Swiss Valley – Jones

Started in 1960 as Little Switzerland, the area was purchased by the current owners in 1968. In 1978, they greatly expanded the terrain and raised the summit to 225 ft. Swiss Valley currently boasts superb snowmaking, great terrain parks and well-stocked rental facilities and shop. They have 2 quad and 1 triple chair and 4 ropes.

On Dec. 30, 1976, The Cass City Chronicle printed the AAA 1977 Guide to Michigan’s 58 Ski Areas which listed Swiss Valley as having 2 bars (Poma, T-Bar or J-Bar), 10 ropes and 13 runs.

4 Responses to Swiss Valley – Jones

  1. Tater says:

    Love this site. Found it by complete accident. And after finding this site I bounced around the web doing some research and came upon the Swiss Valley website and I thought I might share a little unwritten history about Swiss Valley especially since they are marketing on their website that Joe Montana learned to ski there. Yes, he did ski there but it wasn’t by accident that Joe went to Swiss Valley it was the owner of the long ago closed “Think Snow Ski Shop” that brought him to Swiss Valley. Tom Shearer, a Notre Dame alum opened the “Think Snow” in the old Town and Country Shopping Center in Mishawaka, IN and a few years later moved the store to a location on Highway 31 North in South Bend just south of the Michigan state line. I worked at Think Snow my senior year of high school and freshman year of college when I was home for vacations.

    In January of 1977 shortly after Notre Dame won the national championship, Joe Montana came into the store with a friend to look at some skis. Tom and I were the only people there that day and we recognized him immediately and before too long Tom was talking to Joe and his buddy. Tom ended up selling him a pair of K2 244 Shorts skis with Spademan bindings – an absolute “plank” of a ski and probably one of K2’s worst skis ever. The skis were paid for by his buddy (more on that later). I remember this clearly because I had a pair of K2 244 Short skis with Spademan bindings the only difference was that mine were 190s and his were 180s. And guess who did the mounting? Yep, that would be me. The health of a future Hall of Famer’s knees were in my hands – oh the weight of responsibility (LOL). When they came back to pick up skis Tom gave Joe and his buddy a couple of complimentary lift tickets to Swiss Valley. Back then, and I suppose even today, ski areas send comp lift tickets to ski shops to be given out or used by the store’s staff. However, I do recall that the Swiss Valley tickets were tougher to come by than, say Royal Valley in Buchannan. Jim Wiseman, the owner of Swiss Valley was pretty, shall we say, “frugal” with comp tickets. Tom suggested to Joe and his friend that he take them skiing. A date was agreed upon and I got to go too – how cool was that!!

    Well, we met there for some evening skiing and Joe wasn’t too bad – a good solid intermediate skier. The Swiss Valley website says Joe learned to ski there but as I recall he had skied some back home in Pennsylvania. I am not even sure that Jim Wiseman or his wife, who also ran the business until a divorce (or so I heard) even knew that Joe Montana was there that evening. Maybe the coolest part was having some drinks at the bar. I was waaayyyy underage and I think Joe may have been underage as well but it was a different time back then. I had a couple of their locally famous “Moose Milks” – some crazy mix of rum, Kahlua, cream and hot cocoa. Later in life after I got married my wife would go skiing at Swiss Valley just to have a couple of Moose Milks. We actually went skiing again with Joe and his friend but I don’t recall the particulars.

    Now about his buddy. He wasn’t a football player or even a Notre Dame student. He was a local guy who had a reputation as someone you could place a bet with. Earlier I said it was a different time back then. The quarterback of the national champions gets free ski lift tickets from an alum, skis paid for by a guy with a dubious reputation, underage drinking; can you imagine the kind of press a story like this would get in this day and age?

    Gee, I miss those days………………

  2. Bob Sisco says:

    Tater that is too good to be true. Almost like a dream.Awesome story, skiing with Joe Montana, best story I read on this forum!
    Here’s a couple pictures of Swiss Valley from 10/14

    • Bob Sisco says:


      • Bob Sisco says:

        How do you like those old snowmaking towers?


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