During the 1930's, some residents of Indiana, Grand Rapids and Cadillac were participating in winter sports, and were interested in starting a local ski area. The United States Forest Service co-operated, and a winter ski area was created, (near Traverse City, and Big Bear Dunes) with a Civilian Conservation Corps building and a single ski run, known as "Number One" being built. The first ski lift, a rope tow, was powered by a Ford Model A car engine. This engine was later replaced by a Packard Motor car engine.

One year after the first ski area in Michigan was dedicated (January 1938) a ski club was formed with fifty-three members from 13 communities. They included Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ionia, Lansing, Manistee, Midland, Muskegon, Reed City, and Saginaw.

The area, formed and built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, had toboggan slides and downhill ski trails but no up-hill transportation. The club soon installed an old Dodge engine and an engineer/member from Shakespeare Fishing Gear of Kalamazoo designed a rope tow.

Immediately the club purchased two Packard engines for $103.00 plus other necessary materials for $58.59. These were delivered to Camp Axin, the C.C.C.camp, on January 12, 1941. Oldberg Engineereing Co. donated two mufflers, two instrument panels, and one transmission for $79.46. So two more rope tows were added for uphill convenience.

The local high school kids were transported by school buses on Saturdays to ski until the area closed in March 1942 due to World War II.

With the return of veterans, many of whom served in the 10thMountain Division Ski Troops, the Club membership increased, and a ski patrol was formed under the direction of "Buck" Rogers of Manistee and the ski school was directed by Monty Montague of the 10th Mountain Troops.

Notable members of the ski club were Gerald Ford, prior to becoming a Legislative House member and President, and Paul Bailey, founder of Arby's and a major investor in the Copper Mountain Ski Resort, Colorado., and Anson "Tony" Hedgecock, Jr. coach of the men's alpine team from 1975 through the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics

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Skilike Zaphod you are right about everything. DON'T come to Caberfae any more. I'm sure you'll have more fun at all those other resorts YOU helped design.

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Jan 23, 2022Liked by Stuart Winchester

Caberfae is an interesting mix: A lot of good decision mix with some truly awful ones. For several years now they have increasingly limited their hours of operation, for example. It's great that they have built, and continue to build, better hills; but they are increasingly useless as earlier closing-times so greatly limit skiing. For example, an 8:00pm closing time most weekdays (sometimes earlier!) means that even locals can no longer ski there after work; there isn't enough time in the evenings to make it worthwhile, making their excellent runs useless. This season brings shorter Friday and MUCH shorter Sunday hours, meaning that those of us who live further away now have a single day, Saturday, on which to make the trip to the peaks. Spend more than 10 minutes in a lift-line and you'll begin to hear the dissatisfaction regarding this policy in particular. It's great that they are adding snow-making, but they really needed to study someplace like Nubs first, because Caberfae is adding guns in place that absolutely RUIN once great ski-runs. Instead of keeping the guns off the the side, they are smattered all across the middle of runs. It's maddening (and, it's madness considering they don't pad those things like every other ski resort does; they are basically installing killing machines in the middle of runs.) They don't even leave their nice new outdoor area of Arlo's open after the slopes close. We would love to hang there afterwards and have a late snack and a beer before heading home. But nope, only the unenjoyable new facility in the lodge is open later than last run. Guess who gets our $? One of the various bars or taverns on the way home. So they have/are building great runs. They have/are upgrading facilities across the board. They are also closing the runs and closing the facilities, and ruining the existing runs due to lack of forethought. I think this is the last season we will be able to ski there; it will have to be Crystal from now on, as they have hours that makes some sort of sense. Sad, as the Peaks has better runs, but increasingly useless runs due to aforementioned changes.

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