About MILSAP

MILSAP, the Michigan Lost Ski Areas Project is intended to be patterned after NELSAP, the New England Lost Ski Areas Project. NELSAP was formed around 1998 to memorialize the ski areas in New England that were no longer serving the skiing public. Over the years, they have identified almost 700 areas in New England and nearby states. For some, they just have the name, for others the location and dates of operation. For a few, they have detailed information including trail maps, brochures, press clippings, personal reminiscences, etc.

We have organized the Michigan areas by: Jumping Hills, Ski Regions (for lost areas) and Current Areas (for the history of ski areas that are still open). You can find these links on the drop-down menus at the bottom of our header. You can also see the complete list of our area pages at the bottom of the right-hand pane on each of our pages. If your android device works like mine, you will do better to use the page links at the right.

We would like to accumulate as much information as possible about former ski areas in Michigan, We especially wish to establish exact location, dates of operation, lift configuration, vertical, and number of trails. If we can get pictures or movies taken while the area was operating, or brochures or trail maps, that would be a real bonus. If we can get information, pictures, etc. documenting what happened to the area after it closed, so much the better.

You are most welcome to post information, speculation, or reminiscences on our pages. If you post something related to a specific ski area, it will get seen by more people who are interested in that area if you post it on the page devoted to the area. If you post it on this page, or our home page, or one of the regional pages, most people will not see it.

If you have items in digital form, you can send them to milsap@comcast.net. If you have hard-copy items you cannot digitize, please email me and I will get you my snail mail address. You can send copies or, if you send originals and so request, I will copy them and return the originals.

For a little more information about MILSAP, listen to our interview on Interlochen Public Radio on January 6, 2012. The interview was taped on the afternoon of January 5. At the time it was airing on Friday morning, I was busy fracturing my collarbone in a ski accident. Should have stayed inside to do the interview live.

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31 Responses to About MILSAP

  1. Marc Cassidy says:

    Hello,

    I Grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in Northern Michigan. My family skied at Sheridan Valley near Lewiston every weekend. The Ski area is now a sportmans club. Do you have any pictures of Sheridan Valley?

    • MILSAP says:

      You should check out our page on Sheridan Valley, but no, we do not yet have pictures of Sheridan Valley when it was operating as a ski area. Do you? If so, we’d love to have copies of them. See the information on the About MILSAP page (above) to send them to us.

  2. Steve Hertler says:

    Regarding the bald mountain ski area in Lake Orion. While I never skied there, and don’t know positively where this was located, I do remember seeing what was explained to me the old ski area, along with what appeared to be the old lift equipment. It was actually located just north of the Palace of Auburn Hills, on the east side of Lapeer Rd. The area now is a business park, and most of the hill has been leveled by earth movers. However, as one is driving North on Lapeer rd., passing the Palace, Lapeer Rd. climbs up a hill. I believe that this was where the top of Bald Mountain ski area was.

  3. geoff smith says:

    Bald Mountain was the highest spot on the drive north on M24 from Pontiac to Lapeer. It was not a ski area, but rather the highest spot in the region until it was sacrificed to become a gravel pit.

    • Jeff Kurn says:

      Geoff; Did you know a racer Tom Gratsch. I think you were a ski coach and I was one of your students. Or, you were in the ski business? I know your name. Jeff Kurn

    • Mike says:

      Geoff, weren’t you the master of the mogul hill at Alpine during the 60s?

  4. carl hill says:

    Check out my post on Mt Joy in Wakefield, MI

  5. Mike Kenny says:

    I have not found any info on yourwhistlers website about Apple Mountain which is in operation today. It is located in Freeland MI.

    • MILSAP says:

      Good point, Mike. I have not yet created a page for Apple Mtn. I haven’t found much historical info about them, such as what year they opened, when they installed their first chairlift, etc. I’ll have to rectify that.

  6. roc roney says:

    Vernier Hill
    From the late 1960s to mid 70s we skied on the east side of the N slope of Vernier Hill and sledded on the west side. It was actually a mound, elevation less than 50+ feet above the street and reportedly formed from soils removed while excavating a stretch of I-94 along Harper Road a few miles to the west. It loomed above the distinctive but not so celebrated Vernier School designed by Albert Kahn in 1915 along with the Village offices just to the east (http://www.gphistorical.org/league03.html). By the 60s the school building was used for storage and as a polling place and was razed during the 1980s. The school and adjacent road was named for the the Vernier Family, original french settlers and “Strip Farmers” of the property. The land continues to be used for municipal purposes and is located at the corner of Vernier Road and Lake Shore Drive in the city of the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores, Wayne County, Mi.

