Carousel Mountain – Holland

Sports Illustrated, in their 1963 midwest ski areas update noted:

Carousel Mountain, Holland: This new $1 million development has a chair lift, T bar and J bar servicing 10 runs that criss cross downhill. Night skiing is available, and all 40 acres are covered by snow-making machinery. There are no overnight accommodations, but the dining room holds 150, the cafeteria 200, and there is parking for 3,000 cars. Ski rentals are available.

The area was still functioning in 1970. The 1971 AAA Michigan Winter Sports Fun List published in the Dec. 10, 1970 edition of The Cass City Chronicle says Carousel Mountain had 9 slopes, a chair lift, T-bar and J-bar, and several rope tows. It also offered snowmaking.

The Hope College Public Relations site lists an obituary for Vern Schippers, class of ’51 containing the following:

He loved to ski and served as director of the National Ski Patrol at Carousel Mountain, the former ski resort located near what is now Scenic Shores near Lake Michigan on Holland’s south side.

Scenic Shores is a subdivision. Perhaps the area was sold for real estate development?

Karen Vocke visited the site of Carousel Mountain this year and sent us this photo of the foundations of one of the buildings.

Photo by Karen Vocke

Here is the foundation of one of the buildings at the old ski resort

24 Responses to Carousel Mountain – Holland

  1. Michael Samis says:

    Hi. I own a summer cottage along Lake Michigan not far from what used to be Carousel Mtn. ski resort. I was walking there this past Monday, which I haven’t done in a long time. (The verticles provide a great workout.) From the topopgraphy, one can really see how this could have been a fairly good Midwest ski area. From what I understand, you are correct – the property was sold to develop Scenic Shores, which is a subdivision. Apparently the top part of the mountain was shaved off along the Lake to allow for the houses, however, back from the Lake the elevation goes quite high and the views are impressive. Houses were also built in this area.

    An acquintance of mine from the cottage area skied Carousel many times and knows much about it, as I am sure many locals do. I will see what I can find out and pass it on.

    Thanks – your website is a very good idea.

  2. Charley says:

    About 75′ into the woods behind my brother-in-law’s yard on 66th St. is the dilapidated ruins of the Carousel Mountain equipment rental shed. It is visible on Google satellite view. There are still old ski boots laying around it on the ground.

    • ProfesoraV says:

      Hello, Charley,

      That sounds amazing…I drove over to the location to see what was left, but could find nothing. Any chance you could take a photo of this?


  3. Gail says:

    So sad to read this. I had wondered if it changed names or something. Alas, Carousel Mountain joins my Girl Scout Camp as a loss to residential development. I skiied Carousel in my youth a number of times and really liked the area. My Girl Scout troops would bring us up for 3 day weekends; it was great fun. Mastering the J-bar was an accomplishment many could not reach. There was a rope tow fed Bunny Hill area, too. It’s likely the lack of accommodations at the hill itself led to its demise. At least I finally know …

  4. BrendanDoyle says:

    I really wish this place was still around. i go up to grand haven every weekend to ski at mulligans hollow.

  5. suzanne lubeck says:

    Great memories of night skiing after school in Jr. High, hanging in the lodge, my older brother on the ski patrol. I still have my Carosel Mtn. ski pin.

  6. Tom Fullerton says:

    Skied here once or twice in mid-sixties. Loved night skiing.

  7. Tom Sligh says:

    I grew up just North of Carousel in Macatawa. Used to carry my skis down the beach and ski after school. Both my older brothers worked there. The resort closed due to lack of snow two years in a row. They did have overnight accommodations in a small motel just to the east of the parking lot. Originally developed by Norm Archer and the property changed hands a number of times. The main building stood empty for many years and was finally torn down I believe in the 90’s. Fun place to ski and hang out as a kid.

  8. David Bakker says:

    This is where I learned to ski in the mid to late 70’s. The foundation in the picture is for the main lodge & basement rental shop. This was a fun family place to learn. I remember there was a small river that ran through the base area with a small island where the resorts St. Bernard lived in a dog house. I miss this place!

    • David Bakker says:

      I actually have some of the ski lift signs in my garage somewhere as well as a bunch of unused lift tickets and a ski pin in my pun collection!

      • Evan Buit says:

        Today I went to the top of the hill, the chairlift is still there (the roof over the top, and the big gear to turn the cable.

      • Drew Jelgerhuis says:

        Hello David, my wife and i moved to Scenic Shores in 2013 and are very interested in acquiring some Carousel Mt. memorabilia. If you are interested in parting with some of your signs or tickets we would love to hear from you at

  9. Michael Samis says:

    Evan, how do you get to the top without going through someone’s backyard? Exactly where is it? Please give directions and I will try it this Spring when I am back. Thank you.

