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The Nebraska Resort That Almost Was

The Nebraska Resort That Almost Was

Last summer we visited the former Devils Nest ski resort, a failed resort in Knox County near Lewis & Clark lake, for a photo shoot. If you missed that, you can catch up here.

Curtis F. of South Dakota saw that piece and sent us some vintage promotional materials dating to the days when hopes were still high for Devils Nest. Click these images to see ’em full-size.

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Although the resort never panned out, the wildlife and outdoor living are still quite an attraction in this part of northern Nebraska.

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The ski resort operated for a couple years. Today, it looks like this.

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When you open the second brochure, a little pop-up raccoon character presents you with a mail return card to get more information.

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Although the yacht club actually got built, the Devils Nest Inn never did.

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Devils Nest ski resort is now abandoned. See what it looks like now, here. We chronicled our visit to Devils Nest on video too, and you can watch that video here.

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Exploring Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Exploring Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest abandoned ski resort is in northeast Nebraska, Knox County, not far from the recreation areas on Lewis and Clark Lake.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest was part of a large luxury resort planned for this part of Nebraska, and this unlikely ski area actually operated for a few years in the early 70s.  A 25-story hotel was planned and there were supposed to be luxury homes as well, but, according to the Sioux City Journal:

In 1974, the Nebraska Secretary of State dissolved the Devils Nest Development Co. for nonpayment of corporate occupation taxes. Banks foreclosed on the property the following year, and the property was sold at auction to satisfy judgments in 1977.

The current owner of Devils Nest bought it in 2008.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Terry and I had been traveling most of the morning through beautiful country and we were eager to get into Devils Nest to shoot.  When we arrived, we found one of the roads into the site and we were somewhat surprised to see it was un-gated and not posted.

Update: Since we left, the property owner has contacted us and informed us the property is private. We’d like to add it’s private, even though there are some routes into the site that are not marked as such.

We began to drive down into the resort, but the road deteriorated quickly and we parked at the top of the hill, resigned to hike in.  We heard a distant rumble of thunder as we started walking, each of us carrying a backpack with sixty pounds of gear. The hike was about three quarters of a mile, first down the steep, winding road shown above, then a short uphill climb.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

As we approached the bottom we got our first glimpse of the lift machinery… this would have been the bottom of the run.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

The first lift chair I saw when we arrived.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Terry going up to get a better look.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

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Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest Development still exists, but today the focus is on luxury home lots overlooking Lewis & Clark Lake. Devils Nest ski resort is just a curiosity.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

We had been searching for blue sky and white clouds most of the day, and we thought we might get lucky since the sun was shining as we approached Devils Nest, but no such luck.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Unpaid taxes notwithstanding, it was really the location that did Devils Nest in. Without any mountains, Nebraska is simply too warm to have a ski resort here. The snow making machines were constantly running and couldn’t keep up most of the time.

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Devils Nest development once had a yacht club and a golf course too.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

The former ski lodge.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Ski in, ski out.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Terry came out of the lodge and commented that he thought Devils Nest would be a perfect setting for an episode of The Walking Dead.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

I was concentrating on photos and not paying any attention to the weather when Terry said, “Did you hear that thunder?”  It sounded like it was getting closer.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

We were right about here, debating whether to make the hike to the top of the run, when a cool breeze blew in. It alarmed me right away because it had been hot and humid all day.  I looked back at Terry and said, “We gotta get out of here.”  It didn’t hit me until right at that moment that our car was a half mile away, up a very steep hill.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

We began walking as quickly as possible, shooting a few photos on the way out.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

We wore ourselves out hiking back up the access road, hoping to make it to the car before the rain came, but we failed by about two minutes. The car was just in sight when it started to pour. We got soaked, but cameras survived. See the video of our exploration of Devils Nest.

Devils Nest Abandoned Ski Resort

Read more about Devils Nest: The Nebraska Resort That Almost Was.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2014 Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

This is the former Devils Lake Ski Jump, about 10 miles south of Devils Lake, North Dakota. This ski jump opened in 1931 and operated for a couple decades. Based on what we saw, we can conclusively say a jump from the end of this thing would have been terrifying. There’s some interesting information on this Ski Jump in this Dakota Datebook entry from 2008. We also featured this ski jump in our first book.

The road to the jump is a very steep, pitted dirt road. In anything other than totally dry conditions, you’d be well advised to take a 4 x 4.

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Sometimes getting the shot requires a little bad judgement.

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

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Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota





Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Abandoned Ski Jump, Devils Lake, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC


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This is a mirror post from GhostsofNorthDakota.com — see the original here.