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Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:03 pm

The discussion about Sugar Loaf in the other thread got me thinking about lost ski areas in Michigan. There is a pretty detailed website on lost areas in New England. Is there one for Michigan or the midwest? It sounds like Sugar Loaf is heading in that direction. I know of one near Brooklyn Mi (Southeastern MI). I don't know the name of that one (maybe Irish Hills ski area) and it has been gone quite a long time according to the person who told me and I couldn't find anything about it on the web. There have got to be a number of them around Michigan.

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:23 pm

Timberlee, which is about 10min NW of Traverse City. There was another one I believe close to Caberfae Peaks. That area is pretty cool out there & has the highest elevation in the mitt.

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:21 pm

I cant recall the name but it was down river area near Detroit.
It was a old garbage dump known as Mt Trash more to locals.
Any ideas? ](*,)

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:13 am

I cant recall the name but it was down river area near Detroit.
It was a old garbage dump known as Mt Trash more to locals.
Any ideas? ](*,)

It was called River View Highlands

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:11 pm

Yes Mi Skier that the one i was thinking of, river View highlands. It must have had a good view of the Detroit river

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:17 pm

I have never seen the place I just know when I moved here from New York I could not believe they made a ski hill out of trash.

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:42 pm

Mio Mountain
I was in the area ice fishin last year when we got a pretty good storm. Went the the hill the next day to hike for some fresh snow. Unfortunately the snowmobilers beat me to it :x

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:49 pm

I skied at Sugar Loaf a couple of times around 1970. Didn't they have a trail called Hemlock or was that Boyne?

Other closed MI ski areas that I can think of:

Mt. Grampian in Oxford (east of town). They had one double chairlift and some surface lifts.

SilverBell in Lake Orion (east of town). All that I remember at SilverBell were surface lifts and maybe 150 feet of vertical.

Teeple Hill west and south of Alpine Valley in the Highland State Rec Area. At one time they had 200 ft vertical and several rope tows.

I skied at Thunder Mtn once around 1970 also. It was a Boyne-family ski-area north of Walloon Hills, another closed Boyne property. Thunder Mtn had either one or two double chairlifts and some surface lifts, and Walloon only had t-bars and surface lifts.

At one time Franklin Hill in Franklin, MI had either a t-bar or a j-bar and rope tows too. Some friends and I destroyed a toboggan there in 1976.

Riverview Highlands was illegally built without proper permits and after a protracted battle the city forced the owner to remove the trash. At one time it had a couple of chairlifts and about 200 feet vertical.

Irish Hills Winter Sports Park had one double chairlift at one time near Brooklyn, MI. I remember ads for it in the 1970s.

Is Mio Mountain open or closed? How about Sylvan Knob? Or Otsego?

Back in the early 1970s I skied as part of a youth group at Bear Mtn west of Grayling. They had a high-speed toboggan slide that I remember and one chairlift.

I grew-up in the Keego Harbor/Orchard Lake area and grew-up skiing at Alpine Valley. I first started skiing it was on what then was a t-bar at Stowe, VT when we lived for 2 years in Burlington, VT in the 1961/62 ski season. I had one aunt who lived near Okemo and another that owned a condo at the base of Burke Mtn in Vermont. During the 1960s/70s/80s I skied a lot in New England and western NY State. I remember Okemo when they had 7 diesel pomalifts on 2100 feet vertical, Killington when their old gondola was brand-new, and even Round-Top, VT, which is now The Bear Creek Club. Another place in New England that I recommend is Waterville Valley on weekdays, as they have 2000 feet vertical and a base to summit HS quad. The closest skiing with over 1000 feet of vertical to Detroit is Bristol Mtn south of Rochester, NY though you will need a passport to drive there through Canada these days. In 1975-77 I went to Western Michigan University and skied at Timber Ridge several times. In 1983 I moved to Colorado and in 1983-84 I was a lift operator at Beaver Creek. These days I live an hour drive to Eldora Ski Area in Colorado, which has 8 chairlifts on a 1600 ft vertical drop. Nothing like Corona Face when it is groomed!

Talk about cheap!!! My wife just got a deal to fly Southwest Airlines from Denver to Indianapolis for $59 each way!!! Detroit to Denver can be had for $119 on either Southwest or Frontier, and Chicago Midway to Denver is $89. Out of Cleveland Southwest is $99 and Frontier flies out of Akron/Canton for the same price. You can even fly to Denver from Dayton for $99 on Frontier too. Ski season here will last another two weeks and several higher-altitude ski areas will be open into and through May. Check-out both Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Basin as they will both stay open late.

Other closed ski area websites: covers New England and has links to a website covering closed Washington and Oregon ski areas, and separately closed California ski areas.

DC SKi covers closed ski areas in the mid-Atlantic region including Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. I have skied at Laurel Mtn, PA, which was a former private ski area with 900 feet vertical that has been closed for some years. It was recently bought by Seven Springs and may reopen.

