Gay-El-Rancho – Gaylord

The Cass City Chronicle for Fri., Nov. 9 1956 in the “Michigan Mirror” column lists Gay-El-Rancho among the rapidly developing ski areas in Michigan. Gay-El-Rancho was south east of town on the east side of Dixon Lake, about midway between the location of the Otsego Ski Club and what would eventually become Michaway. Apparently they ran a “dude” ranch there right through the 1960’s (eventually removing the Gay from the name when word usage changed, becoming El-Rancho Stevens.) It still functions as a summer resort and year-round(?) restaurant. I don’t see a lot of elevation change on the topo map or remains of slopes on the satellite, so I don’t know whether downhill skiing was ever developed or how long it may have continued.

If you have any information about skiing at Gay-El-Rancho, please post it or send it to us via the directions on the About MILSAP page.

9 Responses to Gay-El-Rancho – Gaylord

  1. Bob Lindsteadt says:

    No, there was never downhill skiing at the Gay-El-Rancho. Only cross country, the same as was the case at ‘Ken-Mar on the Hill.’

    • Cyndie says:

      Not true, they did run skiing I believe one year. It was rather rudimentary. One hill, a tow rope, used an old car to run the tow rope. Actually I think there was a set-up at their other property on O’roarke Lake.

      • Spike says:

        The ski hill was on O’Rourke Lake. I remember walking around the ski lodge and looking in the windows in the mid-70’s. There were a lot of old skis with cable bindings stored there. I was told they had a tow rope and operated in the late 50’s or early 60’s.

      • Cyndie;
        Hello, looking for a wrangler job this summer, need a good man?

  2. stan fryzel says:

    I stayed at the dude ranch in 1958 Great time was had I believe owners were Mr. and Mrs Stevens

  3. Rob M says:

    My mom remembers skiing here, she said it was just cross-country skiing

  4. the great escape ever from bondage in gaylord says:

    I worked for the Stevens in the mid 1970’s, whoa, what an experience that was, they were definitely an interesting couple…lets just say some of the staff bicycled home to the east coast, things were so bad.

    • Mary Hartz says:

      I worked there in 1961 as a waitress after my freshman year of college. Miserable experience. We were supposed to make money with tips which was a joke. The guests were mainly young women from Detroit looking for husbands. Very few men except the staff. Doc and Candy were slave drivers. We finally left before the end of summer in protest.

  5. Head Wrangler 1985;
    Had a wonderful summer, built the indoor riding arena, met my wife, and have life long friends from my experience.

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