Thunder Mountain – Boyne Falls, Charlevoix Co.

In 1958, Sports Illustrated had Thunder with 4 miles of trails, a 2400′ poma lift with a 510′ rise and 4 rope tows. The previous year it had been open 100 days and served 7000 skiers. New for 1958 were a 2100′ rope tow, a new run, lodge improvements, ski patrol room, and ski school dorm.

On Feb. 3, 1966, The Cass City Chronicle printed the AAA guide to Winter Sports Fun in Michigan. It listed Thunder as having 12 runs from 1600 to 3000′ long, beginners area, T-Bar, Poma, and 2 rope tows.

One of the comments below claims Thunder was opened by the parents of Cary Adgate, former US Olympic Ski Team member and Pro racer who was inducted into the US Ski Hall of Fame in 2008. If Thunder was opened in 1958, Adgate would have been 5 years old, and probably learned to ski there.

Later, Thunder Mountain was purchased by Ev Kircher as one of the parts of the Boyne Country Development.

Now abandoned, with the lifts long stripped, it is the site of sledding runs and poached ski runs. For a hilarious commentary and some fabulous pictures from an ascent in 2009, see

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

On a recent trip to Charlevoix county I took a picture of the former area from the driveway. The day was very foggy, but I could read the signs at the gate: Posted, No Hunting, No Trespassing, Video Surveillance, Live Fire Zone.

Thunder Mountain 2012-12-04

Here are some early pictures of Thunder Mountain from the Adgates, passed along by John Shepherd.

And more pictures from 1975 provided by Dan Montgomery.

54 Responses to Thunder Mountain – Boyne Falls, Charlevoix Co.

  1. Trucker Mark says:

    We skied Thunder back in the early 70s a couple of times when it was a weekend Boyne overflow operation, though even then it was pretty rudimentary. I recall that they had at least one double chairlift and an advertized vertical of 475 ft, which seemed pretty big when compared with the little ski hills around Detroit that I was used to then, like Alpine Valley, Mt. Holly, or Pine Knob. At that point in my life I skied Mt Holly every week in junior high school ski club.

    I remember going up the chair at Thunder and skiing some intermediate trail to the left of the chair looking uphill. The last time that we skied there they had just had a big dump and they had little grooming back then, which would have been great at anytime since 1982 when I moved to Colorado, but at the age of 13 in 1970 with those Cubco bindings it just wasn’t as cool as it could have been. I remember hitting a jump at Thunder and losing both skis which released upwards out of the front bindings and then taking a big tumble!!!

    Given the size of the mountain it is hard to believe that Thunder didn’t make it, though the weekend-only marketing and under-development by Boyne may have done both Thunder and Walloon in, as my guess is that many of the customers accustomed to Boyne’s high standards may have been disappointed. I know that Walloon had its fans but without chairlifts its days were obviously numbered too. The 1960s and 1970s were a different era though, back when people would take big chances with investments like minor ski hills, and Thunder was one such result. If Thunder had been aggressively marketed and properly funded, it would probably still be around.

    • If Everett Kircher did buy it, he probably closed it down to reduce competition with his main attraction, Boyne Mountain. There are several closed hills that would have made great resorts today had they not been closed down.

  2. gary curatolo says:

    this was one of my favorite areas up north, funky with good vertical and steep slopes. taught my girlfriend (now wife) in the 1970’s because boyne mt was too crowded.beginner run named aspen alley circled around the back of the hill. area was known to have one of the steepest top to bottom runs named whiteface (the other was awful / awful at sugarloaf mt in traverse city.) hated to see it close a few years after boyne bought it, but I did ski it in 1988 long after it had closed, walking up and skiing down whiteface with one foot of powder!!! interesting note is this area was originally started and run by the parents of carey adgate

