Gone But Not Forgetten: Sugar Loaf Ski Resort
'The Loaf’, was once a bustling winter ski destination, and one of the steepest ski slopes in Michigan. Sadly, Sugar Loaf has remained closed for over 20 years.
By: Matt Fernandez
📍 Cedar, Michigan (near Traverse City)
Sitting at one of the highest points in the county, Sugar Loaf was once magical. Filled with families of skiers eager to shred the fresh snowfall. Now, it sits eerily silent, a far-cry from its heyday, once attracting 3,000-4,000 skiers a day.
What Happened to Sugar Loaf?
Depends on who you ask. After a few bad winters (up here bad winters involve little snow), and increased competition, the original owners defaulted on loans and the bank took over. From there, it’s changed hands the last two decades with false promises to revitalize and restore to once infamous ski slope. Broken promises have come and gone and to this day The Loaf sits empty and alone. Left barren to the cold winter months with no skiers to warm her slopes. No families to create lasting memories. No jobs to revitalize the area during the long winters.
Will Sugar Loaf Ever Re-Open?
It's too good not to re-open. It means too much to the area and the locals. It was once the county’s biggest employer and winter attraction. Now, it’s an eye sore. An economic failure. A depressing reminder to locals of what they once had, but lost. A place for vandals to spray-paint and explore the ruins that remain (much of which were torn down in 2021).
How 'Bout That View?
Sugar Loaf had one of the best views in the State of Michigan. From the top of The Loaf, you could see far and wide. Miles of untouched Northern Michigan land: forests, inland lakes, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan and much more. What a feeling it must have been getting to the top for the first time after a long off-season. What a welcomed sight. The giddiness would set in before plunging down the rugged slopes to the bottom. Now, it’s off-limits to the community that it already took so much from.
If you find yourself sneaking onto the property to check it out (we don’t recommend it), don’t be surprised to see fresh ski tracks. To this day there’s still thrill-seekers who will climb to the peak just to feel the rush of Sugar Loaf one more time.
What's Next for The Loaf?
After 20 years of sitting in silence, the locals have given up. Broken promises have broken hope. Time and time again developers have purchased the land with grand ideas to re-open the once iconic resort. The developer leaves town and leaves the land high and dry for the next developer to purchase. Rinse and repeat.
I never had the chance to ski The Loaf. I was too young when it closed. But from the stories I’ve heard, this place was special. One day, sometime down the road, the right person will come along and take Sugar Loaf back to its prominence. Until then, we’ll wait patiently with hopes of getting the shred the infamous Sugar Loaf slopes.