Mt. Christie Ski Area – Oxford

According to Sports Illustrated, Mt. Christie opened in 1958 with a 1200′ poma lift with a 160′ rise, 3 slopes, 5 toboggan runs, a shop, a restaurant and a lodge. It also had snowmaking and night skiing. On Feb. 10, 1961, The Ludington Daily News published a snow report which listed Mt. Christie with 3″ fresh powder on an 8 to 10″ base for good conditions.

On Feb. 3, 1966, The Cass City Chronicle printed the AAA Guide to Winter Sports Fun in Michigan. It listed Mt. Christie with 7 slopes, the longest 1200′, Poma, T-Bar, 8 tows, snowmaking and night skiing. On October 27, 1968, the Detroit Free Press listed Mt. Christie among the 7 ski areas to cease operation that year.

The area is now a housing development

Mt. Christie patch


25 Responses to Mt. Christie Ski Area – Oxford

  1. buddyglass737 says:

    I grew up in Mount Christie’s shadow. Before the subdivision, but after it closed. I can remember some building structures rotting away growing up, and having to dodge the chair lift posts while sledding, that was the early nineties. My Parents had their wedding reception there back in May 1968. My mom told me it closed the previous winter.

  2. Don Tyrrell says:

    You can still see Mt. Christie displayed on Google Maps, clearly visible in the terrain mode north of Oxford, MI. West of M-24, East of Baldwin Rd, North of W. Davison Lake Rd, South of Brauer Rd. I learned to ski at Mt. Christie where my father was a volunteer National Ski Patroller.

    • MILSAP says:

      On the satellite view, it looks like the slopes may have faced southwest–not an auspicious orientation for a long season. Thanks, Don, for the pointers.

      • Daniel Brown says:

        Actually, the slope faced east. The top of the hill is parallel to M-24. I skied there back in the early 1960s and was involved with the Ski Patrol there, as a youngster. I do remember the Hollenbecks and Doc Smith. As I recall, there were a dozen owners involved with Christie at that time. The place was managed by a fellow named Warren Jones, who also ran the Thomas Hardware (marine, I believe) over on the east side of the state. (Grosse Pointe, as I recall.) Christie had a Poma lift and 4 rope tows. Their grooming equipment consisted of a drag that was pulled by a Thiokol Spryte. (That machine later wound up at Mt. Grampian after Christie closed.) My pal Willie Powers and I pulled each other around with a rope behind the Spryte after the ski hill closed at night on more than one occasion. Mt. Christie had two ski instructors in those days, “Stan Koska” and “Al McDonald”…if my memory serves me correclty. They were amusing and very nice. I also learned to make snow (!) from a fellow named Mitchell Stevens. I remember him as a giant of a man wearing brown Carharts. (Compressed air and water…lots of hoses…) There had been a fire in the compressor shack, so Warren rented a gigantic, portable compressor to run the snow guns. Mitch was the only guy who could get that thing to start! Back in those days, ski areas were long on fun and short on safety equipment. Eventually, high insurance costs forced more than one of these wonderful neighborhood ski hills to close.

    • deb johnson says:

      Hi Don

      What year was your dad on the ski patrol???? my father was on the patrol in the 1960’s

  3. geoff smith says:

    Mt Christie was at least part owned by the Hollenbach family. O.L.”Doc” Smith was on the patrol there. He became a member of the National Ski Patrol, taught first aid and ultimately became the First Aid Director of the National Ski Patrol. Mt. Christie also had an official toboggan run. A fun place but it didn’t last very long. The Smith kids moved over to Mt. Holly where their high school race team trained and raced, while Doc moved over to the ski patrol at the new Pine Knob.

  4. geoff smith says:

    Stan Koska was a great friend of Doc’s, and thank you for helping me remember. I believe Gene Hill was one of the ski school directors as well.

  5. Daniel Brown says:

    It was a great little ski hill…(although I moved to New Mexico and have been skiing Taos…it’s better…) I remember that we had a fire in the compressor shack and the snow making system went down…so Warren rented a diesel compressor to run the snow guns and a guy named Mitch Stevens would come out and run it so they could make snow. It was hard to start. I also have some silly toboggan memories…they sprayed water on the runs (they were concrete) and the runs were so fast that we put hay bales at the bottom and spread hay around because the sleds would run right across the driveway and into the trees! Somebody said they were running at fifty miles an hour…I’m not sure I believe that, but they were fast! It was insane!

