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Lists and photos of Abandoned Ski Hills

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Here are some links and photos of abandoned ski hills. Here are 3 of them all located in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Canada

We are now down to 2 ski hills instead of 5. Enjoy


i like to see others post their photos of ones they can find out there.



Mount McKay abandoned ski hill

In Thunder Bay, Ontario

Came across this abandoned ski hill while checking out Mount McKay in Thunder Bay. Naturally, snapped a few photos of it.

There's a total of three lifts, although I was not aware of the third lift until I checked out the hill on Google Satellite

0906-105658.jpg 0906-105820.jpg

Near the main chalet, there's actually two double chair lifts side by side. You can see the second lift right behind the first one in the first image above. I guess the hill must have been sufficiently popular at some point to justify putting a second lift right next to the first. Those days are long gone!

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The red-ish inconsistent rustproof paint does have a strange sort of appeal to it.

me_on_lift.jpg 0906-110022.jpg 0906-110051.jpg

Here's me sitting on one of the chairs. The chairs are all removed, except for one at the lift.

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The lifts, seen from the top of the hill. Also the main chalet. The chalet is actually still in use for other purposes, seeing that its in town.

0906-135346.jpg 0906-135337.jpg 0906-135356.jpg

At the top of the ski hill. The tensioning setup for the top bullwheels is kind of interesting. I guess it was an earlier design.

The top of the ski hill is actually only half way up mount McKay. The top part of mount MckKay is actually too steep for skiing on, so it wasn't used for skiing.

0906-135259.jpg 0906-135242.jpg

The slops are still used by downhill mountain bikers.


Of course, if you do check it out, you might as well go all the way up Mount MckKay. This is actually a little dangerous to get up. But you get a nice view of town, and of the sleeping giant.

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Heres another place of Big Thunder Bay





'Big Thunder' abandoned ski jump


The abandoned "Big Thunder" ski jump facility is prominently visible from Highway 61. Its probably also a magnet for reckless snowboarders and mountain bikers. Hence it is very very much fenced off, with loads and loads of no trespassing signs surrounding it. I thought I'd convey that impression by surrounding this page with lots of no trespassing signs as well.


no_trespassing1.jpg no_trespassing2.jpg no_trespassing3.jpg no_trespassing4.jpg


Unfortunately with so many such large no trespassing signs, the excuse of "I didn't see the sign" wouldn't hold much water. Or at least not if one approached the place from the regular road access. In situations like this, my sister Marlene and I usually resort to finding a 'back way' into a site that does not go past any no trespassing signs, but we didn't have much time, and she was nursing a baby at the same time, so some GPS guided buswhacking adventure was definitely out this time!

Fortunately, I have a long telephoto on my digital camera, so I was able to capture quite a bit of the facility without actually doing any trespassing.


The above shot shows an overview of most of the facility (click it for more details). The picture on the ridge is for the main big ski jump, but there is actually a total of 9 ski jumps at the facility, all of different sizes. I guess this is important to allow people to work up their nerve to try the really big ski jump.

jump_structure.jpgThis is a more detailed view of the main jump (click it for more details). You can see the two person lift, as well as t he top of one of the smaller ski jumps towards the bottom of the view.

Really, the structure doesn't look like its in overly bad shape, but then again, its only been unused since 1995, or about 12 years to my checking it out. 

Here's a view of the main jump hill and structure for the largest jump. There's another ramp for jumping onto the same landing slope as the main jump, although this is not readily apparent from the road. The google satellite view makes this clear though.jump_hill.jpg

There's the largest jump hill, plus another smaller ski jump ramp visible near the front. I assume the wooden structure is for judging and filming jumps off the main ramp. With all the lights stands and all, it looks like this would have been a very happening place at some point.


aerials_jumps.jpgNext towards the right is three baby ski jumps. These seem to end in a swimming pool like structure, especially as seen from the google satellite view:



Doing some research, these appear to be ramps for summer training inFreestyle skiing

earthen_jumps.jpgTowards the right of the facility is three more ski jumps. The largest of these three is readily apparent, although there are two more earthen ski jumps. The only thing that makes these evident is the little bit of concrete for where the actual end of the ramps was.


Most of the buildings, at least from a distance, look to be in pretty good shape, although this building, which looks to be more of a trailer, looks pretty ramshackle. I guess time does take its toll.


aerial_view.jpgAnd finally an aerial view from google satellite. Click Here to browse the site with google satellite. Really, google satellite is an awesome tool for checking out places like that, especially if you want to try to plot a 'back way' into the facility. If you do, you'd also want to know that the GPS coordinates of the top of the main jump are:

N 48.283414, W 89.386316








and thirdly is the former Candy Mountain ski area. Had the longest runs in Ontario

it is now owned by private people who do not operate it as a ski hill~




Candy Mountain

September 2004

sign at the entranceSometimes when I look at old ruins and see them deteriorating, I fear that some day all the ruins will be collapsed and there won't be any left to explore. However, checking out the remains of the Candy Mountain ski resort, I was reminded that the supply of future ruins is constantly replenished.

