Our History

1950's - Present

1950s

1957: Harbor Highlands Ski Club

Harbor Highlands Ski Club, a ski area in Harbor Springs opened. It was 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. When they decided that a ski hill might be the answer, they rolled up their sleeves and started clearing slopes to create the Harbor Highlands Ski Area.

1958/1959: Expansion Of Harbor Highlands

Through the next few years, Harbor Highlands expanded adding more trails, uphill transportation with three poma lifts and a single rope tow. They also built a small day lodge and restaurant.

1960s

1961: Everett Kircher Buys Harbor Highlands

The original group of owners decided they needed more financing to take over Harbor Highlands and really get it to where it needed to be. Before that happened Harbor Highlands went into bankruptcy. Everett Kircher, owner of Boyne Mountain bought the shutdown Harbor Highlands Ski Area for a very fair price, and insisted on paying off all the debts, which were considerable, and reimbursing all the original shareholders to make sure they recovered their investments. His generosity established a lot of goodwill and inspired 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. It was owned by Dr. Graham; a dentist and long-time resident of Harbor Springs had accumulated approximately 600 acres during the depression years. It was 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 realized their values were the same, he agreed to sell it, but Everett had 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 renamed it “Boyne Highlands” and began his operation in winter 1963/64.

The New York Times wrote, “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

When Boyne Highlands opened on December 26, 1963, Kircher installed the world’s first triple chair ever built. The resort also offers eleven trails and five lifts, the Highlands Inn with dining room, cocktail lounge, and swimming pool, cafeteria, and the previously built Highlands Lodge. The rooms were some of the most charming and elegant rooms of that day in 1963 when they were built.

1965: Skiing Magazine

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.”

The main Highlands Inn, a striking, Bavarian/Old-English, three-story lodge, was the resort’s first building. Everett made sketches from photographs of English and other European Buildings, later refined by architect, Jim Livingston, who was one of Everett’s closest friends and collaborators.

 Everett Kircher was very proud of the building and said, “the building will stand for 100 years and never go out of style.”

Kircher was intent on his operations being regarded as ‘resorts’, not merely ski areas, and built the facilities and provided the service to back it.

A Chicago Tribune article was headlined “Boyne Highlands an Instant Success”

John Bartley and his wife Jane were certified ski instructors and certifiably in love with skiing. They wanted to open a hotel in Vail and decided to ask Everett Kircher for advice. His advice was that they open a hotel at Boyne Highlands. He leased them the land, helped with financing and was happy to have the additional rooms for skiers. The Bartleys built 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.

1970s

1970: The First Logo

1974: Highlands Snow Gun

Kircher continued to develop and obtain patents on snowmaking technology which set Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain apart from the competition. He patented and introduced the Boyne Snowmaker (a.k.a. Highlands Snow Gun) Early on, when Everett realized that you could not always count on Mother Nature to provide good snow for skiing, he began researching the possibility of make snow, and eventually formulated a system he could create himself – the Boyne Snow Machine.

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.

1980s

1984: Challenge Mountain

In 1984, Everet 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.

1990s

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

Arthur Hills golf course expands to 18 holes.

2000s

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

Everett Kircher, who founded Boyne USA ski empire, which offered technical advances on country's slopes, dies at age 85.
 

2006: Boyne Highlands Bike Park

Michigan's first lift-served Bike Park and Midwest's longest Magic Carpet conveyor lift opens. Introduction of the exclusive Boyne Bed sleep system. The First Tee of Boyne Highlands begins operation.

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.

Early 2010s

2010: Sustainability Continues

 The Day Lodge Cafeteria goes green, reducing resort's garbage waste by up to 70%.

2011: The Second Logo

The Highlands primary mark represents location, setting, and architecture, the core to the brand’s tradition – referenced in the iconic tower and flag.

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

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

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

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. 

 

2022 and Beyond

The transformation journey continues visit our page to learn more….