  3. Tim Robinson says:

    Skied Thunder from about 1960-8. Dee Adgate was the owner, Cary was his son. The origin lift was the poma and a few rope tows. Going across there was Whiteface (at a supposed 35 degree slope, the steepest in lower MI), then Thunderbowl (a later addition), Timberline, Sun Valley, Stowe and on the back side, Pico and Aspen. There were newer slopes to the right served by a t-bar. Eventually a new area was opened on the back of this part.
    Thunder was the quintessential family area. My father, Pete Robinson, was on the ski patrol, and was the leader in 1967. Bob Duker was one the hotshot instructors, and his wife (Bobbie) was the hot woman that we adolescent males fantasized about. Cary was the best racer or skier of any of us. Al Anstead was the head of the ski school, I remember one season he broke his leg and still skied Whiteface (on one ski).
    The local race circuit included Walloon Hills, Boyne, Nubs Knob (iciest area ever) and Thunder in CUSSA or later USSA central division.
    As I’m writing this, I’m in a condo at the base of Pico, in Vermont, where we were hoping for great spring skiing, but it’s closed for the season, and Killington has only one lift and 2 open slopes. But it’s still skiing.

    • Tom Bullard says:

      I skied Thunder for CUSSA races in 1963 and 64, I think. I have a couple old photos I will have to dig out. Cary Adgate indeed was a great racer. He was a couple years younger than me, and I might have beat him once or twice before he got really good. Saw him at a few races when I was in college in Colorado, but by then he was mostly racing in Europe. I too thought that Thunder had some of the greatest terrain of anywhere in the lower peninsula. Whiteface indeed had a fearsome pitch. After the 55 degree stuff here at Mt. Rose and around Tahoe, it might not look quite so imposing, but still, for Michigan it was very impressive.

    • As Tim knows, I learned to ski at Thunder. It was a wonderful family area in a time when kids were able to be kids and not under constant supervision. Tim taught me to use the T-bar and the Poma lift and moved me from the bunny slope to the next a little bit more challenging slope. If only he had been there to keep me from getting run over by the snow cat on the bunny slope. I was young! But my father Pete Robinson soon arrived to get me out from under and to the hospital to make sure there were no injuries. While we were there, one of my brothers had and accident and was also brought to the hospital. That was quite a day! We skied there every week-end until we moved east.

  4. Trucker Mark says:

    Jay Peak is open, 4 lifts and 18 trails, 15-35 in base, loose granular. Sugarloaf, Maine is open too, with a 20-inch base, 4 lifts and 21 trails in operation. Better yet, drive on over to Manchester, NH and fly Southwest nonstop to DIA, where most all of our local areas are still open. My home hill Eldora, west of Boulder, is still about half open with base-to-summit black diamond terrain skiing available on the Corona quad and a 45-inch base. Copper Mountain is running 17 lifts and has 99 trails open, on a 43-inch base, Loveland has 8 lifts and over 1000 acres still open with a 50-inch base, and they should be open through May 5th, Winter Park is operating 15 lifts on a 42-inch base through April 22nd, and Wolf Creek is closing Sunday and they have a 76-inch base. If you have a little extra dough might I recommend Timberline Lodge in Oregon, which has had a foot of new snow on a 262-inch base, and is 100% open!!!

  5. .In the last few years our family has completed the purchase of all 353 acres of the old Thunder Mountain Ski Resort. We have had to close off all access to the mountain and have it posted as No Trespassing without permission. We have found this necessary for insurance compliance requirements. We have no plans to every open any of the 12 runs to the public due to restrictions the Kirchner family (Boyne Properties) put on the land as part of their sale back in the 80’s. Over the years we have had a continuing problem with unauthorized use, especially with trucks, snowmobiles, ATV’s and motorcycles, but now with added fences, gates, signage and DNR support we have that issue under control. The mountain is a great source of pleasure for our extended family and friends as we enjoy it year round. We would greatly appreciate any information any one would care to share about the Mountain and we would be especially indebted to anyone who might have photos or print media to share. I have been searching info for several years; however my collection of info and data has not gone as good as I have not found much. Just last year a wonderful neighbor, friend and a former Thunder Mountain ski patrol member gave us the gift of the original Black Diamond White Face sign that marked the hill. We now display it proudly in our own Thunder Mountain Log lodge. Anyone interested in sharing stories or info beyond what has been posted here would find the Shepherd family very grateful.
    johnd shepherd
    Email contact
    Please title email “Thunder Mountain related”

  6. Anne B says:

    Tons of fun at Thunder Mountain with my family and our circle of skiing friends in the late 60s and well into the 70s. It had two chairs (at least) at that time and we skiied the hell out of every inch of it when we were teenagers and I had my first pair of skis with the new “ski brakes” instead of “safety straps.” It was a shame when Boyne closed it down, but by then my sister’s and I were all old enough that my parent’s sprang for a season’s pass at Boyne Mtn/Boyne Highlands and we had a lot of fun there, too. We owned a vacation home in the hills opposite Boyne Mtn. I worked there as a chambermaid two summers when I was 13 and 14! $1.65/hour!

