Mountain Blog

Winter Storm Names
Nancy Story - Monday, December 11, 2017
 It’s that time of year where winter sports enthusiasts are glued to the nightly weather forecasts in search of prodigious amounts of powder. And for six seasons now, the Weather Channel (TWC) has been naming winter storms in their forecasts. So what’s the point of naming blizzards? Was winter feeling outperformed by hurricane season? According to the Weather Channel, here’s why big storms carry monikers:

• Naming a storm raises awareness.
• Attaching a name makes it much easier to follow a weather system’s progress.
• A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own, which adds to awareness.
• In today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
• A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future.

Note that TWC, a media organization, came up with this name-calling business. The atmospheric science folks over at the National Weather Service did not create this practice. "The National Weather Service does not name winter storms because a winter storm's impact can vary from one location to another, and storms can weaken and redevelop, making it difficult to define where one ends and another begins", claims a spokesperson.

Living here in the land of lake effect, that sentiment – “a winter storm’s impact can vary from one location to another” - certainly applies to our own winter weather. Snow can dump on Lake Ann while totally ignoring Onekama. Thompsonville can be buried in a blizzard while Traverse City sees the sun. But as The Weather Channel sees it, a storm gains naming notoriety if it impacts at least two million people and meets the NWS winter storm-warning criteria.
As we perch on the precipice of a winter storm warning in effect for this week, here are this year’s names to keep you in the know when you hear them on the news. According to TWC, this year’s names were pulled from a list of popular baby names - here are the origins of each one.

Aiden - From an Old Irish name meaning "fire."
Benji - Short for Benjamin, an old Hebrew name meaning "son of the south."
Chloe (KLO-ee) - From Greek, it is a reference to blooming or the young green shoot of a new plant.
Dylan - From Welsh words meaning "great tide."
Ethan - From a Hebrew name meaning "strong," "solid" or "firm."
Frankie - A nickname for Frank, Francis or Frances from the Germanic tribe the Franks.
Grayson - From the Middle English word that meant steward plus son.
Hunter - From the time when people in England were named for their work.
Inga - Related to the name of a people who lived on the North Sea called the Ingaevones.
Jaxon - From the son of Jack, which was a nickname for John in the Middle Ages.
Kalani - From the Hawaiian words meaning the plus heaven or sky.
Liam - From Irish, a short form of William, which comes from German.
Mateo (muh-TAY-o) - The Spanish form of Matthew, which is distantly derived from the Hebrew word for gift.
Noah - Derived from the Hebrew word meaning "rest."
Oliver - The English form of the French name Olivier.
Polly – This one’s named after my mom- a popular baby name in 1928.
Quinn - Derived from an Irish Gaelic word meaning "chief" or "counsel."
Riley - Derived from Reilly, which comes from the Old Irish name Raghailleach.
Skylar - A modified version of Tyler merged with the word sky.
Toby - Derived from Tobias, a name from old versions of the Bible.
Uma (OO-ma) - From multiple cultures including the Sanskrit word meaning "tranquility."
Violet - Originally from the name for the Latin name for the flower, viola.
Wilbur - Mr. Ed’s owner in the TV show about a talking horse.
Xanto - From the Ancient Greek name Xanthus meaning "blonde."
Yvonne (ee-VONN) - Related to a nickname for the Old French name Yves, which came from the name of a type of wood used to make bows.
Zoey - Derived from the Greek word for life

15 Ways To Fall In Love With Fall
Brittany Roberts - Friday, September 08, 2017

For those who couldn't imagine a life without seasons, there is a special love affair with the vibrant foliage that accompanies late-September and early-October in this corner of the world. Michigan's Gold Coast was the first spot mentioned in Travel + Leisure magazine's list of America's Best Fall Color Drives. Just 20 miles from the tour that winds along scenic M-22, Crystal Mountain is rated by Fodor's Travel among the country's 15 Best Resorts for Fall Getaways. So here are as many ways for you to feel the love this autumn:

1. Point Betsie Lighthouse
Just nine miles north of Frankfort, this historic site is one of Benzie County's most breathtaking year-round but never more so than color season.
22 miles from Crystal Mountain

2. Pierce Stocking Drive
Good Morning America called it the Most Beautiful Place in America. We agree. 
33 miles from Crystal Mountain

3. Empire Bluffs
A very manageable hike, but even if it weren't, the effort would be totally worth it for the view. 
24 miles from Crystal Mountain

4. Pyramid Point
It's a 2.7-mile loop but Lookout Point is only .6 miles from the trailhead. Of course, with colored leaves all around, you might not even notice. 
37 miles from Crystal Mountain

5. Narrows of Big and Little Glen Lakes
Take a few moments to pause between the two pristine bodies of water to appreciate their beauty and then wander into Glen Arbor for a drink at Art's Tavern.
28 miles from Crystal Mountain

