Sorry to have been so lax about posting, but it HAS been winter (at least most of the time), and I have been skiing, both in Michigan and back east in Vermont (where the winter hasn’t been too wintry either). As I finish writing this in the patrol room at a south east Michigan ski area, the wind is whistling and heavy snow is falling. Winter is back. We have received 72 new comments since our last update at the end of last year, including two new hints about new “lost” ski areas. I haven’t actually located the new areas, yet, but here’s the summary of the comments:
snofri commented on our Skiing History Resources page about the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming and about the 129th annual Ski Jumping Tourney which was just held at Suicide Hill. She also left several informative comments about the Kandahar Ski Club, including the information that they had ski jumping at the Pontiac Lakes location prior to the move to Fenton. She also left reminiscences on the Sheridan Valley page. Ellen asked how much it costs to ski down the running hill by Teal Lake at Al Quaal.
Cynthia Stewart left a Canadian skiers memories on the Dryden page and lamented the loss of the fabulous ski lodge. Another Canadian, Mark Clotier, remembersx skiing at Iroquois Mountain because the season passes were $35, a lot cheaper than Searchmont. He also remembers the blizzards blowing in from Lake Superior. Trish Ellis left good memories of Mt. Grampian. Daryl Turcott went to the Dryden site and posted a video on YouTube. (He also did Silverbell, Grampian, and Christie. Check his comment on the Dryden page for the link).
Dennis Penrod commented on the TimberLee Hills page about the White tractor they were loaned to demo as a groomer and returned in pieces after it rolled down the hill. Char Portega commented on the Snow Valley page that Indianhead also had a lodge at the top (actually not uncommon in parts of Michigan). He was replied to by Doug Leppart.
Jimmy commented that he has an old “body” board (backboard?) marked Royal Valley at the foot end, and would like more information about it. David Siekman said he would like to see a picture of it and Jimmy said he didn’t know how to post it. We told him to send it to us via the directions on the About MILSAP page. professorav (Karen Vocke) mentioned that there is a video of Echo Valley on the “Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook group from sometime in the early 1950’s (judging from the cars in the parking lot) which shows not only the ski jump, but also people holding skis and skiing down the hill. Clearly, there was downhill skiing. Not sure about a ski lift or tow, though.
Tor Brunvand commented that he skied the Stebbins’ backyard using the old, portable rope tow before it was moved to the Lansing Ski Club. Win Stebbins, son of Rolly, a founder of the LSC in ’48, chimed in to say he is writing a history of the club. If you comment on their page, he may contact you!
Michael Schrotenboer commented on the Carousel page that he worked there as cleanup and “chief dishwasher”. He also commented on the Firsts page that he has a couple of the first Snurfers. Bill Bonkowski replied asking him if he would sell one. Evan replied to Jeff Brosch about Carousel Mtn. that he was there last year and to Michael Samis that the frame of the lift is still there, too. Bill also commented on Firsts with a lot of good information about Hanson Hills dating back to 1921, the Hanson family, and Bear Mountain. He invited us to contact Hanson Hills for more information about their claim to be “first”.
Keith Pollock commented on Tyrolean Hills that his family owned parts of the area along with the Lipperts during the Pinnacles era, then bought it and renamed it Tyrolean Hills and expanded operations year-round. It was very successful, but they sold due to a family tragedy and he hated to see it deteriorate. Tim asked on the Tyrollean Hills page if any remembered Dugan. Katherine Doyle commented that she is the daughter of Eunice and Ron Chavey and recognized her mother’s picture on the Sylvan Knob page as a ski patrol candidate.
John says that he skied Thunder Mountain in the early 60’s as a local and preferred it to Nub’s, Boyne, and Walloon. Patricia J. Dunston also had season passes to Thunder in the 60’s. She says they used to jump when they got on the Poma and it would pull her 4 feet off the ground. She still lives in the area. Chad Portenga replied to Trucker Mack on the Thunder page that several hills in the Boyne area would be great ski hills if Everett Kircher hadn’t closed them, not just Avalanche Peak.Chad also commented on the Grand haven Ski Bowl page that the bowl is contained in the Mulligan’s Hollow recreation area.Pat Myers-Featherstone commented on the Barn Mountain page that Everett Kircher bought Avalanche Peak and re-named it Barn Mountain Then he found out that he didn’t own the lots with road access. He donated the property to Boyne City with the condition that it never be developed as a ski resort.
