope went in at Bahle Park. The local kids used it to ski is the weather was too bad (to go to Sugar Loaf?) but if there weren’t a lot of people, they used it for sledding. He says he learned to ski at Sugar Loaf at age 6 in ’71. He skied there until ’84 when they moved away. It stayed open 15 more years. Cindy Watkins commented on our Birch Hills page that you can see the remains of the trails coming northbound on old 131 at the top of the hill coming into Paris. She says to look northeast at 1-2 o’clock.
Jesse Ruiz commented that they just bought a home at Tyrollean Hills. David Tubbs replied to Jesse that the lake is Lake 19. He says he has some pictures from the ’70s and will forward them. Susan Genovesi replied to David that she thinks Jesse’s family bought Jack Nelson’s place. Keith Pollock replied to David that he is the son of the owners from ’68 to ’74 and it is a shame that it has deteriorated.
Gustave Walter Rayl commented on the Snow Bowl page that he has fond memories of grade school friends on ski nights skiing the Barney Lake run and the two long ropes back up. Michelle replied to Tammi Day (Hengy) that she would like to see photos of Snow Bowl. Michael says he would like to see the photos, too.
Chris commented on the Kalamazoo Ski Club that he played in the woods with the kids who lived there after it closed. Nobody he knows remembers it in operation. Amanda Miller asked if the the abandoned lodge off Ave. du Chalet is Mont Gabriel? We replied that we think so.
Whew, that took way too long (6 weeks to write up these comments). I’ll have to be more timely in the future. I still have to look through the comments to add those that have arrived in the past month while I’ve been writing this. Then I’ll have to write another to summarize the comments made on our Facebook page and received by email. 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