Improvements to the Hickory Hills Receration Area will build upon a four-seasons park for all to enjoy! In 2022, Phase 2 of the Hickory Hills Master Plan kicked off. Initial work will add snowmaking to the Nordic Trails in the woods area near the entrance, add snowmaking hydrants on Swede to improve snowmaking efficiency, and add a third booster pump to the snowmaking system.
In addition, Phase 2 of the Hickory Hills Master Plan is to address the need for lighting of the Nordic Trails in the woods area near the entrance, expanded snowmaking, nordic trails improvements, and a study for summer activities including mountain biking.
Over $5 million has been invested at Hickory since 2017 to support park improvements including the new lodge and related infrastructure; new Nordic, alpine, and hiking trails; expanded disc golf; conveyor lift, and a sledding hill.
Phase 2 of the Hickory Hills Master Plan work is approximately $3323,640. Preserve Hickory, their fundraising partner provided $260,745 which includes a $125,000 grant from the Great Lakes Sports Commission. A $50,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant was received, $7,500 from in-kind services from contractors, and $5,605 fund balance for the project. An additional $28,465 in materials was provided from Traverse City Light & Power
$65,000 of the funds from Preserve Hickory are dedicated to improvements relating to Nordic Trail and Alpine Trail homologation to hold sanctioned events and summer use activities such as mountain bike trails which are in discussion.
Hickory Hills Ski Area is owned and operated by the City of Traverse City. Hickory Hills began operations in the winter of 1950 -51 on 12 City-owned acres. Adjacent land was leased or used by friendly agreement. The City now owns approximately 125 acres. The original lodge, no longer in use at the base of Buck & Pete, was constructed in the mid-1950s and housed a a fireplace and snack bar.
In 2018, Hickory Hills underwent significant infrastructure improvements due to more than $4 Million Dollars being allocated for improvements. With the expansion, Hickory Hills now has a brand new lodge, a new maintenance building, and much more ski terrain. Hickory Hills features 13 runs with 1 beginner, 7 intermediate, and 5 advanced runs and a dedicated terrain park and rail park. Also, on the beginner slope "Fast Tammy" we have a magic carpet lift. Night skiing is available on most of the runs. Cross country skiers will find more than 5k of trails with a 1k trail lighted for night skiing. The Ski Patrol assists by promoting safe skiing and offering first aid services.
Prior to 1985, Hickory Hills was completely at the whim of nature for its snow. The number of skiing days ranged from a low of 29 in 1983-84 to a high of 83 days in 1958-59. Since 1985 the number of days has stabilized with an average of 70 skiing days per year since snow making equipment was installed. Snow making capabilities now exist on six of eight runs.
Hickory Hills feature 8 runs with 1 beginner, 5 intermediate, and 2 advanced runs that are serviced by 5 rope tows. Night skiing is available on 7 of the runs. Cross country skiers will find 5 k of trails with a 1 k trail lighted for night skiing. The Ski Patrol assists by promoting safe skiing and offering first aid services.
Each year thousands of recreational enthusiasts enjoy the Hickory Hills Ski Area for snowboarding, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and recreational snow-shoeing. In addition to the general public, many community organizations rely on Hickory Hills for their programs and activities including the Grand Traverse Ski Club, the Traverse City Central High School Varsity Ski Team (2010 Boys State Champions!), the middle school ski teams of TC West Middle School and TC East Middle School as well as the VASA High School Nordic Ski Club. Clearly, the long-term financial viability of this tremendous community asset is an important issue for not only the City of Traverse City but also for those families and young people who enjoy the accessible and affordable recreational opportunities available at Hickory.