Major Mountain – Harrison

In a Consumers Power brochure published around 1959, Major Mountain is described as located 9 mi north of Clare 1 mi west of US-27. Snowsnake Mountain is described as 9 mi north of Clare and 1/2 mile west of US-27, so this puts them 1/2 mile apart. Major Mountain is listed as having 6 slopes, the longest 1200′ with 3 tows. It was open on weekends and had snacks available at the area.

With nearby Snowsnake having 9 slopes, the longest 1600′ with 4 tows and night skiing, it is perhaps not surprising which area survived until today.

Now the areas would be located just west of US-127 on E Mannsiding Road (exit 168). On the satellite, the ski trails and fairways of Snowsnake are clearly visible. Not so for Major Mountain. If you have any information about skiing at Major Mountain, especially when it opened and closed, please post it or use the instructions on the About MILSAP page to send it to us.

5 Responses to Major Mountain – Harrison

  1. Brad "Hoser" Miller says:

    In a funny way kind of way I got my start in Alpine racing world at Major Mt. in the spring of 1975.
    Coach Rodger Sharp (Clare HS) invited some younger kids and a few free dogs to a pot luck ski race day at Major Mt. I gave coach Sharp and a lot of the athletes a big grin when I ripped through the Bamboo course backwards.

    Somehow I made the varsity as a 6th seed racer the next couple of years and ironically for a team that trained at a hill like Major Mt our boys team made it to the state finals in 1976 and the girls made it in 1977. Hiking up hills to pack snow ( half the time to get up them when the rope tow didn’t work), using a spud and sledge hammer to make holes for the bamboo and In 1977 Coach Sharp decided to put lip stick on a pig by having a pot luck for all the teams that came to our race (that included Traverse City and Cadillac). As far as I know that was the start of pot luck traditions at the HS Level.

    Brad Miller
    PSIA-C Alpine Ed-Staff
    Coach TC Central

  2. John Close says:

    Greetings. I ski raced for Roscommon High School in the late 70’s. We had a ski meet with Harrison, Farwell and maybe Clare @ Major Mtn. I can recall no grooming, no lodge, one REALLY long rope tow, foot packing the race hill etc. I remember us getting lost trying to find it. We would go back to our school bus to get warm/ have a sandwich between runs. We were a pretty low budget team. I think some of us raced in blue jeans on our 150 cm freestyle ski’s
    Those were great times!!! Your doing a great job with this website!!! Thanks!

    John Close
    Park City, Ut

  3. Walter DeWalt says:

    The owner of Major Mountain (and friend to one of our parents) annually rented the area to a group of families that was loosely based on a church group from Gesu Parish in Detroit. My family and about 20 other families skied many winter weekends from about 1963 to 1975. I don’t remember the owners name but I believe he was responsible for cutting the original trails and construction of the lodge and rope tows.
    We would drive from Detroit on Friday night, stay in Clare, and get out to the area before the sun came up the next morning. While our parents got a fire going and make pancakes in the lodge the kids would get the rope tows going. There were really two operating rope tows back in the 60’s. A very long, fast, two stage tow that served the main slopes and a much shorter, slower rope that served a beginners slope.
    We would literally ski from dawn to dusk, one of our parents turning off the ropes after it got too dark to ski. Then it was back inside the lodge for a common dinner of chili or hot dogs in front of the Lodge’s second floor fireplace, then back to Clare for an exhausted sleep. We would return to Major Mountain early Sunday, and repeat the process. There was a large railroad bell mounted on a pole in front of the lodge that they used to ring to summon us to lunch. Some of my fondest childhood memories are based on weekends at Major Mountain.
    The main slope at Major Mountain is still visible through the trees on Google Earth. From E. Mannsiding Rd., west of 127, turn south (across the road from the Snow Snake entrance) onto Major Mountain Rd. Drive approximately 3/4 mile and turn right onto E. Ashard Rd. There should be a parking lot at the end of the road (about 300 yards) Go down the slope to the main lodge and the main slope is a narrow slot visible from overhead that faces west by south west. On Google earth it looks like the lodge, or at least the foundation is still there.

  4. David Shanahan says:

    One of the co-owners was Dan Shanahan- my Dad.
    Walt- your memories were the same as mine- we would all pile into the station wagon and head to Major Mountain for a weekend of fun. There were a few times when we’d start up the bunny hill tow rope after dark and take the toboggan reserved for emergencies up the tow rope, pile as many kids as we could on it, and ride it down the hill. What great memories. Your last name sounds very familiar, so I’m sure we were there at the same time. Do you also remember the Klaes family? Their Mom is my Dad’s Sister. They were there a lot on the weekend as well. There are like 10 Klaes kids. We only had 8.
    Great memories indeed.

  5. Don Gardey says:

    We skied at Major in 1960 with my brother Rob and a bunch of others. I met my wife Laurel at Major one weekend. We are still married and spend we spend winters in Colorado working at Copper Mountain. I was one of the coaches when John Close raced there. Don Gardey

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