Same Old Story — Paul Bunyan Ski Area

I was riding up this weekend and as is usual I invite others to ride along. I am more concerned about wasting an opportunity to have a good conversation or network with others. Riding up the chairs with others leads to some interesting meetings.

Anyway, one fellow I rode up with this last weekend informed me he was from Lakewood Wisconsin. I then asked him about the Paul Bunyan Ski Area, a ski resort near Lakewood I know has been out of operation for a long time.

He had some interesting things to say about the situation. He told me he recalls parent dropping off their children on empty days and the children would ski all day long and get to hang out and meet with each other. His take was the meeting and socializing with others left a large and positive impact on the lives of those youngsters.

Then we come back to that constant refrain. Who knows, if some future Olympian or World Cup skier would have discovered the joys of skiing or snowboarding at Paul Bunyan? Still, no hill should ever expect that but all the same, it is important to introduce to our children the joys of being outdoors in the winter time. The children around Lakewood may not have easy access to some downhill skiing anymore, but at least they have access to XC skiing.

Those of you who know the region understand the other big winter activities are ice-fishing and snowmobiling. I particularly like the later (whereas my wife likes the former — anything that means fish in the pan she is all for) but do not own a snowmobile. While snowmobiling can be an intense physical activity I just find it less satisfying and places less demands on the body than skiing.

I fear this is a story I will be writing again.

Good Stuff!


  1. Thanks for the post. Yes, it’s too bad that almost all of the old mom-and-pop ski hills are gone now. I grew up in Appleton, and Paul Bunyan was the first hill I ever skiied, in January of ’71… beginning what is still one of the biggest joys of my life. Though I now live at the base of a major Colorado ski resort, I’ve never forgotten that very first day at Paul Bunyan.

  2. Jim,

    Thanks for the comment, I think it one of the best I’ve had here and it is nice to see my old material getting some good attention.

    I don’t recall too much from my first day on skis. I vaguely recall it at Hidden Valley and it did not make that much of an impression at me at the time, even if I was older those memories are shrouded in a fog of time. I recall more distinctly my second time on skis while in HS (again Hidden Valley around Manitowoc) but once again, once that winter was over I did not get back on skis until the winter of ’98 and I’ve been on them every since.

    These resorts small they may be can birth Olympic champions. Thanks for reading the Wisconsin Skier and thanks even more for commenting!

  3. I learned to ski at PB. It is an activity that has been a big part of my life since. I still recall fondly of my beginner days of leather lace boots and cubco bindings to my skier/snowboard daughters. I have worked at ski resorts in Utah,am currently Lift Operations Manager at a Ski area in New York, and have skied all over the world. This from humble beginnings at PB! Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to learn a sport I will participate in for the rest of my life and a legacy passed to my kids!

  4. Ken, thanks so much for the comment. Wow, Paul Bunyan is another one of those little ski hills that COULD!

  5. I taught a girlfriend to ski. First thing, don’t sit on the tbar, just rest your behind against it. Well, she sat on it and she fell and I quickly grabbed the bar and it pulled me up the hill. What an early ski memory from Paul Bunyan. Good times.

  6. I, and many of my high school friends in the early 80’s, hung out at PB every day we could. Sure, it was a small hill for downhill skiing but it was OUR hill. Many gloves were lost on the rope tow along with many, many crashes on the T-bar. Great laughs and great fun with some awesome friends. Thanks for the memories!

  7. Reading these comments bring back memories of PB and Gresham, WI.l, as well learned how to ski there while our parents would spend the weekend snowmobiling in Lakewood. We have lived in Panama City, FL,for 25 years after leaving Germany and have not skied since. Will always remember PB!

  8. Hi Jack, thanks for reading and commenting on this. I need to stop around the area sometime and get some photographs. I recall seeing signs pointing to PB when I was young but they are long since gone. Cheers!

  9. Just tried to find PB. Didn’t recognize where it should have been. Thought it was a motocross area but didn’t find it.
    I was a new skier in 1962 and still learning at my first time at PB. I was also newly pregnant
    I fell on the TBar and stopped it. Crawled out of the way. Two young guys came by and lifted me up. Later that afternoon I did the same thing. Unbelievably, the same two guys came by–but this time they said, “you’re on your own Lady!” Good memories.

  10. Great memories of skiing when I was in high school from 1973-1976. We used to drive from Green Bay many weekends in winter. I remember that they did not have a chair lift but a T bar. I think I went through several pairs of glove and jeans from the wear of that contraption. I was happy to find out that Brule Mountain my favorite ski area back then is still in operation up in Iron River, MI in the UP.
    We also used to ski at the Pink Panther ski area in Green Bay and also Rib Mountain in Wausau. Those were some great memories.

  11. Hi frank,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, Ski Brule is now 100% open for the season and is the place I fell in love with skiing. On Facebook there is a page entitled “Lost Wisconsin Ski Areas” and they recently featured Pink Panther. Did you ever ski Hidden Valley around Maribel/Manitowoc? Also, a formerly lost ski area is coming back the resort/area around Cable.

    Happy New Year!

  12. Was at the Ski Hill Bar last week and the owners are pretty dead set on reopening the ski hill. Plenty of work has been done and plenty more to do. Stay tuned!

  13. Good News for the Paul Bunyan fans! The family has re-opened the hill after being closed for 25 years!! Was there Saturday 2-20-21 and it was a beautiful sight!! A flurry of activity. Families enjoying the slopes. It was AWESOME!!

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