  7. artsam says:

    Nice to read the blogs here. I had a lot of fun with my ski team on those hills. Our Cheboygan high school ski coach was Al Ansted, the ski school head instructor. We hosted a lot of high school races there including the state meet in either 64 or 65. My team mate Dick Judd broke his brand new Kessler ski’s shushing Whiteface his first run of the season 62/63. We always had slalom runs on Whiteface, but the GS was always on Timberline. We earned our season passes cutting down trees in the summer for new runs and lifts, In particular the runs to the right of Timberline where the new lift was installed. We all used long thong bindings so our skis would not release without a major crash, this was before brakes were invented. I skied those hills almost every winter weekend from 1961 thru 1965 except when we had a race somewhere else or a practice. I remember Bob Dueker and (Bobbie) and confirm Tim Robinsons remark above. There were others there too Tim. Cary skied with us a few times when he was around 10/12 yrs old, he was relentlessly burning up the runs. Seems a lot of us moved westward and hit the Alpine terrain after the mid 60’s. I spent a lot of years skiing Mammoth, Steamboat Springs, Aspen Ajax, Snowmass, Tahoe, and Whistler/Blackcomb, but I never forgot the years at Thunder, and probably like everyone else blogging here, that is why I am looking back. I just saw a picture of Al (85) and Bob online at the Snowmass reunion of certified ski instructors getting 50 year pins, sure brings back memories. Tim, Al Ansted tore his achilles heel and was in a cast for months. That is the worst injury a skier can get that I am aware of. Al was not sure if he would ever be able to ski with two feet again. He surprised all of us.
    Al, if you read this email me.

    Art Sampson

  8. Mark Prell says:

    I skied Thunder from 1960-1964 while my parents were with the Parke Davis Ski Club. We came up every weekend in the winter, we skied all the areas, Boyne, Walloon, Nubs, but Thunder was always my favorite. For the first two years, they just had a poma that went right up the left side of Whiteface. When you got to the top there was a bullwheel and the poma made a right hand turn and then traversed the top of the ridge. Then you could jump off at any point and ski all of the runs. First on the right there was Whiteface. Renowned as the steepest run in Michigan, it was rarely open. But it was great in the spring and we pounded it. Pico was next, on the left, and then on the right, Timberline, my favorite trail, followed by Sun Valley, Aspen, Tuckermans, a nice little gladed trail, and finally Stowe and Mad River. I loved all those trails and would ski them all day long until my father dragged me off the mountain. I can remember so many times schussing the last run in a desparate attempt to make the last ride up the poma.

    One day the ski club had a party at the mountain after it closed. We had a nice dinner and then the Adults had a dance party and us kids just sort of hung back, checking out the goings on. That night there was a party crasher, a fellow by the name of Leon. Everybody got to meet Leon that night because he was just about the loudest (and probably drunkest) guy there. As the story goes, one fellow mentioned to Leon that he had a very loud voice, and wondered if we would be able to hear him if he were to yell with all his might from the top of Whiteface. Well Leon was not about to back down from this challenge and he set off into the night, and started up the face. Several times on the way up, he stopped to bellow down to us, and of course we heard him, but nobody responded. After a time he actually made it to the top, and he was yelling at the top of his lungs…. hellowwww… can anybody hear me….. .Of course we could all hear him loud and clear but by this time, somebody had turned on the PA system and every time Leon bellowed the guy on the loudspeaker would say..”uh Leon, are you up there yet?, we can’t hear you. uh Leon?? Leon would yell back and this went on for some time, and everybody in the bar was in hysterics.

    Since those days, I’ve been lucky enough to ski all over the world, in some incredible places. Tiny little Thunder Mountain might seem like a small and relatively insignificant place, but to me, it’s pretty special. A place I’ll never forget.

