Boyne USA Resorts was founded by Everett F. Kircher whose real passion in life was skiing. As the owner of a small Studebaker car dealership in Detroit in the 1940s, Kircher would each year travel to the western United States in order to ski. The nuisance of traveling great distances prompted Kircher and two other enthusiasts in 1947 to purchase some property close by a small 500-foot mountain in northern Michigan. This $1 investment would become the Boyne Mountain ski and golf center and later Boyne USA.
Today, Boyne USA consists of twelve major ski and summer resorts: Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, and The Inn at Bay Harbor in northern Michigan, Big Sky in Montana, Brighton Ski Bowl near Salt Lake City, Crystal Mountain and the Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington, Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Loone Mountain in New Hampshire, and Sugarloaf and Sunday River, both in Maine. Boyne USA also owns and operates a scenic sky lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and ten golf courses in various states, including Michigan, Montana, and Florida.
Much of Kircher's success rested on both his business acumen and the innovations he brought to the industry. Kircher was credited with developing the first three- and four- person chairlifts and for installing the first detachable six-person chairlift in the United States. In 1964, Kircher installed the world's first three-person chairlift at Boyne Highlands and the world's first four-person chairlift at Boyne Mountain. In 1992, Boyne Mountain began operating the first six-person chairlift in the United States. Kircher also pioneered artificial snowmaking and co-invented the Boyne Snowmaker, the first efficient device for marginal temperature snowmaking. Kircher is also credited with developing many modern snow grooming techniques and equipment. Industry experts credit Kircher with inventing the idea of ski instruction. In the 1950s, he hired former Olympians Stein Erickson and Othmar Schneider to work at the resort's ski school and teach the latest teaching techniques to Boyne Mountain's skiers. Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, and Big Sky continue to operate ski schools today.
In the late 1960s, Kircher worked to transform ski resorts into year-round recreational facilities by adding golf courses on his properties. Kircher began by building the Hemlock Golf Course at Boyne Mountain with his father's Ford farm tractor. Only after developing the nearby Harbor Highlands Ski Area into Boyne Highlands, however, did Kircher begin to invest seriously in golf. In 1970, the 18-hole Heather course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. opened. As of 2011, Boyne Resorts are home to eight world-class golf courses, including the award-winning courses at the Bay Harbor Golf Club.
Today, Boyne USA is the largest privately owned ski and golf corporation in America. The various resorts owned by Boyne now offer tennis, biking, hiking, horseback riding, and snowboarding, along with skiing and golf. The resorts also offer fine dining, spa facilities, retail shops, and luxury accommodations.
While Everett Kircher died on January 16, 2002 at the age of 85, his family remains actively involved in managing the thriving business he began in 1947.