In 1974, Ward Hills added a snow making machine. Howard Reese original owner of Ward Hills, sold the ski area in September 1960 to Camp Martin Johnson who allowed open skiing for some time to the public. 7 slopes, of which five were lighted and six tow ropes.
Ward Hills area operated from the mid 1950′s until the 1970′s. There were several rope tows and many runs. Some were named and some were numbered.
In The Cass City Chronicle for Friday, November 9, 1956, in the “Michigan Mirror” column, Ward Hills near Cadillac is listed among the rapidly developing ski areas of Michigan. According to a Consumers Power brochure from 1959, Ward Hills was 6.5 miles north of Branch, midway between Ludington and Baldwin via US-10 and Co-669. By the way, that now provides you with the geographical location of Sauble, Michigan. They had 4 slopes (1 novice run) 1 tow, instruction, and a warming shelter with a lounge serving snacks.
The Cass City Chronicle printed the 1968 AAA Michigan Guide to Winter Sports Fun on January 4. 1968. It listed Ward Hills as having 8 lighted ski runs, trails, and rope tows. They listed both a Michigan and a Chicago phone number for the resort, no doubt since they were then affiliated with Camp Martin Johnson
Apparently the Ward Hill Ski Area was purchased by the Chicago YMCA and added to their nearby Camp Martin Johnson, listed as being near Irons. Camp Martin Johnson was run by the Hyde Park YMCA from 1926 until 1980. They may have continued to run the tows for winter campers or other users (local school groups) until they closed the camp in 1980 and sold the property, reportedly to Ted Nugent, the “Motor City Mad Man.” It has been sold several times since, the last being to the Ward Hills Lodge. Again, it is now under private ownership.