Michigan’s Sugar Loaf Resort, which has been closed since the 2000 season, has once again popped up in the news for yet another potential reopening.
The Glen Arbor Sun has reported that a local Leelanau County resort owner is spearheading a development plan that would possibly open Sugar Loaf to cross country skiing and ice climbing this winter.
A co-owner of nearby Fountain Point Resort, Erik Zehender, is proposing to lease the property from its current owner, Kate Wickstrom, to create the nonprofit Sugar Loaf Mountain Club to offer backcountry and groomed trails for cross country skiing to members of the club. Under the proposal, members would share in all the operating expenses, according to the Sun. It would not involve lift-served skiing.
Wickstrom has confirmed that discussions are ongoing to lease the property and a deal might be completed by Thanksgiving.
Last year, another potential bidder from the Las Vegas area, former boxer Liko Smith, was looking to put a deal together, but it turned out he was underfinanced and talks eventually broke off. Others have looked, but no offers have been forthcoming.
The resort, which opened in the 1970s, was once considered one of the top ski areas in the Wolverine State and was the largest employer in the county. It fell on hard times in the 1990s, went into bankruptcy, was resold and never recovered its previous prestige—closing at the end of the 2000 ski season. It has sat vacant since that time, and the lodge is unusable.