Our History1950's - Present
1957: Harbor Highlands Ski Club
Harbor Highlands Ski Club, a ski area in Harbor Springs, opens. It is the outcome of a brainstorming session among Petoskey and Harbor Springs local businessmen who were searching for a way to entice people to come to Harbor Springs, especially in the winter. They decide that a ski hill might be the answer, roll up their sleeves and start clearing slopes to create the Harbor Highlands Ski Area.
1958/1959: Expansion Of Harbor Highlands
Harbor Highlands expands to add more trails, uphill transportation with three poma lifts, and a single rope tow. A small day lodge and restaurant are also part of the expansion.
1961: Everett Kircher Buys Harbor Highlands
The original group of owners decide they need more financing to take over Harbor Highlands and really get it to where it needs to be. Before that happens, Harbor Highlands went into bankruptcy. Everett Kircher, the owner of Boyne Mountain, buys the shutdown HarborHighlands Ski Area for a very fair price and insists on paying off all the considerable debts and reimbursing all the original shareholders to make sure they recover their investments. His generosity establishes a lot of goodwill and inspires many instant friendships for Boyne Highlands.
1962: Graham's Peak
As part of his negotiations to secure over 2,000 acres of land, one area of property at the top of the mountain wasn’t for sale, rather it is owned by Dr. Graham; a dentist and long-time resident of Harbor Springs. He accumulated approximately 600 acres during the depression years. It is part of his beloved Pioneer Farm. Although he had offers to sell a portion to the former owners of Harbor Highlands, he refused. As Everett and Graham realize their values are the same, he agrees to sell it, but Everett has to build a mound at the top with a view of Lake Michigan and the land below and name it Graham’s Peak.
1963: BOYNE HIGHLANDS IS NAMED
Everett Kircher renames Harbor Highlands “Boyne Highlands” and begins operation in winter 1963/64.
The New York Times writes, “The new development underscores the fact that Northern Michigan, once known only as a summer resort area, now attracts sports enthusiasts and vacationists on a year-round basis. Winter sports, in fact, have grown phenomenally in this region.”
1963: World's First Triple Chair
Boyne Highlands opens December 26, 1963. Kircher installs the world’s first bubble triple chair ever built. The resort also offers eleven trails and five lifts, the Highlands Inn with a dining room, cocktail lounge, swimming pool, cafeteria, and the Highlands Lodge. The rooms are some of the most charming and elegant rooms built.
1965: National Recognition
A Skiing magazine article describes Boyne Highlands as looking “like something Walt Disney designed to capture the charm of Swiss cuckoo-clock architecture, English Tudor, Highland hunting lodge, and mid-Victorian, all rolled into one.”
Highlands Inn, a striking three-level Bavarian-/Old-English-style lodge, is the resort’s first building. From photos of English and other European villages, Everett sketches his vision of Highlands Inn. His drawings are refined by Jim Livingston, an architect and one of Everett’s closest friends and collaborators. Everett Kircher is proud of the new and popular hotel saying, “The building will stand for 100 years and never go out of style.”
Kircher is intent on his operations being regarded as resorts, not merely ski areas, building facilities, and providing a level of service to back it.
Chicago Tribune headline, “Boyne Highlands an Instant Success”
John Bartley and his wife Jane, certified ski instructors and certifiably in love with skiing, want to open a hotel in Vail and decide to ask Everett Kircher for advice. His advice was that they open a hotel at Boyne Highlands. He leases them the land, helps with financing and is happy to have additional rooms for skiers. The Bartley's build their three-story, 70-room hotel at the base of the Boyne Highlands slopes, never to look back on thoughts of moving to Colorado.
1966: The Heather
World-renowned Golf Course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., was commissioned to design the company’s first 18-hole golf course, The Heather. By 1971 it was named one of Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses and became BOYNE’s first golf course of their ten spectacular courses. By all accounts, The Heather started the golf boom in Northwest Michigan, now referred to as “America’s Summer Golf Capital.”
Early days on The Heather with (from left) Chuck Moll, Boyne COO; Bill Fleming, ABC Sportscaster; Everett Kircher; Forrest Evashevski, UofM Quarterback 1948-49; Bill Winchester, Boyne Marketing Director.
1970: The First Logo
1974: Highlands Snow Gun
1974: The Moor
Moor golf course opened, designed by William Newcomb, the course architect designer of the Alpine at Boyne Mountain, and many other Midwest championship courses. The Moor is a favorite of everyone that enjoys a classically designed course. It’s a true championship course, as the best young players in the world compete here every July for the American Junior Golf Association’s Junior All-Star Championship.
1984: Challenge Mountain
In 1984, Everett Kircher donated Walloon Hills Ski Area to the non-profit, Challenge Mountain to be operated as a ski area for disabled and physically-challenged skiers. The ski area operates on the same premises to this very day.
