Echo Valley – Kalamazoo

On Sun., Dec. 23, 1951, the Toledo Blade printed an article about winter sports conditions in Michigan which said that conditions at all the favorite ski areas of northern Michigan…report excellent skiing, perfect weather and ideal conditions with plenty of snow. The list included Echo Valley.

A month later, on Fri., Jan. 25, 1952, The Ludington Daily News winter sports report listed Echo Valley, near Kalamazoo, as having perfect conditions for skiing, skating, and tobogganing, but no tows operating. I do not know if this means their tows were not running or they were an X-C only area with no tows. On Jan. 4 1968, The Cass City Chronicle printed the “1968 AAA Michigan Guide to Winter Sports Fun,” which listed Echo Valley as having 8 toboggan runs, rope tow, toboggans furnished free, night tobogganing, skating and snow making. (Note, no mention of skiing or jumping.)

Echo Valley is apparently still operating (they closed for the season on the first weekend of March, 2011) for tubing, tobogganing, and ice skating. If I interpret their site correctly, they have been operating since 1937. An email query to the area elicited a response from Melody that Echo Valley never had skiing, but did have a ski jump at some time in the past. Apparently more than one; a follow-up inquiry produced the response that jumping started there 65 or 70 years ago (not long after 1937?) and that the last jump was removed in about 2003 (although I suspect it was not used for the last few years it was up.)

Echo Valley Toboggan Runs

Echo Valley Toboggan Runs

An all-season sliding surface called Everslide has been installed on each run. Runs are a quarter-mile long and you’ll reach speeds of up to 60 MPH. The staff will return your sled to the top via an overhead lift. Apparently, you have to walk back up, although they do have a rope tow for the tubing hill which also has snowmaking.

Echo Valley is due east of and abuts the Robert Morris Park, which occupies land which used to be Fry’s Landing and Fry’s Winter Sports Park, which is listed as having skiing and a tow.

If you have any information about ski jumping or lift-served skiing at Echo Valley, please post it or send it using the directions on the About MILSAP page.

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4 Responses to Echo Valley – Kalamazoo

  1. MaryBeth Smith says:

    My grandparents built Echo Valley, and it started out as a ski jumping area. I have a number of newspaper clippings/copies from my late grandmother. Yes, the ski jump was ultimately torn down.

  2. profesorav says:

    On the Facebook group Vanished Kalamazoo, there is an amazing video of Echo Valley in the 1950s. You can see the ski jump and even glimpse a skier coming down the hill toward the end of the film. Here is the link, but I believe it is a members-only group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/107186085985098/permalink/206428792727493/

  3. Bob Sisco says:

    EV is alive and well, revisited 1/16/16 with my 3 grandsons after a 15 year hiatus. Not much change. Up to $18 each . Tubing included.
    Boys and I loved it, skating pond is not operating.
    The old lodge has tons of photos and newspaper articles on EV. Love the retro feel and the toboggans still fly!

    • Bob Sisco says:

      I emailed Bob Knox @ milsap several pictures I am hoping he can post here for all to see as my picture posting skills are poor.
      Picture of an article in the lodge from the ’50s mentions Boyne mtn converting its single chair( from Sun Valley?) to a double and listing a new area near Cadillac called Mad Cap amongst other listings.

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