King Daniel His Royal Highness commented that he is the heir to the Kingdom of Schuss, living in exile in Bloomfield Hills. He posted lots of memories of Schuss. Lisa Draper replied to Scooter on the Schuss page that she’s still racing. Westin Howland replied to King Daniel HRH that he remembers the old king pinning a broken bone club pin on him when he was in the 8th grade. He also remembers the Spence Bock Racing Camp.
Victoria Kiefer commented on the Bloomer Ski Jump page that her father Bruce Kent Frank made many jumps at Bloomer with the Hill brothers and replied to Alison Suzanne White that she’s her cousin. cudagirl1 replied to Victoria, “Hello, cousin.” Susan Brown Johnson commented on the Bloomer SJ page that her dad set the record on the new slide in ’37 at the age of 21, and in ’39, he and Tessmer went off it side-by-side. She also commented on the Brighton SJ page that her dad was one of the Rochester Boys and jumped there many times. She also says she has a jumping trophy her dad won at Petoskey Winter Sports Park in the early ’20s (he must have been about 6 or 7 years old at the time, but that’s not impossible).
deb johnson asked Don Tyrrell on the Mt. Christie page when his father patrol there. Pete Bechard remembers the music scene at Silverbell Village. Bill D says he developed an appreciation for snow-covered hills at Jack Pine Valley–because the hills there were seldom snow-covered. Jan Althoff-Pas remembers the sound and feel of the blasting to blow up the hill at Kandahar.
Bob Sisco commented that Pando is closed this season after being bought by Cannonsburg. They say they will re-open it, so we’re not moving it to the “lost” list just yet.
Stephen Kinn speculated on the Teeple Hill page about the source of the name. Pam Sienkiewicz responded with information from the original plat maps, now located in the Historic Wisner Home in Pontiac, that the (lake) name started as “Steeple,” then morphed to “Teeples” and finally “Teeple.”
Dave says that he would like to see the Sugar Loaf area re-opened and that he would be willing to make an 8-10% stake. Todd agreed that he would like to see the Loaf run again. Clay McNitt has great memories of skiing at Briar Hill.
Sally Peters Nowak commented that her parents owned Timberline. Jason VanderHoff says his family owned the Ward hills property from ’87-’98 and renovated the cabin. Todd commented on the Hickory Hills page that his Grandma Katie used to run it. He never skied there and would like to know more. Bob says that he came up to ski at Royal Valley to fulfill a Notre Dame phys ed requirement. They skied there twice a week between January and March of ’79.Carrie promised to send a picture of Royal Valley. She says she has quite a few. David Siekman says he was a patroller at Royal Valley for about 13 years. His dad was the patrol director there and he has many fond memories of great times at the place.
Margo says she will gather some information for us about Bremer’s Ski Hill near Sutton’s Bay. She remembers that the dads helped with the operation of the tow and hill while the moms made hot chocolate in the old farmhouse.
Tim Carr says he skied Skyline in the ’90s and has a window sticker he would send to Gary Gariglio if he would like it. We says that he should send a picture if it to us, first. Lois Tucker-Wubbenhorst replied to Skier on the Skyline page that she skied from age 4 thru HS, her father was a part owner. She has many fond memories of the area. Martin Otberg commented on Briar Hill in reply to Jay Benda that he remembers jumping there and a trip to jump at Iron Mountain. Robert Mosford says his brother-in-lay’s father was one of the founders of Walloon. He says there is a Walloon patch on the wall of the Nub’s Nob patrol room and he will send us a picture. Don posted a link to a map of ski areas from the Detroit Free Press from 11/03/1961 on the MILSAP Update page.
Now the BIG NEWS: we have heard of TWO new lost areas (NO, not current areas that are suffering from the lack of snow and traffic this season–real old time areas). The first is Ford Mountain near Berrian Springs, passed on by Kathy. She says it may have operated in the late teens or early ’20s (that’s 100 years ago!) The other is Mad Cap near Cadillac, passed on by Bob Sisco. he says it was M115, 5 miles east of M131. If you have ever heard of these areas or know anything about ski operations there, please let us know.
Please keep those comments coming to our blog and check out our Facebook page. We love to hear more about the old days (and modern days) of skiing in Michigan. And enjoy the rest of this Michigan winter (be careful driving in this snow that’s falling today), try to patronize Michigan ski areas, and THINK MORE MICHIGAN SNOW!
Bob Knox, Publisher
Michigan Lost Ski Areas Project