Sylvan Knob – Gaylord

Sylvan Knob was opened in the mid to late 1940’s like other areas near Gaylord: Hidden Valley, Snow Valley and Swiss Village. In 1960, Sports Illustrated said Sylvan Knob added an 1100′ Pomalift with a 180′ rise. In 1963 they added another 1025′ Pomalift with a 175′ rise. The Cass City Chronicle, on Dec. 10, 1970, printed the 1971 AAA Michigan Winter Sports Fun List. It reported Sylvan Knob with 18 slopes, 5 Pomas and 5 rope tows. has a picture postcard from the area’s early days. They don’t list a caption.

Sylvan Knob

Sylvan Knob


Sylvan Knob Patch

Sylvan Knob Patch

In 1983, Sylvan Knob was purchased and renamed Sylvan Resort. It opened that year with 11 slopes and two new chairlifts. Later, they added a golf course  by Robert Trent Jones they called the Masterpiece. While looking at the area from the lodge at the top of the hills, Jones remarked, “You can’t see anything but treetops.” The name stuck and the resort became known as Treetops at Sylvan. Still later, they dropped the Sylvan, but are still operating for both skiing and golf.

17 Responses to Sylvan Knob – Gaylord

  1. I grew up in Sparr, the local village at the bottom of the hill, and skied Treetops everyday I could, I’ve ridden my snowmobile, my bike and one time i even rode in on my horse just to make a few turns. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I do wish that there were more events happening in the summer. Motocross up the back hills? Just a thought!

  2. gordon says:

    i tried my best to ski every resort in michigan North of Saginaw.
    sylvan was one of them.
    i was probably 15 or 16 at the time. that was a pure joy.

    does anyone know marylou kettler from gaylord? she was probably 16 in 1970.

    this site brings back many memories

  3. chris marty says:

    Does anyone remember the ski instructor at sylvan that used to ski with his ski boots unlaced. He said you should never ski down a hill you can’t climb up so the first part of the lesson was always spent climbing up the hill,side aged and herringbone. I think he was Austrian.

  4. G.J.Lopus says:

    My favorite run use to be a T-bar or a poma-lift that you got on at the base of the old lodge, then at the top, we would then go to the far left back side, it was a long trail that would wind down to a rope tow, that would take you up to the top left side of the front slope of the T-bar we would first get on at the lodge, my brother and I use to ski it all day long never tired of the jumps that were on the side, and we would tuck and race. Who can forget the cozy rustic lodge, sitting around the firepits in the center of the lodge drinking hot chocolate, and eating Pay-Day candy bars. I use to ski Slyvan Knob from 1966 till about 1976 or 77, I took a break from skiing for a few years since my parents sold their cabin at Big Bear Lake, and my grandparents sold there store in Jo-Burg, they moved to Lapeer, so not being conveniently located in Ski country anymore, I grew up in south east michigan, closest area use to be Mt. Grampion! Back around 1986 I think? I got some new equipment, and went back to the new Tree Tops, personally I feel they ruined the appeal of the good ol Slyvan Knob, my favorite old run now has the new lodge sitting rite in the middle of it, and is now a fairway, thank goodness for memories, I think it was on my return visit which was my last, I gained the dis-like of GOLF!!! I do understand it went to new investors, that game people claim is a sport called golf is what they needed to do to save what they could of some of the ski terrain. I now live in New Hampshie in the middle of the White Mountains, with 4 large resorts within 30 minutes from my house. And I’m a board member of a group that is re-opening a old ski area that has been shut down for 30 years and we plan on re-opening for the 2013-14 season: Mt Eustis Ski Hill, Littleton N.H.

    • MILSAP says:

      Good luck with your goal of re-opening a lost ski area.

    • Monique says:

      Used to love the back trails, the jumps, and skiing with guys older than I was. The kids my age were not into adventure (some called it hot dogging). But loved the jumps and can remember breaking my arm on one of them located at the bottom of the Chute. Memories like that just don’t get any better.

  5. Monique says:

    This southerner learned to ski at Sylvan Knob and loved every minute I could spend on the slopes. After leaving Michigan I was only able to ski two or three other times. Would love to travel back run the slopes just one more time.

  6. Our family skied at Sylvan Knob in the 1960’s. The resort was owned by Lynn & Ruth Meade & their son Lynn Jr. The two ski instructors I think Chris Marty was asking about would be Al & Mike Wieland (father & son). Mike lived in Grayling & taught biology at Grayling Hi. Sch. and was their ski team coach for many years. I have many fond memories of skiing at Sylvan Knob.

  7. Tim says:

    Great family memories skiing at Sylvan Knob. The name Lynn Meade brings back memories from those 1960’s vacations. Still have photos of Lynn and even some old movies. Loved skiing right to the door of the shalet. I proudly wore the Sylvan patch on the sleeve of my “winter” coat. Great fire place in the lodge.

    • Kate Major says:

      We are celebrating 60 years of skiing 12/29/2014! I would love to see some of your videos from the day, if you were so inclined.

      • MILSAP says:

        Great to know about your celebration, Kate, and we will be sure to mention it here at MILSAP, but the Chamber of Commerce dates your area to a few years before 1954. Do you have an official opening date?

  8. Kevin Meade says:

    My family owned the resort. Grandma and Grandpa are gone but dad is still busy traveling across the country at 75 driving a truck for his friend’s business. The whole family still ski’s and has passed the tradition down to our own children, but it’s just not the same as those old days!

    • Larry says:

      Thanks, Kevin, I have skied here for many years also. The lifts all come back to one location at the top of the hill, which make if ideal for families.

      • Matthew Heinemann says:

        Thank you Kevin, my family, all 7 of us skied there in the early 60’s and 70’s. Us kids had to paid for the season pass of $60.00 each. I don’t think there was a weekend that we did not go skiing. I can remember sitting around playing with the fireplace in the middle of the lodge always waiting for someone to share their French fries with us. Or taking a lunch tray and sliding it along the metal rails to order up the best hamburgers we would ever have. Your grandma and grandpa were the hardest working people that I’ve ever seen. They’re always doing something except skiing. My fondest memories was going down the chute and jumping at the very bottom. Or it was going down the ever dreaded Lookout. We would make the biggest jumps and God only knows how we did not break a leg. There was a ski instructor who would always yell at us for doing something wrong. He always threatened to take our ski tickets but could never catch us. Ah yes. good times.

  9. Katherine Doyle says:

    That’s my mom (Eunice Chavey) in the center. I recognize the coat, hat, and candidate Ski Patrol belt. My father Ron (who just past) was the ski patrol director there at the time.

  10. Keith C Lay says:

    Take your cookies and stuff um

  11. Joel hall says:

    Skied at Sylvan knob yrs ago. Didn’t know it was changed to treetops. Glad to see it’s still there

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