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This was an old ski resort from the 1960's that had an airstrip nearby for air tours. There was a lodge, motel and pool so they must have been open year-round at some point. I had a helluva time figuring out where it was exactly. The newspaper descriptions mentioned Comins, Mio, Fairview, Atlanta and even Alpena. The coordinates are 44°50'37.6"N 84°00'10.3"W off of Emig Rd near Comins MI.
There was a Detroit area real estate investor involved named Lee Berar, who was also involved in Blaney Park. He apparently made a deal with Jerry FONs and Don ROsenbach (hence the name) to sell pieces of this resort to investors. The goal was to raise $1,375,000 total. Apparently the size of the parcel was over 1000 acres and the resort used about 1/2 of that.
This place later operated as Cole Creek then Nawakwa Hunt and Gun Club. It was up for sale as of 2013 but as of 2022 it seems like it is closed for good. The buildings look very rough from the aerial photos. There is no business listed there on Google Maps either. It must have been pretty good for a while because there were dozens of people commenting on the Milsap blog about going up there. Most had fond memories.
From Milsap Blog
It turns out that Fonro was about 20 mi. north of Mio, 1 1/2 mi. east of M-33 near Comins. On Jan. 4, 1968, The Cass City Chronicle noted in the AAA Guide to Winter Sports Fun in Michigan that Fonro had 5 slopes and 3 tows. According to the 1971 AAA Winter Sports Fun List published in the same paper on Dec. 10, 1970, Fonro had 7 slopes and 3 rope tows. of Dec. 24, 1969 noted on Page 5 that Fonro operated one of the largest snowmobile rental businesses in the state. The Evening Independent from St. Petersburg, FL, on 11/17/70 in an article on page 9B titled “Michigan Offers Winter Fun” noted that Fonro had added snowmobile trails.
A patroller I used to ski with at Mt. Maria once related his experience visiting Fonro to help train the ski patrol there. He said it was a luxurious area for people from the Detroit area. Families arrived in large black sedans or limos. The kids went skiing, the wives went to the bar, and the men, wearing dark business suits, disappeared into the back room. He thought it looked like an underworld retreat. I am unable to spot this former area on the satellite map. If you know the exact location, please let me know. Apparently, Fonro was later renamed Cole Creek.
From Gerry Geletzke
Fonro later became Cole Creek. It had three primary ski trails, three rope tows and a couple of smaller trails through the woods (loosely six or seven ski runs total). As I recall, it was located East of 33, off of Emig Road (North of Comins, MI). Looking at Google Earth (not very good resolution).They had a main lodge with a bar, kitchen, dining room, a wonderful central fireplace and a dance floor. They also had two separate lodging accommodations (an A-frame and a B-frame) and a travel trailer. It also had a swimming pool, and a small barn. The property had extensive snowmobile trails, deer blinds, a grass aircraft landing strip and an old rundown house in the woods. On weekends they would have live bands perform and the lodge was usually packed. The deer that Monique referred to was named Button Nose.