Skiers first took notice of Everett Kircher in 1947, when the Detroit native moved to northern Michigan to build a ski resort. For just $1, he bought the land necessary to begin development of what is known today as Boyne Mountain.
Boyne Resorts' portfolio currently includes Michigan's two premier mountain and golf resorts, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain; and the Inn at Bay Harbor in Michigan; Big Sky Resort in Montana--founded by the late Chet Huntley in 1970; Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City, Utah; The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Sugarloaf and Sunday River resorts in Maine; Cypress Mountain near Vancouver, British Columbia--official freestyle skiing and snowboard venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games; Gatlinburg Sky Lift near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Kircher had many firsts including the world's first triple chair installed in 1964 at Boyne Highlands Resort, and the world's first four-person chair, installed in 1964 at Boyne Mountain. In 1990 Kircher installed Michigan's first high-speed detachable quad chairlift at Boyne Highlands Resort. And in 1992, Boyne Mountain unveiled America's first 6-seat high-speed chairlift.
Kircher's ski innovation also included the introduction of snowmaking. He invented the Boyne Snowmaker, the first efficient snowmaker widely accepted as the standard for marginal temperature snowmaking. It combines small amounts of air and electricity with large quantities of water to provide a high efficiency snowmaking system with energy savings, and minimum noise level. He also pioneered the design of much of the snow grooming equipment and techniques in use today.
His unflagging interest in skiing technique resulted in bringing former Olympians Stein Ericksen and Othmar Schneider to Boyne Mountain to head the ski school and to teach the 'reverse shoulder" method to skiers visiting his resort. Because of the legacy left behind by Ericksen and Schneider, an Austrian-American ski school has become a mainstay at Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands and Big Sky.
A desire to keep his employees on staff between ski seasons led Kircher into golf. A friend suggested that a golf course might attract summer visitors. That was all Kircher needed. Using his father's ancient Ford farm tractor, he carved out a sporty nine-hole, par-three layout near the Main Lodge. For decades the Hemlock course was a favorite to Boyne Mountain guests and visitors.
After purchasing the Harbor Highlands Ski Area in nearby Harbor Springs, Michigan and developing its ski facilities, Kircher became serious about golf. Noted architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., was hired to design the 18-hole Heather course that opened in 1966. By 1967, the Heather was ranked one of the "Top 100 Courses in the U.S." by Golf Digest Magazine. It was the spark that ignited the golf boom in northwest Michigan, now referred to as America's Summer Golf Capital.
Five more world-class golf courses were added to Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain, along with pro-shops, driving ranges and practice greens. They include Aurthur Hills, The Moor and the Donald Ross Memorial courses at Boyne Highlands and The Alpine and The Monument at Boyne Mountain.
An Arthur Hills design, three unique nine-hole courses are also a part of northern Michigan's landscape at Bay Harbor Golf Club on the shores of Lake Michigan near Petoskey, Michigan. Bay Harbor Golf Club showcases the longest freshwater shoreline in the country and is a perennial top pick among numerous national golf magazine rankings.
In addition to the four-season resort properties, Boyne Resorts also operates a highly successful scenic chairlift, Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Overlooking the great Smokey Mountains National Park. The lift, which he engineered and installed in 1953, carries over 300,000 passengers annually.
Of all the Boyne Resorts golf destinations, Bay Harbor Golf Club and The Inn at Bay Harbor are of special interest to the Kircher family and to the golf and travel industry worldwide. Bay Harbor Golf Club's three championship courses, created by veteran architect, Arthur Hills and spearheaded by Everett Kircher and his son Stephen Kircher, have continued to earn high honors.
In 1998, Bay Harbor Golf Club hosted the Shell's Wonderful World of Golf match between Tom Lehman and Phil Mickelson. Other honors include top rankings from national golf publications including the #8 ranking in the "Top 100 Courses You Can Play" by Golf Magazine and selected as one of the "Top 100 Golf Courses for Women" by Golf for Women Magazine.
Joining the golf club along the shoreline of Little Traverse Bay is the Inn at Bay Harbor, an Autograph Collection Hotel. The hotel is reminiscent of turn of the century Victorian charm and modern day elegance. In 2002, Golf Digest Magazine recognized The Inn at Bay Harbor as one of the "Top Ten Coastal Resorts" in the country. Ranked at #5 and along side the nations best seaside resorts, including Pebble Beach and Bandon Dunes. The same March 2002 issue selected Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain and The Inn at Bay Harbor in the "Top 75 Resorts in America".
Since 1947, Boyne Resorts has been steadily carving a niche in the sports and leisure world. Today, as the largest privately owned ski and golf corporation in the country, Boyne takes the next logical step. Introducing the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa, a quarter of a billion dollar luxury condominium/hotel set in a four-season village atmosphere at Boyne Mountain. The Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa will have something for every member of the family with a full service spa, specialty shops, an array of dining choices, skating rink and teen activity center.
The expansions and improvements are numerous and constant for Boyne Resorts. This family owned company continues to build and improve four-season destinations to fit "a way of life" for the active families and friends who gather there. Offering the very best in golf, ski, tennis, biking, hiking and cross-country skiing together with luxurious accommodations, fine dining, cozy restaurants and lounges and exquisite spa facilities, Boyne remains a leader in the industry.
Year after year, Everett Kircher's resorts earn countless awards and recognitions. In 2000, SKI Magazine honored Kircher himself 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.
Although Kircher is mostly recognized for his ski and golf know-how and successful resort empire, he was also a sportsmen, jet pilot and world traveler. He said it best in his autobiography, "I'd rather be known as a great fly fisherman".
Everett Kircher died at the age of 85 on January 16, 2002. He will forever be known throughout the skiing world as a visionary. And his company, Boyne Resorts completes that vision as the finest sport and leisure resorts in the world.
He will be remembered for his dedication to making something good better and a legend from what was once a simple idea.
His life's work will be retold through history. Through generations of loyal skiers and golfers who visit Boyne Resorts' coast-to-coast resorts and through the many talented employees who make Boyne Resorts so successful.
Kircher's legacy and his company are certain to continue and thrive under the direction of his dedicated family. These members include his wife Lois and his four children; John, president of Boyne Resorts' western operations in Utah, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia; Amy, chairperson and secretary of the board of directors of Boyne USA, Inc.; Stephen, president of Boyne Resorts' eastern operations including Maine, Michigan, Montana and Tennessee and Kathryn, principal of Boyne Design Group, an interior design firm of Boyne Resorts.