On Fri., Jan. 25, 1952, The Ludington Daily News winter sports report listed Sugar Loaf in Leelanau Co. as having 12″-15″ of new snow and excellent conditions.
Sugar Loaf Mountain is listed on a map in a Consumers Power brochure listing top ski areas in the northern lower peninsula. The brochure appears to be circa 1959. They report it had 4 slopes and 4 tows, with a slalom bowl, ski trails, snacks and instruction on premises. By Feb. 3, 1966, The Cass City Chronicle listed Sugar Loaf in the AAA Guide to Winter Sports Fun in Michigan as having 50 acres of ski runs, 2 double chairlifts, J-Bar, and snowmaking.
Teachski.com displays the picture postcard below for “Leelenaw Schools.” The caption on the reverse of the card identifies it as Sugar Loaf Mountain. The plural “schools” seems to date this card between 1940 when the girls school was established and sometime around 1950 when the schools were combined.
The Leelanau Schools, Glen Arbor, Michigan. Winter brings not only sports but brighter beauty to Sugar Loaf Mountain where the Leelanau Ski School is organized for beginners, intermediates, and experts.
The Leelanau School, combined from separate schools for Boys and for girls after WWII, was a prestigious private residential prep school outside Traverse City. For many years, they made skiing and other outdoor winter activities a big part of their program. According to Wikipedia, the school,
“pioneered alpine skiing as a Michigan high school varsity sport during the 1950s and was instrumental in its adoption as an official MHSAA championship sport, but was forced to abandon the sport when the nearby Sugar Loaf Resort closed in 2000. Leelanau was the MHSAA boys’ skiing state runner-up (open classification) in 1992, beaten at the state finals only by Traverse City (now Traverse City Central), a school over 30 times larger.  Leelanau is by far the smallest school in Michigan ever to place so high in an MHSAA open (unrestricted by enrollment) state championship.”
Rick Desrochers found this newspaper clipping in an old book. It is apparently an artist’s rendition of a concept for Sugar Loaf Winter Sports Development in 1945. It would be interesting to know how close this came to reality.
When it closed a few seasons ago, Sugar Loaf had 20 skiable acres on 490 vertical feet. The summit elevation is 1100′ and the base elevation is 610′. Sugar Loaf had 6 Lifts: 1 triple, 5 doubles with an uphill capacity of 3600/hr. Terrain Mix was 30-40-30 and the longest run was 5100′. It had night skiing Mon.-Sat. with rentals & lessons. Annual Snowfall was 182″ and it had snowmaking.
There have been repeated reports since the area closed that various parties have been working to acquire and reopen it.
Much of the information above is from the Michigan Ski Area Guide.
Chris VanderHart sent along the following photos from Sugarloaf:
Bob Sisco sent along this photo of the “lost” lift on the backside of the Loaf.