Jack Pine Valley – Port Huron

I found this area listed in the AAA Guide to Winter Fun in Michigan printed in The Cass City Chronicle on Feb. 3, 1966. It said Jack Pine Valley had 3 slopes with rope tows, and snowmaking. The map places it a bit north of Port Huron in the same general area where Black Forest is sometimes shown (Black Forest is not mentioned in this list). I have not yet found any other references to Jack Pine Valley. But sources say Jack Pine Valley was later known as Circle-TNT.

Lynn Barrett sent along this Bing link to an aerial view and map of the current condition of the site of Jack Pine Valley–TNT. The area was just east of the Black river, about 1 mi west of  the town of Blaine, which is about ten miles NNW of Port Huron.

If you have any information about skiing here or elsewhere in the Port Huron area, please post it in a comment, or send it to us via the directions on the About MILSAP page.

22 Responses to Jack Pine Valley – Port Huron

  1. Gail Kelly says:

    My father, Steve Tomchuk, was a owner. I don’t remember if there were partners. I will ask living relatives what they remember.
    Gail Kelly

  2. Joe La Rue says:

    Never really did any skiing here – it was closed when we arrived, but as I remember, it was converted farmland near the town of Blaine, or possibly Jeddo, MI.; I recall that the directions (given on the phone-in ski report provided by the SE Mich. Travel Bureau) had you taking M-25 to the flashing yellow light, then making a left turn; this light still exists, at Burtch Road, taking one into Yale. The place was unique in that the parking lot was at the top of the hill, making it the only place I’ve encountered, before or since, that you skied down before being lifted up. I believe the run ended at a river (probably a branch of the Black River). Not many trees and a lot of erosion. There was a pretty nice looking lodge (it was closed but we peaked in). I believe the lifts to be comprised of six or seven tow ropes. I’m not sure the place ever had a full season and I think it was closed for good by 1963 or 1964 (maybe ’65).

    • Dick Polanshek says:

      Description of the area sounds exactly like where we skiied in 1975 while living in Port Huron, but there were only one or two ropes at that time. Name kinda rings a bell, but not sure. Asked my wife & she thought it was the Black Forest. It was a “park at the top” area with lots of erosion.

  3. Dick Polanshek says:

    Reminissed further with my wife and we both agree the area described above was called “The Black Swamp” in 1975. Not sure if it was the official name or just what the locals called it.

  4. Joe La Rue says:

    Hi Dick. I believe you’re referring, rightly, to Black Forest Ski area, on Lapeer Road, just west of Wadhams Rd. Again, at last look, a portion of the former area still remains. See Black Forest Ski area on this MILSAP site for further information.

  5. Scott Barrett says:

    Actually it was Called Jack Pine Valley and then renamed TNT. It was about 2 miles west of Blaine Michigan on the Black River and was closed because the Hill faced the sun and the snow would melt as fast as they could make it.It was opened around the early to mid seventies because i was aroung 8 or 10 when i skied there and i was born in 1966.It consisted of a few tow ropes and a tobbogan run. I lived 2 miles away and use to Ski therefirst and at Black Forest in Wadhams later as a member of the Fort Gratiot Middle School Ski Club.The tow rope towers and the lodge are still there in Blaine but is a private residence and Black Forest is now condos or apartments with the Black Forest name. I have an original TNT wooden sign hanging in my garage i will take a pic of and post later.
    Scott Barrett

    • Joe La Rue says:

      Scott: the ’70’s must have been the second incarnation of JPV as I definitely visited here sometime around ’64 – ’65. Again, we TRIED to ski here on a couple occasions but found the place closed. It’s good to know that they re-opened and that you were actually able to ski there…and the name TNT does ring a bell but I would never have matched that name with this location. Thanks for the information! I’d like to see the old place, even if only on a Google search…can you provide any more detail as to it’s actual location?

  6. Gail says:

    Thanks for the information. My memory was that I skied at Jack Pine when I was in middle school. I was born in 1953. My father had a role back then, either a partner in the business, or he maintained the machinery. I do not recall the TNT name. I do remember skiing at Black Forest. I was in high school.