  9. MILSAP says:

    On Jan 23, 2013, Brad Coulter commented: I grew up in Midland and skied Thunder Mountain exclusively for years. We made many a high school and college trip to ski the steepest hill in the lower peninsula – Whiteface. It was either a sheet of ice or full of bumps (the only hill in Michigan that actually had decent moguls). I still remember a perfect spring day in March 1984 when Whiteface was top to bottom Colorado type moguls. It was a sad day when Thunder closed and we had to relocate to Boyne.

  10. I am happy to report Cary Adgate was kind enough to give me several pictures of Thunder Mountain taken during the 50’s and 60’s. Cary as most of you know is probably the most famous skier in the area and is an Olympian also as most of you know Cary’s parents built the Thunder Mountain resort from scratch. I am not sure how to add pictures, but when i find out I will share same. There is even a great picture from the inside of the bar. It looks like it was a great place to hang out.
    johnd shepherd
    I will find the old pics, but for now here are a few from this winter
    here are pics taken Jan 26, 2013

    taken feb 2, 2013

    Feb 16, 2013 video on the mountain
    [video src="" /]

  11. jdshep1 says:

    The pictures look like thumbnails, why so small?

  12. mike says:

    The hill farthest to the left was nicknamed white face my father has told me stories about riding dirt bikes up it in the summer and my brother and I grew up riding our dirt bikes in that area we made it to the top and you can not see the bottom of the hill from the top of white face it’s too steep

  13. Anton Mal says:

    I have always despised Boyne for buying and closing this place, along with Walloon. These two places are mainly where I learned to ski. Thunder was always my favorite. I remember how good it felt to finally concur Whiteface and Tuckerman, Prior to that Timberline and Pico were my favorites. Of all the lost resorts, this is the one that I would love to see re-opened someday. Though from the property owners message above, that will never happen. So sad…

  14. Anton Mal says:

    Here is a YouTube of Thunder from the Snurfboard people.

  15. Bob Sisco says:

    Jeremy the founder of the New England lost ski area project was kind enough to post a trail map of Thunder mtn to me (ciscokid) and I thought you all might enjoy. Sorry I can’t link it but here is the page

    • Anton Mal says:

      Wow. Got the above link to work and was quite surprised. Thought I’d skied it the last year it was open but I never saw the quad lift! When I was last there Boyne had revived the Poma on the far right and the T-bar was still there where they put in the quad. Surprising that Boyne put so much money into Walloon and Thunder just to quickly close them up. Was that quad up for only a season?!? A little advertising / promotoins could of saved these places Wonder what went on at Boyne to foster this rapid investment/divestment. What a shame. so much potential with Thunder.

  16. john phillips says:

    we had a cottage on thumb lake, a few miles down thumb lake road and i had season passes at thunder, good during the week at boyne, every day thunder was open. white face used to scare the hell out of me. i used to hill climb it in summers on my motorcycle, unsucessfully. it sure seemed steep but you could just go straight down as there was a long runoff. i hitched to aspen at 18 and never skied thunder again but it sure helped me learn to ski ice, i mean michigan not especially thunder mt. seems like they had all natural snow. can anyone confirm that? i remember the snow was always better than the boyne areas so not having fake snow would explain the lack of ice at thunder. such a beautiful area, all around there. i never appreciated the extent of the beauty as a kid growing up there, i was really lucky. colorado is nothing to sneeze at beauty wise but northern michigan has a magical feel to it. john phillips

    • Anton Mal says:

      I remember making it down the steeps of Whiteface only to be tripped up schussing the run-out on a narrow little dip running across the bottom. Was told the dip was from melting from an underground pipe for the snow making.

  17. Steve Hanzek says:

    Learned to ski at Thunder in the early/mid 60’s. Al Ansted was my parents best friend, and we would drive up from Brooklyn to Cheboygan, stay with his family, and take “The Early Bus” (an old station wagon with a zillion ski’s tied to the top in a canvas tarp) to the area. I skied with his daughter Autumn all day, until Al was done with his classes. Then we would play ‘follow the leader’ all over the area. Broke my leg on the flats of Sun Valley in March of 64 – hit an exposed tree root racing Autumn to the bottom. Broke my leg again in March of 66 on Tuckermans Bowl, right on the giant bump before the flats. Loved the lodge – they had this giant round fireplace. We’d come in, our hands so frozen we couldn’t undo our bindings – “Hey Mister – can you please undo my bindings?” was a common plea. Then we would go in and buy a glass of hot chocolate in a styrofoam cup, and then burn the cup in the fireplace. I loved that area! So many great childhood memories – yes, a few broken bones, but what a great time… One of my other favorite areas was Big M, over by Manistee; it was converted back to nature in the 70’s, but a couple of friends and I hiked in on a beautiful March day and did some runs. Probably my most memorable skiing day ever. I envy the new owners of this property – it is for many of us considered a ‘Skiers Sacred Ground’!