    • Evan says:

      Sorry for the couple year late reply, turns out it was my birthday when you replied! But if you go past the gaurd shack, then go by the big brown house right on lake mac, there is a dune, the frame of the lift is still up there. Very cool.

  10. Jeff Brosch says:

    Mt Holiday in Traverse City has the chairlift from Carousel Mt. It is the main blue lift at the hill. When we got it in 1985 it was in poor shape and I remember the chairs were all different colors. It still works good and is still used. The story I heard from a old timer from Carousel is that sand would blow on top of the snow from the dunes. Not good for skiing. My family owned Mt Holiday from 1985 til 2002.

  11. Jeff Knudsen says:

    I was in the third grade when I took up skiing at Carousel Mountain. From then on I spent my Summers mowing lawns and doing odd jobs to buy my annual season pass and what ever equipment I needed. I don’t think I ever paid over $100 on any given year for a pass. Night skiing allowed us to ski all week after school and morning noon and night on weekends. We as kids would show off our long string of daily ski tickets stapled to our ski jackets. I still have them. For as small as Carousel Mountain was, it seemed to raise a great batch of skilled skiers with a distinct style. The style probably was the bi-product of small runs forcing us to get in as many turns as possible quickly. The setting was picturesque, nestled in the Sand Dunes of Lake Michigan. The runs did not face the shoreline but if snow conditions allowed, trails could get you there. The lodge was one of my favorites built of Mid Century design combining glass, barn wood and an open concept with two fire places in the middle of the grand room. The restaurant and cafeteria flanked the great room. A wrap around balcony housed the ski shop. The runs were described by the lift that brought you to the top. The rope tows, J bar, T bar and the scariest chairlift I have ever been on spanning a gulch that made you want to hang on to those old wooden chairs for dear life. Adjacent to the T bar was Pale Face, a narrow swath cut through the woods that claimed to be the steepest run in Michigan at the time. Rarely open, It always seemed to be a challenge keeping snow on it but I have vivid memories of the few who mastered it. The Winter snow fall was always an issue and it probably was the main culprit of the Resort’s demise. On good years, we could ski from early december to late March but in the early 70’s the warmer Winters spelled the end. Sadly, Carousel closed the Year I would have been eligible to train for the National Ski patrol but I will never forget the charm and the cast of characters that made up Carousel Mountain.

  12. John Krueger says:

    Do you have a ski pin from Carousel Mt and would you sell it?

    • MILSAP says:

      I’m not sure who you are asking, John. The guy who has pins to sell is named Cliff Essman. You can reach him by replying to his posts on the Ski Area Patches and Pins page as Cliff218 or via Facebook.

  13. MILSAP says:

    Cyd Archer said on May 27, 2015 I just recently learned of your site. I am the daughter of the original owner of Carousel Mountain in Holland, Michigan. It is very ironic that I learned about your site the morning I was leaving for Holland, Michigan to donate all my news articles, brochures, pins, photographs and other memorabilia of Carousel Mountain to Hope College’s Theil Research Center which is part of The Joint Archives of Holland, Michigan. There has been a lot of interest in Carousel Mountain in the last few years which is really amazing. It had an impact on so many young kids lives, and I am glad that my Father’s legacy will live on. The Joint Archives of Holland recently published an article that one of my former high school classmates had written about the history of Carousel Mountain and what it meant to him growing up. If you want to send me your address I am happy to send you the article along with some digital photos I have of the Ski Area and other memorabilia. My Father, Norm Archer was very instrumental in helping develop other ski areas which have also met a similar fate. But I do have an original brochure from Mt. Christie, along with some photos of the development which I am happy to share with you. Let me know if you are interested in these things. Best, Cyd

  14. Hello Cyd,

    In reading your comment on wordpress milsap you mentioned that you would email an article that was written on Carousel Mountain along with some digital photo’s and was wondering if you would be so kind as to email that to me as well? It would be great to show the kids and.. grand kids.

    One of my very first jobs as a youngster about 14-15 was clean up and “chief” dishwasher, ha. When we had good snow that place rocked! Dislocated my shoulder coming down the hill back in the day.

    Those are some fond memories from the late 60’s.

    I still have a hand full of the brochures from when I worked there.

    Best Regards,
    Michael Schrotenboer

  15. rRobert Kort says:

    I remember the first time I ever skied, it was a Saturday morning at Carousel Mountain. I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. I have so many great memories that everyone has been sharing, skiing every night afterschool, having all of those lift passes stapled together like a rite of passage. The chairlift over the gulley. Wow! I had such a passion for skiing I graduated from High school at 17 and moved to Aspen to be a ski bum.Today I am an avid skate skier and every time I hot wax my skis my mind travels back to Carousel Mountain. Thank you!

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