Candy mountain was a ski resort operational as recently as 2001, and has since been abandoned. You can still find traces of it as a ski hill on the web, including an attempt to save the ski resort by selling shares in it in 2002.

By the looks of it now, partly dismantled, it doesn't look like anybody will reopen it. With two other decent ski hills in the Thunder Bay vicinity, and a shrinking and aging population base locally, there simply is no need for three ski hills, and so the owner of two ski hills decided to shut one of them down and concentrate the snowmaking equipment to the Loch Lochmond Ski Area. 

The ski hill

The hill is already noticeably overgrown, although on the runs, so far, there is only shrubs. The vertical elevation gain is over 700 ft - quite decent, compared to what I'm used to in Southern Ontario!

Quite a nice view of Thunder Bay from the top.

view from the hill remaining lift masts remains of surface lift

At the top, there is also a satellite dish antenna farm. Presumably for cellular and microwave communications. The top of the main lift was some hundred meters removed from the antenna farm, but there was nothing left of the lift in that area.

hilltop antenna installation.

There were two snow groomers, on the hill, one at the bottom, and one near the garages part way up. One of these looked relatively recent, although it was clear that various parts had been taken off it. The older one of the two looked fairly complete.

older snow goomer newer snow groomer

Also various pieces of equipment lying around for grooming the hill - some of it no doubt for grooming the hill in the summer to keep the terrain smooth and the vegetation low enough as not to poke through the snow.


Most of the hill was serviced by just one double chair lift line. There was another lift line further to the left, but it didn't go all the way to the top. There was also the grip tow for the bunny hill. In addition to that, there was a surface lift, which appears to have been abandoned before the last season the hill operated.

ski trails map

The Alpine village

The alpine village is relatively intact, with relatively few panes smashed. In fact, it looks tempting to try to make something out of the main chalet. Looks like such an inviting building, and probably keeps itself warm on a sunny winter day. Such a shame.

alpine village alpine village alpine village alpine village alpine village clock don't run chalet basement chalet inside chalet outside chalet windows plant in roof

The lifts The main lift that used to go all the way to the top no longer has its cables taut. The top third of the hill's posts have been removed, and the lift cable is lying slack on the ground. The chairs have all been removed, and are lying in rows on the ground, with tall grass growing between them.

main lift machinery main lift bulwheel main lift empty towers main lift chairs

The control room door is open, and the window smashed. The electrical equipment inside looks recent, the paper instructions on the wall are not even yellowed. The lift's operating licence is taped to the wall. Expiry date: Dec 2001.

main lift electrical control room lift liscense

The other lift is much more overgrown. Presumably, they only used the main lift for the last few seasons. The ski lift had been struggling, and the extra capacity wasn't needed, especially with the main lift covering most of the runs already.

It was quite a bushwhack getting to the machinery, and it loomed impressively over the shrubs that nearly engulfed it.

second lift bulwheel second lift bullwheel second lift counterweight second lift backup motor

The cables were still on the towers for the second lift, and even looked shiny in the light.

A plaque shown in the control room window indicates the lift was built in 1970. Those were probably better times for the ski hill, and for the Thunder Bay area in general.

second lift cables second lift plaque: 1970 it won't start

Another surface lift had been dismantled probably much longer ago. The bullwheel mechanism was lying off to the side on the bottom of the ski hill. Probably removed to make way for skiers, seeing that the surface lift wasn't even on the trail map.

dismantled surface lift bullwheel

An finally, here's a Google Satellite view of candy mountain:


The ski hill has since been converted to a priave residence, an is not going to be converted back to a ski hill again. Here's an Article about it from a thunder bay newspaper (Local copy here)

post #2 of 6

Check out www.nelsap.org.

post #3 of 6

Very cool!  And sad...  There will certainly be more to explore in the not-so-distant future unfortunately.

post #4 of 6

Fantastic post.  Thanks for sharing.  Sorry to see these places die off.

post #5 of 6

Especially sad to see Big Thunder shuttered, as it was one of the few elite-level jumping facilities in the east.  My understanding is that it was built up for the FIS Nordic Worlds, in anticipation of being part of an Ontario-Quebec bid for the Winter Olympics that never really got off the ground (Quebec City made two unsuccessful bids for the 1994 and 1998 Games).  


I can imagine that CANSKI is still interested in the facility, just to give eastern Canada a good training location for jumping, though the facilities in Calgary and Whistler certainly can accommodate the elite level training and competition needs for most.  Still, it's sad to see.


I second the recommendation of NELSAP: Jeremy's work on the site is thorough.  Also worth a look-see is the Lost Ski Areas section at the Colorado Ski History site (http://www.coloradoskihistory.com/lostresorts.html).

post #6 of 6

Sad to see Candy Mountain closed.


I went to University in T-Bay and enjoyed skiing there as well as at Loch Lomond.


I assume Loch and Mt. Baldy are the only 2 remaining ski hills?

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