Rescuing Leelanau’s Sugarloaf Mountain Resort

For decades, Leelanau County’s Sugarloaf Mountain was a destination ski and golf resort that attracted families from throughout the Midwest and was an important employer for a county that has little to offer jobwise through the winter months. But the ski hill and hotel closed in the winter of 2000 (golf courses were purchased and operated separately) and has never reopened. Making matters worse, the resort’s ownership is shrouded in mystery, and pending sales always fall apart for reasons not always clear.

County Commissioner David Shiflet feels it’s time to cut through the murkiness and do whatever it takes to get Sugarloaf back up and running and return it to its place as the economic engine it once was for Leelanau. Enlisting the power of the Internet, Shiflet put a petition online encouraging people to endorse the idea of forming a public/private partnership to move forward. Thus far, more than 800 people have endorsed the petition, with many adding comments covering a range of emotions: "Bring back the loaf!" "This has to be resolved once and for all." "Let the stimulus do something besides line politicians’ pockets"

The language for the petition is below. Want to vote and add a comment of your own? Go to GoPetition: Purchase and Redevelop Sugarloaf.

Petition:We, the undersigned Leelanau County tax payers, residents, visitors, and friends, call on Leelanau County’s Landbank authority, Brownfield Redevelopment authority, Economic Development Corporation, with assistance from Leelanau County Board of Commission, Cleveland Twp. Board, Centerville Twp. Board, to take the necessary steps to get control of the lands, buildings, recreational facilities, and Infrastructure that make up the historical Sugar Loaf Resort Hotel, Ski Runs, Sugar Barn, and Sugar Loaf Service Company and Sewer Plant, including, if necessary, the formation of a nonprofit or municipal entity to manage the facility for the benefit of the entire community.

We urge all private and governmental entities, and all citizens, to come together in a joint effort to bring about the redevelopment of this significant community asset.

Article Comments

  • NCandMI

    I live in North Carolina now. But I grew up in Michigan and spent many summers and winters in northwestern lower Michigan. My wife and I are in the process of buying some land near Crystal Lake and would love to spend time with our family skiing and visiting a revived Sugar Loaf!

    Mark and Kristin Avitabile

  • Anonymous

    Mark and Kristin, Agreed! The discussions are continuing. Will be fascinating to see where it all ends up. Jeff Smith

  • Anonymous

    I loved Sugar Loaf in the 70’s and 80’s it was the best!
    I was trying to figure out were I always skied a run called "The Wall" . I knew it wasn’t at Boyne or Schuss, then I saw some pictures the other day of Sugar Loaf and saw the black diamond sign in one of them. It brought back great memories. I would love to take my family there. It is a beautiful area! Could you ski down the back and see Lake Michigan? I thought I remembered that.


  • Anonymous

    Also enjoyed skiing Awful Awful Awful in the 70’s

    Would come back with my own kids

  • Anonymous

    My dad and I used to ski instruct there and teach 4 H and I also trained in the Leelanau Ski club. its really sad what happened to Sugar Loaf now its just another lump of land. I can’t wait to wax my ski’s and get back out there. cept now I live in nashville where there is no skiing. I want more skiing in Michigan damnit!!!

  • Anonymous

    What a crying shame! Our family enjoyed Sugarloaf for years…our children learned to ski there. We’ve been hoping for another Christmas there…perhaps our children will enjoy one with their children – one day.

    Sad in Florida

  • Anonymous

    Boyne and Nubs are not to capacity most weekends and I can’t see where you would every make any money at this hill. Just to open you would need all new lifts, snowmaking system and a few groomers.

    A college based facility with ski / golf / resort management focus might be an idea. Might even add a trade school for the high schools to use.

    This would mean it would be government owned and run but as I see it the county probably already owns it through back taxes.

  • Anonymous

    Sugar loaf would stive do to the casino just north of it i spent so much time there i would love go and revisit my youth and know many others that agree with me it also has so many attraction near by will draw people too

  • Anonymous

    apparently the GOVERNEMENT can do a whole lot better job than these private sector losers. it was greed and lousy management that brought sugarloaf down