AAA Motor News listed this as a new ski area in 1962. They placed it south and west of east Jordan.
If you have any recollections of skiing at Pleasant Valley, please post them or send them via the instructions on the About MILSAP page.
Totally overgrown now, Pleasant Valley is in the triangle between Bellaire, Central Lake and East Jordan. We skied it often in the mid-70’s after it had closed. 2 rope tows and a log cabin lodge were all that was evident. The metal rope tow wheels are still there on log lift towers. Skiers only used the small, lower hill where the ropes were, but there is quite a large Michigan hill on either side of the road that was highly skiable and most likely climbed by many for bigger thrills. We climbed it using touring gear and 75mm boots and bindings. Should you be interested, I was the Creative Director of the Bill Jamerson film, Winter Wonderland, made for Michigan PBS in the mid-90’s. I have about 4 hours of “rushes” that we edited to 80 minutes containing a ton of the Grayling Snow Train footage that Mr. Knox mentioned in his Interlochen Public Radio interview this morning, 5 January around 9:30 am.
Ski ya later…
PO Box 9
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
We certainly miss seeing you at Nubs. I first viewed “Winter Wonderland” several years ago on CMU public television. I was able to track down Bill, where he directed me to get a copy. I would love to see the footage you have that did not make the cut. Incredible how much snow we used to get. If I hear one more person say how much they love the warm weather this winter, I will scream! My reply has been, “I hope you feel the same way about it when our average summer temps are around 110F!! Let me know if there might be a chance of getting my brothers and ski buddies together for a viewing. I hope you are getting some runs in this Winter. Most of mine have been at Caberfae. Chuck converted me to a free heeler a couple of years ago. Last season I did some trekking to the old runs on the east side of the area on crawded days. They have done a fantastic job out there cheating mother nature! I hope you are well.
Pleasant Valley ski area is 6 miles east of Central Lake on old State rd (624). Just as you drop down the hill into Pleasant valley going east the hill is on the right. There are a few poles with auto rims still standing. They were visible from the road till the late 80’s.
Those “visible poles” are loooong gone, as Ernie Harwell would’ve said. You cannot even see nor ski the original hill today. The county (township?) park across the street offers the only hope of “clear” skiing because of a local power line. I think MILSAP contributor, Steve Erber from Harbor Springs, is the last friend to ski Pleasant Valley. Keep it up. – Scooter Stillings
I would hate to think the only memory of Pleasant Valley Ski Tow is the remnants of a few log poles with metal rope tow wheels on them. I, for one, have fond memories of the late 1950s and early 1960s when that little ski area was a vibrant and exciting place. Parents would sit in front of the fireplace and look out the large windows in the log cabin at the bottom and watch their kids skiing or maybe have a hot dog from the snack bar. Music could be heard all over the hill coming from the loud speaker at the top of the cabin. Kids and even some adults would line up at the bottom ready to grab one of the three rope tows: one which was very fast and hard to grab; one which was medium speed; and one which was for beginners on a gentle slope off to the side. A season pass for kids was ten dollars. If you didn’t have skis we would loan you a pair that were often mismatched from a pair that had been broken ( if one ski was longer we would saw off the tail). I remember crashing into bamboo poles in the weekly slalom race we had. Some of us would go straight down the 100 vertical feet of the hill to a large snow packed jump at the bottom and soar into the air with an arial somersault. It usually resulted in some spectacular crashes but sometimes we actually landed on our feet. People would come from miles around to watch us. Wooden skis with cable bindings and leather boots. Baggy ski pants and nylon wind breakers. Colorful knit hats and big thick leather mitts for the rope tow. Good memories.
Jamie Gibbards’ comments on Pleasant Valley were excellent. How cool were all those little ski hills? More hot chocolate!
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