Home > Announcement, Cultural Movement, Economics, Grand Visioning, Hickory Hills, Parks and Recreation, Videos > “Light the Night” A History of Hickory Hills Released

“Light the Night” A History of Hickory Hills Released

Go Team!

After two years, two local high school students have finished their tribute history to Hickory Hills, Traverse City’s municipally operated ski hill. Molly Tompkins and Ryan Ness have collected stories from hundreds of people for the tribute to the hill where they learned to ski.

The result, titled “Light the Night“, will be on the bookshelves this December. The easiest way to purchase a copy is to order direct from their website at Preserve Hickory Hills. Proceeds from the sale of the book  will go to the Preserve Hickory organization to work with the City of Traverse City and the Ski Club to ensure that Hickory Hills is preserved for the coming generations.

We knew Hickory Hills contributed significantly to Traverse City’s heritage, but through the process of writing this book, we have come to realize its history is richer than we ever imagined, wrote the authors in the Record Eagle earlier this month.

Some fun facts they came up with:

  • Hickory Hills was the first Michigan ski area to have lights for night skiing.
  • Traverse City High School was the first school in the state with a varsity ski team.
  • Little known, but there are also 5-kilometers of cross-country ski trails.

As a reminder of what type of memories will happen in just a few weeks–how about a face-plant at the 48 second mark of the following video. Oh, the memories, you gotta have them.

Hickory Jumps by 

A big MyWHaT thank you to Molly and Ryan for the book and the continued support of a great community destination and service.

Have a memory of Hickory Hills?


NOTE: Hickory Hills remains a topic of discussion at the City since it was tagged as an “unnecessary subsidy” by some in the COFAC report. Although there is no immediate threat that the City would even think about selling it, that was where some people started. Currently, the City is exploring options of how to raise revenue from the property. Two suggestions out there include designing and building for summer events (mainly an attractive lodge) and the addition of a tubing run. You can view the Tubing study at the City’s Hickory Hills web page. If you’d like to contribute to the discussion, the Parks and Recreation Commission meets every first Thursday of the month or you can send us an email

  1. tschmidt
    November 23, 2011 at 11:48 am

    So very lucky to have Hickory right in town. Maybe the best family activity where everyone can be outside together doing their thing…once you master the tow rope and snowplow, you’re free to roam. We can be there and on the slopes in 10 minutes (even bikable on certain days up Randolph with the boys and skiis in tow). Makes embracing winter so easy. We’ve all got our fingers crossed for snow!

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