  7. Scott Barrett says:

    I sent links to MILSAP with both Black Forest and TNT locations onGoogle Maps but they have not put them up yet, but if you want to give me your e-mail I will send em to you. Also I will send ya a pic of the original TNT sign i have.Thanks

    • MILSAP says:

      Sorry Scott, we have been having a problem with our main computer (spyware) and have been posting from a different machine. We will post a lot of content that has been sent when we have our files back.

  8. Jim H. says:

    We moved to P.H. from California and I became an 8th grader for the 64-65 school year. My first time ever skiing was there. I believe it was still open (as Jack Pine) as late as winter of 66-67, or even 67-68 because a friend of mine skied with me there and I didn’t meet him until 65-66 school year, and we drove there so it had to be the winter of 10th grade at the earliest.(66-67) and possible a year later when we were juniors. (67-68). Black Forest opened after Jack Pine and it over-shadowed Jack Pine and I’m pretty sure just about all the local ski business went to Black Forest. Jack Pine may have had a little longer/higher hill than Black Forest, but B.F. had more runs and a better location compared to J.P.
    When Black Forest opened, it was owned by the guy who owned and operated “The Dome.” By the way, the boots were leather, lace-up, the bindings were cable and the skis were wood with a plastic coating on the bottom. The metal edges were not all one piece. They were kind of tongue and groove with at least 20 – 25 little screws along each edge holding them on the skis.

  9. brandon nanney says:

    my uncle tom and aunt toots nanney hence the name (TNT) Tom and Toots Nanney my uncle tom bought it in the 70’s he made it into a ski lodge in the winter and motocross in the summer

  10. Bill D says:

    Jack Pine Valley was where I first developed an appreciation for snow-covered hills – because Jack Pine Valley was so rarely snow-covered. In 1965 I replaced my uber-crappy Werner wood skis (ebonite bottom, haha), cable bindings and merely crappy leather boots with a pair of Lange boots, Marker Bindings and Head Masters. Never forgot that first day at JPV with the new stuff…there was barely any snow & rocks ate the skis’ slick plastic bottoms; and while waiting my turn on the rope, some dingbat ooc skier plowed into and over me – scratching the dickens out of the skis’ shiny black uppers. Did I read that the property is for sale?

  11. William Deater says:

    Doug Conlan and Bob Quaine built JPV in the early 60’s Fred Warshefske and his sons built the lodge. This land was part of the Conlan family farm at the corner of Burtch and Gibbons Rd. It is a private drive called Conlan Dr. I have at the Grant Twp. Hall a tow pass from the lodge. Many good memories of the day it opened. I worked for Dock’s Sporting Goods in the pro shop in the lodge as a teenager. Bill

  12. Jon David Wanner says:

    One of my family members bought the TNT in the early 1980s. Francis Cabana, Dr.Ryan L Schroeder bought part of it as well, Ryan built a unusal home there, actually really nice octagon shape to it.

    • Susan Moore says:

      We were there last year and noticed that the lodge was still there and, it was in the process of a new metal roof. There were other houses but, I didn’t notice an octagon home.

  13. Susan says:

    We were part owners of Circle TNT in the 70’s. The main hill ended near the Black River. Marilyn Turner from Channel.7 News used to call for ski reports, powder, base, etc. We ran motocross races in the summer. Sadly, the sun shone bright on the hills and melted the snow we made.

  14. Steve Cushman says:

    Ran across this website and it brought back a lot of memories. Grew up in Port Huron in the 60’s and early 70’s. Used to ski at Black Forest most of the time. You could get a student membership for about $30 as I recall. We called it the Swamp because they made snow with water pumped from the Black River and the snow would be a dirty yellow. We’d go to Jack Pine once and awhile but it was farther away, not as big and often closed with no snow. Miss those days.

  15. Susan Moore says:

    We were part owners when it was Circle TNT. We also ran motocross in the summer

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