Mackinac College Ski Slope – Mackinac Island

In the early 1900’s, Chicago meatpacking millionaire Michael Cudahy bought the largest estate and built the largest private home on the island. From 1966 to 1970, the old Stonecliffe mansion and grounds were home to a small private college. Students cleared a ski slope on the grounds. The college graduated one class and closed in 1970.

In 1971, Stonecliffe was purchased by Televangelist Rex Humbard of the Cathedral of Tomorrow who intended to re-open Mackinac College as a Bible college. More ski runs were carved for the students and for the paying public. Gregg Reese of the Mt. Holly Ski Patrol remembers accompanying his father, Bud Reese, the NSP section chief at that time to the island to train patrollers for the college. In 1972, the area installed a double chairlift. The bluff proved unsuitable for skiing and Humbard’s ministry came under financial scrutiny. The college closed in 1973. reports that Mackinac Island installed an 838′ Ski Lifts International double chair with a 128′ rise in 1971.

After the college closed, Stonecliffe operated as a ski resort in winter and a year-round inn. The lifts no longer run, but the inn is still in operation today from mid-May until mid-October.

3 Responses to Mackinac College Ski Slope – Mackinac Island

  1. Jeremy Clark says:

    The SLI double chairlift installed on Mackinac Island was eventually taken down (using horses and old mattresses), transported by horse to the docks, then shipped to the mainland via Arnold Line. The lift was installed at Berkshire East Ski Resort in Massachusetts as the Little Beaver double chairlift in the late 1970s.

    • Amanda says:

      I’m currently working on a piece about the Mackinac Island ski area for The Ski Journal, a downhill skiing publication based in western Washington. I’m from northern Michigan and find the history of this tiny ski hill fascinating. It seems like you know quite a bit about the history of the area — would you be willing to answer a few questions or perhaps speak to me at some point?
      Amanda Monthei

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