    • Mark Prell says:

      Steve, I was there the winters of 61-65. I think Al might have given me my first (and only) ski lesson ever. Taught me how to ski parallel. (everything uphill is ahead). I also recall joining his follow the leader groups in the afternoon. As you say, many memories

      Mark Prell

      • Bob Sisco says:

        Here’s the trail map aerial
        Hope it brings up great memories!


      • Bob Sisco says:

        Here’s the trail map aerial
        Hope it brings up great memories!



  18. Mark Prell says:

    Thanks Bob. It does!

  19. Bill Behse says:

    Thank you all for all the great things that you have said about “Thunder”, as we called it. The information above about the early days of Thunder Mt. is mostly correct but an important part has not been mentioned. Dee Adgate was indeed the principle financial resource behind the creation of Thunder Mt. but the ski resort itself was the brainchild of my parents, Joe and Donna Behse.

    Joe, my father was a veteran of WWII and had spent time during the war in Germany and Switzerland where he learned to ski. After the war, he met my mother at Michigan State University where they were both students. My mother, a Canadian, was a second generation skier, a ski instructor and an amateur ski racer (later the State of Michigan overall female champion). They married in the late 1940s with the idea that their lives would revolve around skiing. In 1955, and three children later, they started to seriously put together their dream of building their own ski hill.

    Boyne Mt., at that time, was the main ski area in Michigan and they skied there often, so, in 1955 when land became available a few miles away, their resort development project began in ernest. I was 5 at the time and we were living in Lansing. My Dad did not have the financial resources to build Thunder Mt. himself so he partnered mainly with Dee Adgate for funding and shared ownership. Dee’s role was chiefly as an investment resource and Dad took on the role as designer and project manager for the building of what they both hoped would be Michigan’s newest and most challenging ski area.

    Actual work on the hill started in 1956 when the ski runs were sculpted by bulldozers and a rope tow was installed between Pico and Whiteface. The original lodge was a small building built facing Whiteface and slightly above the entrance to the rope tow area.

    In 1957, when the first phase of construction was ‘complete’, Thunder successfully opened to the public. A year later the little main lodge became a pro shop and a new lodge was built at its current location. Also that year, it was decided that the rope tow needed to be replaced by a more modern form of lift, but, because of the right ‘turn’ at the top, technical issues had to be solved. Jean Pomagalski was invited to visit Thunder and see if he could come up with a design that would not only allow the right turn at the top but would also extend the lift along the ridge so the rest of the runs could be accessed. The result of Mr. Pomagalski’s design was the Poma lift that we all of remember so fondly. My personal favourite memory, besides not having to use a rope tow, was the convenience of being able to jump off at any of the runs that originated along the ridge (Timberline, Sun Valley, etc.).

    Sadly, for me, in 1960 my parents sold their interest in the mountain to Dee. The last time I skied Thunder was in 1959. Later, a chair lift was installed which I didn’t know about until I revisited the ‘mothballed’ area in 1995. From what I’ve read above, I’m very moved to hear how my parent’s dream has become such a fond and endearing memory for so many people besides myself.

    As an aside, I have early recollections of visiting the Adgate’s home where Dee’s son Cary was just learning to stand on his own. I’ll never forget, as a five year old, how amused I was seeing him try to stand and then flop down on his butt like all little toddlers do at that stage of life. Little did I know that that little guy who made such an impression on me that day would be, thanks to the ever lasting greatness of Thunder Mt., the best amateur/professional ski racer that Michigan has ever produced.

