MILSAP Updates, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!! Say hello to snow. It’s already snowing in parts of the state and much of Michigan is slated to receive at least a dusting this evening. We have had seventeen new comments since our post last month and we have heard about a new lost ski area.

John Stevens informed us that K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, near Marquette, had a ski hill just outside one of the back gates complete with a rope tow. It was used primarily by children living on the base. John thinks he has pictures and we would live him to share them with us. He would also like our help finding the name of the nine-hole golf course that was across from the Iron Mountain ski jump. Derek also confirmed with township authorities, that the Covington Township Ski Hill does still have a rope tow.

Reba M. (really!) reports that the new owner of Mt. Maria has no plans to open the ski areas. He is a disabled veteran who plans to live on the property. Right now he needs some help with the plumbing and electrical, so if you would like to help him out, go knock on the door of the lodge. Gary Chomiak said his parents, Jerry and Hazel, used to own Snow Valley in 1960. They helped build the “new” lodge. he has an ad from the Otsego Co. Chamber of Commerce telling of seven ski resorts within 20 miles of Gaylord. He remembers wearing the area patch on his junior ski patrol uniform.

Mike Wasnock tells about an encounter at Fonro with the men in the black suits. He also says there was a fire at the lodge years ago, but he was just back there and it is still standing. Candice Van Nort asked that very question, so we are pleased to let her know that the Fonro lodge is still standing.

Wendy S from Treetops would like to talk to Jack Daunt about the old days of patrolling at Sylvan. Doug Thomas commented on Elberta Mountain that he has been trying to find the steel structures from the jump and the lift. If you can help him out, please send a post.

Dale Lee says he patrolled at Mt Maria in ’81. He later moved to Texas but retired to Livonia and now has a lake house at Hubbard Lake. He would really like to see Mt. Maria open again, because there is no place else to ski in the north-east of the LP.

Denny says he misses the Kandahar Ski Club. Jeff Brosch remembers that Timber Lee Hills faced the sun in the afternoon, so the slopes would soften and then glaze over at night. One night, he heard the sno-cat sliding down the hill, crashing into the trees on a slide to the bottom. Jeff’s family owned Mt. Holiday from ’85 to 2002. In ’85, they bought the chair from Carousel Mountain and installed it as the main lift at Holiday, where it stands to this day. When they got it, it was not in great shape, but all the seats were painted different colors (like a carousel?). He heard that Carousel’s problem was sand blowing over the hill from the dunes making the snow very abrasive. This likely happened on years when the natural snow cover was thin and did not seal the sand down.

Lynda Toussaint remembers the Bloomer Ski Jump and says her father, Allison Toussaint, and her uncle, mason Toussaint used to jump there. Rebecca Yount remembers a tall, thin, elegant man skiing at Briar Hill. Roger Shoemaker notes that Al Almon opened Ski Village in Waters in the early 1950’s and later opened Mt. Frederic in Frederic in 1960. He says Mt. Frederic had 3 T-bars and 4 rope tows.

Please keep those comments coming and try to get out to explore some of our old, lost ski areas and enjoy the sliding at some of our still operating areas, where the skiing is better than ever. If you have any pictures, patches, brochures, lift tickets, etc. from any of our old Michigan ski areas, please see the directions on the About MILSAP page to send them along to us.


We are a clearinghouse for information about retired ski areas in Michigan
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One Response to MILSAP Updates, October 31, 2014

  1. Don B says:

    Canadian Lakes Resort ( in the Mecosta area used to operate a 3-tow rope ski operation. Since my family had a cottage at the resort, this is where I learned to ski in the 1970’s along with my siblings! I believe it was officially called “Castle Mountain”, due to the resort’s Castle on top, though nobody locally ever referred to it as that. There was “the big hill”, two “little hills”, and “the trail”. Daily lift tickets for members were $4 back then as I recall. I believe they stopped the skiing operation sometime in the 80’s (insurance costs??), though the ski resort area is still undeveloped and could feasibly be reopened. I believe this deserves its own entry as I am sure many others will remember this “lost” Michigan ski destination!

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