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Homemade Mountains
December 01, 1958
In the Midwest only money and earth movers stand between people and skiing
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December 01, 1958

Homemade Mountains

In the Midwest only money and earth movers stand between people and skiing

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The No. 2 effort, a steeper but slightly less expensive proposition, is, by contrast with Lookout Mt., a lonesome George proposition. It is called Nub's Nob and is being built outside of Harbor Springs in Michigan, not far from Petoskey on the lower peninsula. Nub is Norman Sarns, a sportsman dedicated to sailing in the summer and skiing in the winter. His wife Doris, once women's national ice boat champion, takes part in both sports with the same enthusiasm. The Sarnses' 45-foot Revelry is one of the busiest and winningest B class sailboats on the Great Lakes (class B winner, Port Huron-Mackinac race last year for the second time running). The Sarnses hope their area is going to be as successful in winter against other lower-peninsula ski developments as their boat is during the summer.

The Sarnses became ski proprietors almost by accident when they bought an all-year house on the shore of Lake Michigan. Directly in back of them was a round little mountain, formerly a sand dune, now overgrown, that looked as though it would be dandy for skiing come winter. It wasn't long before a rope tow was strung up the slope's flank and Nub and Doris Sarns and all their friends were sallying up and down almost to their hearts' content. The one drawback was a warming westerly that used to blow off the lake and wipe out the snow regularly. Sarns took to looking farther inland where the high hills still held the snow. He located one that was a regular icebox: it always had snow. He bought it, and from then on there was a Nub's Nob.

TRAIL BLAZER IN THE SNOW

Sarns tramped his mountain for two years, laying out and rejecting tentative trail plans, studying the snow-holding qualities of the various exposures and clearing timber to make trial trails. Last spring he brought in the crews that in turn brought in Nub's Nob.

Sarns has put in a 1,900-foot Pomagalski double chair that goes up higher than any other in the Midwest (450 vertical feet). It ends on Decision Plateau, from where you can see the Straits of Mackinac, the new bridge to the upper peninsula and Mackinac Island, scene of Revelry's triumphs. From the top are laid out a series of three-quarter to over-a-mile trails. One of the latter is the longest continuous downhill run in the state. The design of all the trails has been thought out to give both easy descents for beginners and artificial mogul corridors for experts.

The Nob ought to have plenty of customers. It is 240 miles from Lansing and Grand Rapids, 275 from Detroit, with a Capital Airlines service to Pellston, 15 minutes away by car. The Sarnses' white-pine lodge beds down 48 persons, and the cocktail bar in the Sarnses' restaurant will hold twice that many. Hotels and motels of the traditional tourist country around Petoskey have more than adequate space to take care of the rest of the skiers.

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