    This reply was written by Bill Behse, oldest son of Joe and Donna Behse. Joe, sadly, passed away from cancer many years ago but Donna is still lively and doing well in her home in Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada. She retired from skiing at age 81 but still has her equipment ready in case she changes her mind. I will be forever grateful to my parents for the gift of Thunder Mt. which instilled in me a lifelong love of skiing. Not surprising, I have on my bucket list a desire to visit every ski resort that spawned the names of the runs at Thunder. So far I only have Whiteface and Sun Valley left to go. Next year maybe???

    • gary curatolo says:

      If you have an interest in this topic you can Google ski areas- Walloon lake Michigan wanderings /. scroll down to an article from 1956 in the Otsego county herald times describing the new ski area thunder mountain and developers Joe and donna Behse. Gary curatolo

  20. john d shepherd says:

    Thanks for sharing the story of how your families dream became Thunder Mountain. We have talked to or heard from many people who spent time on the Mountain, all have fond memories. Two of my sons and three of my grand kids were snow boarding the easy hill two (beginning of March) week ends ago. Conditions were very good the run to the point they turned around was 1800 feet long per Google Earth. If they were to go all the way to Slashing that would be 2700 feet. Not bad for a back yard run.

  21. Anton Mal says:

    Really wish I could get Bob Sisco’s Photobucket links to work… 😦

  22. Donald Schoals says:

    I skied this in the late 70’s a real treasure for mogul skiing because it wasn’t groomed and only opened on weekends. This is a true skiers lose.
    Evret Kirchner really went stupid on this investment.

  23. Our family had season passes for a few years in the early 60s , I was only around 7 or eight back then but I remember the pomalift on the back hills, My ski buddies and I discovered if we jumped in the air on the take off, the pomalift’s stiff springs would yank us 4 feet or so off the ground. My older brother used to ski with Carey Adgate and he broke his leg on one of the back hills, I broke my collar bone on Sun Valley. We eventually ended up skiing at Nub’s through out the rest of my childhood and teenage years but we all loved Thunder too. I ended up moving up here from my home town back in 1975 and now own a house off of Thumb Lake Rd.

  24. John says:

    Wow incredible reading all of these memories from all of you. I grew up in Charlevoix and skiied Thunder in the early 60’s. My favorite over Nubs Walloon Boyne . Charlevoix Courier had an advert with a coupon for a sample ski day at Thunder for $1. I went to the newspapers office and my friends and I bought bought all the back issues for 10 cents a copy thus costing us $1.10 a day to ski Thunder. Since then have skiied in many other places but my fondest memories are of Thunder. Such a personnal friendl and beautiful place. Off to Squaw this week

  25. Bob says:

    Was Herb Walker the first manager of the resort when it opened? What year was that?

  26. Bill Behse says:

    Thunder opened in 1957 and was managed by Joe and Donna Behse, the founders and principal owners.

  27. Michael Smith says:

    I sprained my ankle (Pico) and later on my knee (Sun Valley) at Thunder. I still loved the place and wish it were open today. It would be a nice addition to the winter fun in the north. Hopefully, someday the deed restriction ends on that property.

  28. Bruce Clapp says:

    My fondest memories of Thunder were when they were only open on weekends. When we had a week with a lot of snow, you could be there when the lifts opened on Saturday a.m. and ski a foot or more of powder on the hills they didn’t groom. Sometimes, after it was all skied out, we would go over to the Mountain at lunchtime and ski the rest of the day – on the same pass.

  29. Dan Montgomery says:

    I grew up skiing Thunder 68-83. My dad(Weldon) was on ski patrol. We still have contact with a few of the old patrollers. We have all moved to Colorado. Thunder made us good skiers, I feel bad it is not being enjoyed by Michiganders. I occasionally run into someone that skied Thunder and they all say the same thing, “challenging”, “best hill on the L.P.” . What a great investment opportunity to open that back up. I remember the newer poma on the far lookers right would lift me off the ground at the steep part. We have a few of the old trail signs. Dad digitized his slide collection and we have hundreds of pics from thunder.

    • MILSAP says:

      We’d love to see some of those pix and signs, Dan. Sorry to tell you but when Ev sold the hill, he put a non-compete restriction in the deed, just like Walloon and Avalanche Peak.

