A Brief History of Shanty Creek Resorts
Roy Deskin, the son of a coal miner, worked his way through Detroit’s steel factories to become a magnate in the industry. After a successful career, he retired Up North in 1944 and purchased a home on Torch Lake.
Deskin loved entertaining friends, family and colleagues. But he grew weary from driving all over Northern Michigan in search of good restaurants to entertain his guests. He decided he would build a social establishment of his own. Originally conceived as a private club, he realized greater potential in a resort.
He broke ground in the fall of 1961, and eager to open his four-season resort, Deskin opened Summit Mountain for skiing in December 1962. Construction of the Lodge would not be completed until the following spring. The 91-room hotel, whose name was based on an old trapper’s shanty located near the [current day] 7th and 8th holes of The Legend, would open on May 30, 1963, as The Lodge at Shanty Creek.
With skiing and lodging in place, Deskin would then begin working on the final piece of his four-season resort—a golf course. Contracting course architect William Diddel, the pair started orchestrating designs for the appropriately-named 18-hole “Deskin Course”, opening in 1968. Today it’s known as “Summit Golf Course.”
Meanwhile… Daniel Iannotti chose to leave a lucrative career as a stockbroker in Chicago and began tailoring his dream of opening a ski resort resembling a quaint, Bavarian ski hamlet. After looking at sites throughout Michigan, Wisconsin and Colorado, Iannotti settled on a patch of land just two miles from Shanty Creek.
Iannotti’s “never-never land” made its skiing debut in December of 1967. It was called “The Kingdom of Schuss” and declared itself a new nation. The Kingdom had its own border-control station, its own currency (the Squaller), its own language (Schwiss), and its own time-zone (CFT, Central Fun Time). Daniel was King and his wife, Dorothy, was Queen. Their children were dubbed Prince Daniel and Princess Madelyn.
After opening Schuss Mountain, like Deskin, Iannotti expanded the resort to include the Schuss Mountain Golf Course. Designed by Warner Bowen, its front nine holes opened in 1972. The back nine were added in 1977.
Both resorts would prosper for nearly 20 years. In 1985, Club Corporation of America saw value in both Shanty Creek and Schuss Mountain and purchased both resorts in with the intention to merge them. This move was bolstered by the opening of the Arnold Palmer–designed championship golf course, The Legend.
Years passed. Various owners continued to add homes and condominiums to the villages of the growing resort. In 1999, an all-suite hotel, The Lodge at Cedar River, was built and the masterpiece Tom Weiskopf-designed Cedar River Golf Course opened. Cedar River Village would form the third village along with both Summit Village and Schuss Village.
But despite all of the splendor and beauty of the area and a devoted staff known for its guest service, Shanty Creek Resorts would fall on hard times. The property’s original Deskin hotel had grown tired. Guests were choosing newer properties in the region. Foreclosure followed.
But in 2006, an investment group from St. Louis, Trinidad Resort & Club LLC, would purchase the resort and instill the capital needed to renovate the aged Lodge at Shanty Creek. The result: the Lakeview Hotel & Conference Center once again shines. And throngs of guests and groups are once again choosing Shanty Creek for their ski resorts and golf getaways and their annual meetings and conferences.