  6. dale ellis says:

    anybody remember a long and heavy rope tow left of poma lift going uphill..maybe in 2 strands?

    always iced over and heavy

    Dad patrolled there for years..Sam Ellis

  7. Dan Brown says:

    Yup! Mt. Christie’s long rope tow, just to the south of the Poma was a two-stage trip. The lower section went up over a pulley-set half way up the hill and you could pick up the second half just past that point to get to the top of the hill. ..if you gave the rope a good yank, you could skate up to the second stage without stopping. That rope had a bad twist in it…a gal friend of mine got her scarf caught around the rope, was dragged through the safety gate on the bottom section and wound up hanging from her scarf from the upper pulley on the second half before the tow came to a halt. Luckily, the scarf went under her armpit. We cut her down. She was shaken, but unhurt. We were kids. We were tough.That tow really didn’t have brakes.

  8. Paul P says:

    Does anyone have pictures?

  9. freddy leal says:

    Went once only

  10. RD says:

    Remember that tow rope and poma lift ! Remember skiing there in mid to late 60′s @ night, we had Grampian and Mt. Holly too ! Life was good !

  11. Just wanted to post a video I put up on youtube. Thanks to this website and all the comments that helped me put it together.

    • Dan Brown says:

      Very interesting photos! The “lodge” image that was stitched on the patch does, sort-of, represent the old lodge. It was an A-frame with a lot of glass. There was a small A-frame nearby that housed the ski patrol gang. The lodge had a grill and the usual assortment of tables. I haven’t seen any photos of the place in years. Too bad.

      I skied Christie as a kid. My Dad (a 10th Mountain Veteran and world-class jumper) took us kids there back before we could drive ourselves.

      The hill was pretty nice. It was a good place to hang-out. Too bad all of those little neighborhood ski hills went under. It’s a tough business requiring deep pockets.


  12. Jack Pippin says:

    It was about 1972 and I mother would take me to the ski area each week to watch her friends ski. I would stand in one of the upper windows and stare out at everyone else skiing all evening. I was 12 years old at the time, and my mother was afraid to send me out without knowing what to do. The ski area at the time did not have a ski school. Each week we would go and each week I would stand and watch, until one week when one of my mother’s friends came in and questioned her why I wasn’t skiing. My mom explained to her that she didn’t feel comfortable putting me out there without knowing what to do. Pete as we called her, quickly volunteered to take me out and teach me how to ski and eventually taught me how to use the chairlift also. As most things go my love for the sport grew rapidly, and change my life forever. Today I am the general manager of children’s programming for Tahoe Heavenley Ski and Ride School.
    We all have that opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, and on that cold February Friday night in 1972 A lady by the name of Pete, made a difference for me.
    A couple years go Pete passed away, and I had the opportunity to speak at her funeral, and explain to everyone the difference she made in my life at Mt. Grampian.

    Jack Pippin
    G.M. Heavenly SRS
    Vail Resorts

  13. Steve Davis says:

    My grandfather Tom Davis was part owner of Mt Christie. My dad and his brothers & sister help run the lodge.

  14. detroit57 says:

    I am experimenting with trying to load photos. Drag and drop doesn’t work any more.

    Anyhow, I came across a 1960 promotional movie for Pontiac, MI that claimed that Pontiac was the center of the Southeast Michigan ski industry. There was about 10 seconds of film of some local ski area. I took a couple of screenshots out of the movie, which is now a You Tube video. The ski area has a fairly steep open slope with a pomalift and a parking just behind the base of the lift,.

    I have no idea where this ski area is except that it is said to be close to Pontiac. Both Mt. Christie and Mt. Grampian opened in the late 1950s with a pomalift as one of their main lifts.

    I could email the photos if this doesn’t work.

  15. Paul says:

    Back in 1971 and 1972 I had a friend who lived in Oakwood ( nearest village to Mt. Christie) we rode our bikes over there and he took me up the hill. The area had been closed down a long time already. On top of the hill was a ski patrol lookout for the hill. Basically a wood box on stilts with a trap door on botton you went up a metal ladder to. It was 10′ by 8′ and open on 3 sides north, east, south facing. To observe the ski hill. The west side was a solid wall. We put some carpeting and army cots up there. We screened the 3 openings to keep out the bugs and cut up an old canvas tent to make window coverings for when it rained. We used to camp out up there. Was a great place to sneek beers. Lol ! The sun rises were amazing too ! We put a serious lock on the trapdoor and no one bothered it for almost 3 years. Then my friend said some bikers were up there and couldn’t get in so they burned it down ! Bummer ! We heard a girl got her head caught in the tow rope pulley and killed back in 68. The place was in litigation over the incident. The A frame lodge was the hangout of the High School guys and they trashed it.

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