  30. Kirk Johnson says:

    I have fond memories of Thunder Mountain. My dad Blaine Johnson was on the ski patrol there and we had allot of fun and learned to ski there as kids. Now I am living in Colorado and am an adaptive ski instructor at Winter Park and 1 week a year in Aspen.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Kirk. I remember you. I live in Dillon Co. now,
      I just have an Arahahoe basin weekday pass, is your pass good there? Lets ski.
      I remember the pool party you had for ski patrol. Frank Bodenmiller threw yout cat in the pool.
      We have 100s of pics from Thunder.
      Dan Montgomery.

  31. This is more a reply to Bill Behse. Bill I remember you from when you lived in Charlevoix, on Clinton St in an Earl Young house. Your parents had a Nash Metropolitan converitble. I think both or my sisters (Frances and Eilene) baby sat you and your siblings.
    I remember one time in the late 50’s my folks and I took a Sunday drive and one of the places we stopped at was Thunder Mtn. It was in the summer so nothing was going on. The base lodge was closed. Near the lodge was parked an early grooming machine. A World War II Army weasel that was affectionately named “Thunder Mtn. Dirty Bird”. I never got the chance to ski there. I learned to ski at Nub’s during Christmas break 1972. Have not been on skis since 1988.
    Hope all is well with you.

    • Bill Behse says:

      Wow. Thanks for this message Gilbert. You are right on all counts. I had forgotten the name we gave the weasel. Was it pink or the original green when you saw it. How old were you in 1959? I was 9. I also remember Francis, my all time favourite babysitter! Very kind! Hope she is doing well. I’d love to meet you for coffee if I’m in the area. My phone number is (905) 617-3903. I live in Burlington Canada near Toronto.

      Sent from Bill’s iPhone


      • greymouser70 says:

        Bill: The weasel, when I saw it, was still the original Army olive drab green.In 1959 i would have been 11. I was talking to my older sister (Eilene) a day or so ago and she remembers having to pick up you and your sister at Thunder in the Metropolitan.
        Sadly, Frances passed away in 2015 due to complications from Alzheimer’s. I presently live in NW Arkansas but I get up to Charlevoix every 3-4 years or so. I am planning on being up there this Sept or early Oct. Not sure just exactly when. I remember you had a sister but I can’t remember her name. Didn’t you also have a younger brother? My phone is 479-283-6708. I’d love to get together for coffee if we can work out the details.

      • Bill Behse says:

        My sister is Pam and she is a year younger than me. My brother is Joe and he is two years younger. I am sorry to hear about Francis. I hope she didn’t have pain. Please give me a heads up when you are back in Michigan. I’d love to meet up. You have my phone number. Looking forward to getting together.

  32. Susie Miller says:

    My family also spent every weekend skiing at Thunder. In 1960, at 6 years old I put on skis for the first time and skied down the steep dip in front of the lodge. (I believe we have movies of this and more.) From there it went to the bunny hill where my braids wrapped around the tow rope only to lift me in the air before shutting off. Before I was 6 Bob Dueker skied down Whiteface with me on his shoulders. Still skied there until it closed. Many fond memories that we still talk about. Does anyone remember the strange light fixtures upstairs in the bar? They were wood squares with yellow circles. Will try to find movies and forward to new owners.

    • Bill Behse says:

      In the late 50’s (about 1958), Stein Eriksen did a couple of his famous front flips on that same steep dip in front of the lodge. Very impressive. Stein was the head of Boyne’s ski school at the time and was a multiple Olympic medalist a few years before that. I have an 8mm film of Stein doing his flips but I’m not sure what has happened to it. I also remember that ‘dangerous’ rope tow on the baby hill. I tripped the safety switch at the top a couple of times when my jacket got wrapped up in the rope tow. I remember my dad making that rope tow by using a car engine and car wheels to hold the rope off the ground. Pretty primitive but it worked!

  33. Billy Meyer says:

    What a beautiful mountain. I was out scouting one day and came across this hill. Like Mount Mancelona, the property is such a beauty and a shame the public can’t enjoy it responsibly.
    It seems like every skiable hill in this state is privately owned and unprofitable to its owners. In Colorado there is widespread access to the National Forest, and one can ski freely at their own risk.
    Maybe I’m missing something. If you have more information on backcountry skiing in Michigan, please reply to this comment!

  34. johnd shepherd says:

    Video taken on Thunder of ski and non ski areas

  35. johnd shepherd says:

    NOTE: On the above You can skip forward to see the mountain slopes and back country

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