Colorado Ski has closed ski areas in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah. I have skied at both Berthoud Pass and Geneva Basin which are on their closed ski areas list.

Any more closed Michigan ski areas that anyone can think of? Another one that I can think of is south of Grand Haven that had rope tows but I can't remember the name of the place or when it closed. Is Pando (NE of Grand Rapids) still open? That was a quaint little ski area.

The Old Timer, 48 seasons of skiing history!!!

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:44 pm

Here are 3 more areas no longer found in michigan -
Bear Hill's ski area at Bear Lake Michigan 49614, our ski team at Bear Lake High School used to practice there in the early 1970's. Rope tows
Briar Hill ski area near Mesick Michigan - Ski soaring jump and downhill skiing, rope tows
Elberta Ski jump - Elberta, Michigan. Ski soaring jump that had model T powering the ski tow, was told jumpers soared past landing area and had bad landings-like falling out of the sky onto flat ground-lol. We used to climb the old jump hill on dirt bikes in the 70's. :snowball fight:

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:27 am

Are you referring to the Elberta that is across the bay from Frankfort? That town's not very big, where was the ski jump, on the backside of the dune?

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:25 pm

Lost Ski areas: could "Silver Bell" be the former "Mount Christie"? There is a subdivision in Lake Orion called Mt Christie Estates that upon construction, referred to as being a former ski area of that name. This would have been a small perhaps even private area that closed in the 60's or 70's. I am too young to know about this but as an avid skiier, interested.

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:54 pm

Elberta ski jump was on the elberta side of the harbor. After passing west through elberta going to dune area - after the last house there were wood steps similar to rail road ties going up from the road on the south side. At the top of the climb the jump was north west several hundred yards.

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:27 am

I've been looking for years for a "lost" ski area where I learned to ski in 1963-1964. It was called Summit Ski Club. I recently (finally) found it in an old copy (January 1962) of "Motor News" (now Michigan Living Magazine). It was on Foley Rd., 3.5 miles south of Fenton, MI. It was included in a list of "southeastern Michigan ski centers." Others in the list are: Dryden, Mt. Christie, Grandview Orchards, Mt. Holly, Grampian Mountain, Alpine Valley. Also mentioned are "limited" facilities at Bald Mountain and Pinckney recreation areas. "More elaborate setups" include Teeple Hill in the Highland Recreation Area and at the Kandahar Ski Club at the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. A brief description of the location of each is included in the article. Another article in the magazine is titled, "Ten New Ski Areas Open In Michigan This Winter." This lists Thunder Bowl in the UP, as well as the following in the Lower Peninsula: Pleasant Valley (southwest of East Jordan), Bear Hills at Bear Lake, McGuire's Ski Resort (south of Cadillac), Grand Haven Ski Bowl at Grand Haven, Eskar Hills (Middleville), Little Switzerland (west of Three Rivers), Apple Mountain (northwest of Saginaw) and Lee-Tow Winter Sports Park (near Caro). I hope this information will be valued by someone out there who enjoys this sort of thing.

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:14 am

According to the map on the Christie Estates website, Christie Mtn was north of Lapeer in Metamora Township, just west of M-24. There is a Silverbell Road that runs east and west in Lapeer, my recollection is that Silverbell Hill was east of M-24, looks like it became a subdivision too, or perhaps it became the Bald Mountain golf course, which is just north of Silverbell Road. From the parking lot at Silverbell I remember a low ridge facing east I believe with several rope tows, it was probably less than a mile east of M-24. I skied there once in the 1960s. Mt Grampian was maybe a mile east of Oxford, and their slopes faced north and northeast. The site of Mt. Grampian is still visible on Google Earth, the parking lots are still there. I'm still wondering about Franklin Hill, at one time they had either a t-bar or a j-bar and some rope tows and a couple of slopes that faced north, though I never saw the lifts operate since the mid-1960s. On Google Earth a couple of short slopes are still visible west of Franklin Rd maybe a half mile south of 14 Mile Rd, just south of a couple of baseball diamonds in an area now called Franklin Park. I remember when Alpine Valley only had 2 chairlifts, two t-bars, and some ropetows. I remember once when some gal with long hair got her hair caught in the Mogul Hill ropetow and it lifted her right off the snow, lucky for safety gates, eh?

Check-out this site, they have some photos of Michigan and many other States ski history on it. Anyone remember Walloon Hills with Michigan's longest pomalift??? Now that is something to be proud of!!! Check-out the t-bar at Indianhead too.

Re: Lost Michigan Ski Areas

Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:24 am

FYI - Someone is in the process of buying the sugarloaf, and the two surrounding golf clubs and he plans on opening the ski hill this winter with a least one new chairlift. Yes, I know we've all heard this one before but this guy has supposedly brokered the deal to get the waste water treatment plant in with the package so the ski resort can reopen. We'll see what happens 8-[

EDIT - I got beat to the punch on this one. #-o
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