Resurrecting a Ski Resort

Over at the Michigan Ski Report on the Fall Line Blog Jason notes:

As an individual that grew up skiing in Northern Michigan, including Sugar Loaf, I have been considering a post on the subject for some time now and didn’t feel inclined to write about it until the most recent article was posted by the Traverse City Record Eagle on Saturday. It appears as if another investor is interested in purchasing the dilapidated resort in the hopes that they can turn it around. I’m optimistic about the whole concept of Sugar Loaf making a comeback, I just have a hard time understanding how and when.

Sugarloaf Mountain is near Frankfort Michigan which is in the Northwest corner of Michigan on Lake Michigan straight across and a little North of Algoma Wisconsin. One can expect Sugarloaf to be the beneficiary of lots of lake effect snow.

As you can tell from Jason’s quote the resort has been non-operational and he presents some photographic evidence of the ghost-mountain nature of the resort.

Jason’s post was picked up by Sean Smith who is planning on bringing the resort back into operation:

It comes down to sweat, and more sweat and a vision that is precise. Our plans are to focus on the hotel first, as we understand the true nature of what we’re dealing with on the mountain and the sugar barn and the golf course. And have the mountain open by December 25th, Samuele Piana of Ski Resort Solutions is giving me a month of his life to assess what we need to do to make that happen starting May 1st.

I have never skied at Sugarloaf Mountain so I am unable to contribute memories or memorabilia to his effort, but I encourage anyone who may be reading this story to contribute it to his effort to bring Sugarloaf Mountain back into being.

Mr. Smith has his work cut out for him. The resort has been closed for a number of years, and while I do not understand the underlying reasons for its closure there has to be a reason it has not reopened in years. The current business and economic environment can not help in his effort adding more hurdles and more expense to the effort, but what Mr. Smith needs is encouragement to keep fighting through the problems he will inevitably face.

There is insurance, restoring the equipment, lawyers to retain, accountants to hire, updating the equipment, restoring the lodges, securing financing, selling season passes and lift tickets, and on and on and on. Will he succeed? We will see and we will hope.

Good Stuff!


  1. You have to admire someone who can grasp such a vision and persevere to the end! It’s inspiring really to see such transformation take place. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Patrick, Yeah it sounds like it has a lot of promise.

    I was talking with a fellow in the industry yesterday and he is skeptical, noting (like many others) the dire straits of MI’s economy and what it means for the tourism and resort industry in the state.

    There are a number of ski resorts in the UP and Minnesota with (what I am told) stellar vistas over Lake Superior. One resort I’ve been to you can catch glimpses of the lake from one of the chairs on the way up. I need to check out some of those other places. Most people are hopeful it can be pulled off, but in the meantime they are skeptical.

  3. Yeah, it is a huge leap. I hope it can be done. While Sugarloaf is far from a destination ski resort it is small resorts like these future Olympians get their starts at. Lyndsey Vonn started at a small resort near Minneapolis a place called Buck Hill.

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