Remembering Pando Ski Area [Video]
It was closed in 2015, but its history as being one of the first snowboarding hills in the country lives on.
It wasn't big, and the runs were short, but Pando, which was located near Bostwick Lake on Belding Road, was the first ski resort in West Michigan, and the place where a lot of locals learned to ski. It was bought out by Cannonsburg in 2015 and shut down, but its memory lives on for one important reason.
Not only was Pando West Michigan's first ski area, opening up in the hilly woods between Rockford and Belding in 1960, five years before Cannonsburg. But in the '70s, Pando found a unique niche in the ski business when they became one of the first ski hills in America to embrace snowboarders, then known as "snurfers".
According to the web site dcski.com, snowboarding was, at the time, a truly Michigan thing:
The board was invented right up the road in Muskegon, Michigan by local Sherman Poppen. The Snurfer was very poplar in Michigan and Pando allowed Snurfers free rein on the slopes. This area went as far as to host the “World Championships of Snurfing” several times during the 1970’s.
They also were early to the snowboarding bandwagon. They were the first in this state to allow snowboards on all slopes. In fact, snowboarding’s “founder” Jake Burton Carpenter came to Pando in 1979 and won what was claimed to be the first competitive snowboard race.
Pando became known for its embrace of snowboarders and it eventually added boarding features long before Cannonsburg did.
Pando also offered tubing before many other Michigan hills. Here's a gallery of tubing action from Pando.
And apparently at Pando, they didn't even need to wait for snow to go snowboarding, as this "Barnaby and Friends" feature from 2009 shows kids boarding on leaves!!
Here's some video footage of folks enjoying the snowboarding features at Pando.
LOOK: 20 tips to help your houseplants survive the winter