County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Snowsnake Celebrates 70 Years

Clare County's First Ski Area

Posted

As early as December of 1948 the Clare Sentinel and the Clare County Cleaver were reporting the development of Snowsnake Mountain by James D’Arcy, local real estate developer.

December 1948

Snowsnake Mountain, a new northern Michigan winter sports center, is being established eight miles north and a half mile west, of Clare and now only awaits sufficient snowfall for its opening. A forty-two by twenty-four foot restaurant with glass front affords a beautiful view across the bowl to the skiing area and a twelve by twenty-four foot warming house for the comfort of guests and for waxing skiis is situated at the foot of the rope tow installed to help skiers up the mountain. Seven ski runs at different degrees of steepness will provide skiing for all types of skiers from beginners to experts and slopes are provided for beginners, intermediates and experts. Snowsnake Mountain is the closest ski area to Clare and southern Michigan, reducing travel distance of down state skiers by almost fifty miles, and night skiing under lights will be provided. The new skiing location lies four miles north of James Hill, north Michigan snow divide, and all runs and areas are laid on north and northwest slopes, assuring skiiers of continued skiing here during the season. The slopes have been bulldozed, removing all stumps and logs, to provide unobstructed courses. Snowsnake Mountain is being developed by James D’Arcy, well known realtor, who announces that the place is now open for inspection and will be open for skiing as soon as weather permits.”

In the winter of 1949, the Cleaver was running regular items about the activities at Snowsnake:

1949

“A record crowd enjoyed the week end of favorable ski weather at Snowsnake Mountain. The slopes were well covered with the right kind of snow for the first time this winter. Tow machinery was continually kept busy.”

“A ski meet will be held at Snowsnake Mountain Saturday and Sunday of this week; according to James A. D’Arcy, owner of the slides. A program has been planned for the two day fete and a large crowd is expected at the scene both days with the following events taking place: Saturday program-Men’s downhill race, Women’s downhill race, Men’s Trail Race, Women’s Trail Race, Men’s Slalom Race, Women’s Slalom race.  Sunday Program-Barrell Stave slalom, Tandem slalom, Backward slalom, Exhibition skiing, Crowning of Clare County Snow Queen.  Contestants rated by points in all events.  First prize, one pair custom build racing skis with French technique bindings. Second prize, pass to Snowsnake Mountain until January 1, 1950. Third prize, $25.00 credit on tow tickets at Snowsnake Mountain. Fourth prize, $15.00 credit on tow tickets at Snowsnake Mountain.  Fifth prize, aluminum ski poles. A Skier’s Ball will be held at the Hotel Doherty on Saturday, at 9:30 p.m. The admission as well as dancing will be free.  General skiing as usual on both days, except on Nosedive slope during the events.”

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