    Back then Stan Vernier and his wife Marge still lived in the family farm house right next to the village building. Stan worked for the Village. He and his crew maintained the streets, parks and harbor improvements. They did it all, from weekly refuse pick up (in 3 wheeled scooters) to regular street washing during the peak of fish fly season. When snow fell they plowed the streets and swept the sidewalks clean. Upon request they would clear ice rinks on Lake St. Clair for us. They also started up the rope tow on the hill, while we would trip and replug in the tether ourselves. I recall them making snow using the two below-grade water connections located on the N slope. These guys were my heroes.

    The big kids taught me to ski on Vernier Hill. Later, during the freestyle boom they built jumps and perfected their back scratchers and daffys. Even the sledders had their thrills. Like most good sled slopes, Vernier Hill featured a few trees within the run out where I saw stars on more than one occasion.

    I assume that it was a sign of the times and by advice of attorneys and insurance auditors that forced the Village to mitigate the risk associated with Vernier Hill. Rope tow service was discontinued in the 70s and sometime in the 80s the top 1/3 or so of the mound was excavated leaving a less than thrilling sledding incline barely discernible from the lawn mower tracks on Google Earth.

  7. Joe La Rue says:

    RE: Vernier Hill: We broke in new skis there around 1963? ’64? Yes, there was a simple tow rope off to the east side of the hill, and usually a City employee keeping all well in a shack at the top (before the rope plug was tethered). There was usually one or two small mounds built up near the bottom, giving kids their first taste of air. I remember a snow gun in operation, too. Grosse Pointe is still a great place to live but I wish my kids had the opportunity to know it as I knew it.

  8. Robert Guzman says:

    Re: Demise of Teeple Hill: My dad being a former president of the Pontiac Ski Club, I previously attributed its lack of snow to overdevelopment of the surrounding countryside. This view was rejected by a commentator and I would in turn like to reject his take.

    Over the 20+ years I skied there, snow cove vanished in proportion to the highways, subdivisions and shopping malls that mushroomed everywhere in the Waterford, White Lake and Highland areas.

    When we first began skiing Teeple, there was just a two-lane highway out there, through totally empty farmland and a few houses on White and Pontiac Lakes, plus the Pontiac airport. Then came Alpine Valley, then came, then came, then came.

    If people think there is no connection, let them come to where I am writing this from, which is the island of Sumatera in Indonesia. Though 63, I am still a fanatical bicyclist, and have just completed a 1,000 kilometer tour of the island.

    The north of Sumatera is virgin rainforest still, filled with orangutangs and wild gibbons. Nights in the highlands require blankets, even though within 100 miles of the equator. The native Batak population, animist and Christian or Catholic now, numbers 7 million – more than Norway or Finland, and do a fairly good job of preserving the countryside.

    Though the central government has consigned most of the tropical forest to the paper industry, much of the area has been replanted with pines, and also much of the original forest is still intact.

    But south of the city of Padang, the story is quite different. Removal of the forest cover by slash and burn, to allow farming, palm oil and rubber tree plantations are producing unimaginable devastation. Land developers bulldoze huge tracts of jungle, then wait for buyers to bite. Meanwhile, millions of acres of topsoil are lost to erosion.

    The breathtaking natural beauty of the north gives way to some of the most hideous countryside in Asia, largely to finance the large families that the Muslim inhabitants favor. Rainfall is now lower and desertification is proceeding rapidly.

    It’s no different than what’s happened to north Oakland County.

    • Mike says:

      I will never forget my first time skiing at Teeple Hill in approximately the winter of 1959-60. I had new skis from Christmas, bear trap bindings of course, and the exhilaration I experienced that day is hard to overstate. Robert, I, too, like to bicycle, having put at least 20,000 miles on the Assenmacher tandem I enjoy with my wife. I suspect that the lack of reliable snowfall in Michigan is caused by things other than overdevelopment. I relocated to the country near a small town in mid-Michigan and found much less reliable snow and ice than in the 60s, even though our area stayed relatively underdeveloped.

