Otsego Club

Otsego Club & Resort, one of the nation’s oldest private ski clubs, will only open next winter if a buyer or operator is in place.

Osprey Recreational Properties, which owns and manages the 73-year-old resort along with five other golf course properties in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, will not open the club for the winter season. They are hoping that the club will be sold before ski season or that a group or someone steps forward to operate it on an interim basis, Osprey spokesperson Michael Collins told SnoCountry.com.

“We have informed members that Osprey will not be opening the club this winter if we still own it and are responsible for running the operation,” he said.  “We are in the process of ongoing discussions with groups or individuals on the future of Otsego Club.  It is our hope that someone will step forward to keep the tradition going.”

He declined to comment on the ongoing discussions or give any specifics.

“One of the reasons that we made the announcement to the membership now was to get word out and hopefully come up with a buyer or an operator to be in place before next winter,” Collins concluded. 

The club and its two championship golf courses have been open to the public during the summer and fall for decades, switching to a private ski club during the winter. After Osprey bought it, they experimented with opening the club on a limited basis to the public in an effort to entice more members. They also established the O Park and opened the Heartland’s first and only Olympic standard halfpipe, which attracted Olympians and hopefuls from around the world and the U.S. Snowboard Team for practice sessions over the last couple of years prior to 2011-12. 

Two years ago Kris Klay, than the club’s GM, told me, “It’s exciting to watch how the O Park has become a training ground for world-class athletes, but also for elite riders closer to home and those that want to experience a similar environment. We were losing family members when the kids were becoming teenagers before we added the new facilities.  They would opt to go to resorts with more terrain park offerings.

“The O Park has changed all that” he added. “Many who had opted out are returning now. It’s created a lot of interest and led to an increase in membership.”

The all mountain terrain park offered, in addition to the Monster Pipe, over 50 rail features and jumps for all skill levels and hosted a Revolution Tour Event last season. Apparently all of that didn’t pay off. 

The writing was kind of on the wall last winter when they decided not to open to the public and the Olympic halfpipe was gone. The resort was part of a sealed-bid auction process last fall that failed to produce a buyer.

The resort remains open for the golf season, but come winter, the slopes will apparently close unless a buyer is found. Collins did confirm that if the club remains unsold that Osprey would probably continue to operate it and keep it open during golf season.

The upscale club reportedly has around 300 members, and individual membership rates published last season were $850 to $1,350. It’s one of the larger employers in Gaylord, Mich., and surrounding area.  

Photo courtesy Otsego Club and Resort