1987: Main Lodge Pool
The Main Lodge pool was also a draw for families and spouses of golfers throughout the summer season.
Heather Highlands Inn
Additional lodging was now being offered including one of the region’s first condo-hotels, Heather Highlands Inn.
1989: Donald Ross Memorial
The Donald Ross Memorial golf course opened and remains one of the more unique courses in the state. It is a compilation of classic golf holes designed by Donald Ross – recreated at Boyne Highlands from some of the architect’s most renowned courses.
Convention Center opened and south wing of the cafeteria.
With three 18-hole courses completed and a fourth in the plans, the Country Club of Boyne opened.
1990: The Heather Express
A major improvement came with the install of the high speed four-place Heather Express. The lifts could move 2,400 skiers per hour up the hill.
1995: North Peak Expansion Opens
North Peak ski area expansion opens with twelve additional runs, two additional chairlifts.
1995: Arthur Hills
The first 9 holes of the breathtaking signature Arthur Hills golf course opened in 1995. To this day it features classic Arthur Hills design features such as wide fairway landing areas, large bunker areas, and narrowing approaches with fascinating green complexes. The 11th hole begins a three-hole ascent to one of the highest points in lower Michigan and the magnificent view from the 13th tee.
1999: Arthur Hills
2000: Everett Kircher Honored
SKI Magazine honored Everett Kircher as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential Skiers of All Time". Placing him beside Olympic athletes, inventors, and filmmakers such as, World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist, Jean-Claude Killy and the popular filmmaker, Warren Miller.
2002: Loss of Our Founder
2006: Boyne Highlands Bike Park
2008: Green Lodging
Boyne Highlands Resort is now Green Lodging Michigan certified.
2009: Adventure Sports
Expanded adventure sports includes Zipline Adventure Tours and winter horseback trail rides.
2010: Sustainability Continues
2011: The Second Logo
2012: Burton Riglet Park
Burton Riglet Park introduced. These new parks, built in collaboration with Burton Snowboards, transformed the way young children learn to snowboard, and how families use the mountain.
The Spa at Boyne Highlands opened.
The Water Wheel
The waterwheel is a key iconic feature of the resort. The Main Lodge is cooled by a well-water-cooling system and when the used water has run through the cooling system, it comes out over the charming water wheel near the hotel’s entrance.
2013: Snowmaking Advancements
Boyne Resorts maintained Kircher’s legacy and continued the cutting edge of snowmaking advancements; pictured above is the proprietary Boyne Low E Fan Gun, a unit proven to reduce energy use by 40% from older models while boasting significantly increased output of quality snow--possible at marginal temperatures. Snowmaking system is fully powered by proprietary Boyne Low-E fan guns.
2016: The Fire
A devasting fire destroys approximately 70 guest rooms in the Main Lodge.
2018: The Boyne Golf Academy added Michigan golf legend Jeff Roth to its team of instructors
A Michigan native, member of the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame and the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, has won more than 70 professional tournaments, competed in 19 national major championships with the top golfers in the world and won 15 Michigan major championships including multiple Michigan Open, Michigan PGA Professional, Tournament of Champions and Michigan PGA Match Play titles. He has also won the Michigan Senior PGA Championship twice.
2019: Construction Begins
Construction began on guest rooms of the Main Lodge.
2020: Main Lodge Guest Rooms
Featuring eighty-nine brand new upscale guest rooms and bathrooms, offering a range of premium amenities, with numerous options to accommodate couples, families, business travelers, and large groups.
2021: Trackman Range
Trackman Range arrived. A powerful 30-bay setup at the Ross Golf Center range enables players of all levels to practice distance control, shot-shaping and more, to improve their game. In total, eight essential Trackman data points are available.
RFID Technology introduced for the 2021/22 season with scanning at all lifts. RFID facilitates direct-to-lift access for ticket and season passholder, and also provide a streamlined purchasing process enabling guests to purchase lift tickets or season passes online and reload a media card with additional ticket or pass purchases season-after-season.
HKD Impulse Tower Guns
Added five new HKD Impulse tower guns to its snowmaking fleet. These ultra-efficient snow guns enable snowmaking in marginal temperatures, much like the resort’s proprietary Boyne Low-E fan guns. Expanding capacity, a new 12” well has been installed increasing water access for snowmaking. In the parks, a new Pistenbully ParkPro 400, precisely tailored to the needs of park builders, will allow for the creation of exceptional features within the resort’s five terrain parks.
As we look to re-establish our place as the Grand Dame of four-season resorts in the Midwest, Boyne Highlands is transforming into The Highlands.
2023: Camelot 6
Coming Winter 2023-24...
The FIRST and FASTEST 6-person bubble chair in the Midwest!