On Fri., Jan. 25, 1952, The Ludington Daily News winter sports report listed Hickory Hills near Traverse City as having 8″-12″ of new snow on top of a 4″-0″ base with excellent ski conditions. They added that 5 tows were operating.
Hickory Hills is listed in a Consumers Power brochure of top ski areas in the northern lower peninsula dating from around 1959. It was located 1 mile west of Traverse City and had 8 runs and 8 tows. It offered night skiing, instruction and snacks on premises.
Hickory Hills is apparently still in operation. Run by Traverse City, it reportedly now has 5 rope tows, snowmaking and night skiing. The Midwest Ski Areas Association lists it with 8 slopes, the longest 1500′, and a 237′ vertical drop. The city notes:
Hickory Hills began operations in the winter of 1950 -51 on 12 City owned acres. Adjacent land was leased or used by friendly agreement. The City now owns approximately 125 acres. The lodge that was constructed in the mid 1950’s is still in use today with a fireplace and snack bar for the enjoyment of our guests.
Prior to 1985, Hickory Hills was completely at the whim of nature for its snow. The number of skiing days ranged from a low of 29 in 1983-84 to a high of 83 days in 1958-59. Since 1985 the number of days has stabilized with an average of 70 skiing days per year since snow making equipment was installed. Snow making capabilities now exist on six of eight runs.