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.
Well, it’s March, and after a great winter, many Michigan ski areas are starting to close for the season. If you look around, you will still find areas open for a couple more weeks and some great end-of-season parties. We have received 40 comments(!) since I last summarized a month ago; 20 from Bob Sisco alone, who has shared with us links to many pictures of lost areas, some taken this winter and some from the past.
Candy and Denise both posted comments about the current state of Fonro, with Denise saying that they have made some improvements to the appearance of the old Emig property. Kevin Meade says his family used to own Sylvan Knob and the family still skis, but its not the same as in the old days. John Alexander left a couple comments about Gay-El-Rancho. He was Head Wrangler there in ’85, where he met his future wife and many life-long friends and had a great summer.
As I mentioned, frequent contributor Bob Sisco left comments on many pages with links to pictures of lost areas. He commented on and left picture of Grand Valley State College’s ski hill, Mont Ripley’s T-bar, Sugar Loaf’s frontside and backside (with lost Hall chairlift), the Newago Winter Sports Park (where the hill is now open for sledding) and the remains of the old concrete toboggan chutes can be seen, Swiss Valley and Little Switzerland (he liked the story about Joe Montana), Mt. Mancelona (pictures from ’08/’09), Skyline (pictures of the chair and the lodge from ’09), and Mott Mountain (he wants to know what the big building at the bottom of the hill is). Thanks for all the work, Bob. And yes, you can get the links to the pictures to work if you remove the extraneous html tags.
Larry Dunn remembers skiing at Royal Valley in the ’70s and ’80s. Lance Climie took a ski class at GVSC and worked at the lodge from ’75 through ’77. He says it was very busy in the winter. Kevin J. Anderson also worked there in ’81 and ’82. John Wyma said he skied and tobogganed at GVSC many times. Nick says his friend Cathy used to ski at the Lansing Ski Club. Paul Price used to be on the ski patrol at Mt. Maria while he was in the USCG in ’83 and ’84. He says it was a nice place with nice people.
Gary Whitfield left a comment on our About MILSAP page asking if anyone inquires about the Big M Ski Area. I directed him to our Big M page. Mike also commented on our About MILSAP page with reminiscences of skiing at Teeple Hill in ’59-’60. I copied his comment to the Teeple Hill page. He also commented about Goeff Smith being the mogul master at Alpine Valley in the ’60s. I moved that comment to the AV page.
Bethany Draves Rutberg has fond memories of Kandahar and was devastated when she learned it was closing. Tracy Sanders remembers that his parents worked at Mt. Grampian from ’70-’73. Then they moved to Alaska where he now works as a commercial fisherman. Linda Murray Crowell says her mom, Rosie Murray, worked at Pine Knob from ’64 until ’86, starting as a bookkeeper and ending as office manager for the Locricchio family. Linda learned to ski from Dave Freeman in ’63, and says her dad started the OLD Farts Club at PK.
Last, but definitely not least, Bill Behse posted a comment with LOTS of history about the beginnings of Thunder Mountain, where his parents, Joe and Donna Behse, were the original developers in ’55-’56, along with Dee Adgate. They sold their interest to Dee in 1960. You have to read this comment if you are interested in the history of Thunder Mountain. John D Shepherd, current owner of the property, thanked Bill for the information. He also tried to post a link to pictures or video of his kids and grandkids boarding at the hill last month, but I can’t get it to work, can you?
Please keep those comments coming. This is how we keep the history of Michigan skiing alive. And, while you’re at it, get out there and enjoy some fabulous spring skiing and go to those spring carnivals at a Michigan ski area. Michigan had a great winter (unlike many states in the west) and we need to keep those Michigan ski areas from becoming lost.
Publisher, Michigan Lost Ski Areas Project