  9. Steve Tongue says:

    Hello – Here is a tip on a possible “lost ski area”. Growing up in East Grand Rapids we used to sled on a hill in an undeveloped area the locals called “Ravenswood” along Lake Drive which is owned by Calvin College. Buried in the bushes back then (in the 70’s) was some old ski rope tow equipment. Not sure if it is still there. Calvin has developed the surrounding area with sports fields. If you look at this map – http://www.calvin.edu/map/ – you can locate the hill. Find the “Ravenswood Guest House”. You’ll see two connected ponds (along Lake Drive) to the left of the Guest House. The hill is the “peninsula” between the two ponds. Steve Tongue, Traverse City

  10. kapollock says:

    I just posted on the Tyrolean Hills, Gaylord, Mi page. My family was associated with the property as the Pinnacles ( we owned the Ski Shop ) and the purchased the property in the late 60’s to rebrand it as, “Tyrolean Hills Resort”. I grew up in the Gaylord area and skied on the Gaylord Ski Team – 1971-1976 with other prominent ski industry families in Northern MI. If you need anything from those days, I have it 🙂

  11. Tater says:

    I know that MILSAP is for Michigan ski areas but there are four “lost ski areas” in Indiana and I doubt there were ever enough Indiana ski areas that would warrant an INLSAP. Any chance you could add “Northern Indiana” as a Ski Region? I wouldn’t want these “lost areas” to feel abandoned as well.

    Here are four that I remember:
    -Ski Valley near LaPorte, mentioned in the Royal Valley thread
    -Bendix Woods County Park just west of South Bend on the old Studebaker proving grounds
    -The Pines in Valparaiso, a very popular and busy area in the 70s
    -Mount Wawasee outside Goshen

  12. John Stevens says:

    Two items, first, I see you do not have the K.I. Sawyer AFB ski hill listed. It was out one of the back gates and had a rope tow. It was not that big but it was popular with the kids from the base. I may have a photo of the hill, if so I will send it to you. Now the real question, across the road from the Iron Mountain jump there used to be a nine hole golf course, does anyone happen to know the name of that course.

  13. How about a poster of the “Lost Ski Areas”? I would buy one!

  14. Gary Whitfield says:

    Have you had anyone ask about the Big M Ski Area outside of Mainistee? I skied there as a kid with the family and I think I have a photo or two of the area.

  15. The summer of 1966 a couple of friends and I rode from Lansing to Cadillac on our motorcycles. We rode west of Cadillac and came across a large abandoned ski jump. The jump had trees growing up through it. It seemed to be at caberfae. I’ve looked for photos and people who remember it to no avail. While making a delivery to caberfae in the 90’s I quizzed a few older worker’s there. No one knew anything about it.
    Pat Hanlon

  16. Brian says:

    Hey! Love the site. Good stuff. I live across the street from what used to be Thunder Mountain. Some of the older residents (used to be on ski patrol at Thunder back in the day) passed on to us an old trail map and an old brochure. If you wanted I could snap a photo of these and send them on to you so they can be added to the gallery.

  17. ne says:

    hi,
    I was curious about information on the old Black Mountain ski resort just southeast of Cheboygan, Mi. So, I googled it and found your milsap site. I clicked on your given URL but it doesn’t work. I gather either the “.gov” took it down or its just a bad URL.

    if you have any info, please let me know. thanks!

    ne
    mac city

  18. Terry Edwards says:

    I recall skiing on a golf course at Northwestern Hwy and 15 mile rd I think. The Shari Zedic Jewish temple is there now. There was night skiing and a couple of rope tows I believe. This was in the late ’40,s. I skied annually until at age 87 a couple of torn miniscus in a well used knee forced me to give up the sport I loved after 70 great years on the slopes both in Michigan and in the mountains of the west. I have a box of memorabilia to send to you soon.

  19. Anthony Grudnoski says:

    Mount Kimberly near Lake Gogebic was one of the first ski hills in Gogebic County. It was sponsored by Marenisco Township. It ran sometime in the late 50’s.
    atgrudnoski@chartermi.net.

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