6. Fishtown
The drive north to Leland is worth it alone, but the early-1900s fish shanties now housing quaint shops and eateries makes it even more so. 
42 miles from Crystal Mountain

7. Chairlift Rides
Every Saturday in October, enjoy the ride up the Crystal Clipper high-speed quad, but get out your camera for the ride down; you'll want a photo for Facebook or Instagram.
Behind the Lodge

8. Michigan Legacy Art Park
The 48 sculptures take on new life with the change of every season. Fall is no exception along nearly two miles of hiking trails as well as the "Access for All" trail for those with limited mobility. 
Located on-property

9. Stormcloud, St. Ambrose and Iron Fish
Nationally renowned craft beer from Stormcloud (18 miles away in Frankfort) and award-winning mead and wine from St. Ambrose Cellars (8 miles from Crystal) are great locales to toast the harvest season along with our new neighbors at Iron Fish Distillery (3 miles from Crystal).

10. Leelanau County Wine Country
Leelanau County sits on the same parallel as Burgandy, France, a region known for its wine. The wines themselves are matched only by the breathtaking landscape. We'd recommend paying a visit to our friends at Black Star Farms and Brengman Brothers.
46 miles from Crystal Mountain

11. Grand Traverse Commons
Hop out of the car for awhile to take a stroll among the historic buildings, explore the boutiques and galleries and sample cuisine, craft beer, wine and coffee.
30 miles from Crystal Mountain

12. Apple Cider & Pumpkin Donuts
While the region has a reputation for cherries, it's actually the third largest producer of apples in the nation. The cider is pretty outstanding and paired with a pumpkin donut, perfection!

13. Betsie Valley Trail
This bike trail extends from nearby Thompsonville to Frankfort, but the nine-mile ride from Beulah to the trail's end includes a nice stretch along Crystal Lake and the Betsie River.  

14. Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
Whichever direction you choose from the Dune Climb, whether the easier ride to Glen Arbor or the more challenging trip toward Empire, you won't be disappointed. 

15. A River Runs Through It
If your time on the Betsie or Platte River has been relegated to the summer, give this color tour some serious thought. 

Intimate, Simple & Classic Wedding
Troy DeShano - Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Weddings, like all things, come in many shapes and sizes. While for some it must be a grand, elegant affair, for others simple or rustic is the way to go. 

Is there anything sweeter than an intimate wedding with family and friends, with a warm August afternoon breeze?

A simple and classic wedding in a beautiful space can be as lovely and memorable as any other. It’s a chance for those who love you most to celebrate the union of two people, two families, two worlds in a special way.

This beautiful, intimate ceremony took place on the Pond Lawn with a long farm table for reception.

The chiavari chairs added a minimalist, elegant feel to the reception.

The quiet and reflective setting of the natural landscaping and trees around the Pond Lawn provided a lovely backdrop for photos of the bride, groom, family and wedding party.

When it comes down to it, there is no "right" way to do a wedding. What is most important is to make the day your own, for it to be a special moment of joy to look back on fondly for all time.

Whether your dream wedding is simple or grand, the dedicated staff at Crystal Mountain can help make it happen. Start planning your special day here.

Saline’s Sarah Hoffman One Shot off Lead at Michigan Women’s Open Championship
Brittany Roberts - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Saline’s Sarah Hoffman, who is one shot off the lead through the first round.

THOMPSONVILLE – Sarah Hoffman of Saline is headed with the Symetra Tour to Tullymore Golf Resort in Canadian Lakes this weekend, but she made sure to stop in first at Crystal Mountain Resort and play the Michigan Women’s Open Championship.

“It’s one of my favorite tournaments,” she said after shooting a 3-under 69 on the Mountain Ridge course to stand one shot off the lead of fellow Symetra Tour player Kristin Coleman of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., through the first round of the $40,000 championship at Crystal Mountain Resort.

“The course is always in great shape, and it is fun to play up here. I’m going to Tullymore, but I didn’t want to miss the Michigan Open.”

Hoffman, 27, is a former Grand Valley State standout who started a career in nursing and then opted to take her professional golf shot a year ago. She has played sparingly this year because of a shoulder injury, but worked through it Monday with three consecutive birdies at holes 6, 7 and 8 to power her bogey-free 69.

“I’m very happy with 3-under,” she said. “I could have had a couple more putts drop, but overall I’m thrilled with it and I did putt well. My drives were not spectacular, but I stayed in play. It was a good start.”

Hoffman was tied with Marissa Chow of Honolulu, Hawaii, a former Pepperdine All-American for second, and seven golfers, including touring pro Samantha Troyanovich of Grosse Pointe Shores and Michigan State University freshman-to-be Yurika Tanida of Tokyo, were next at 70.

Lindsey McPherson of Flushing, another Michigan touring pro, was part of seven golfers who shot 71, and defending champion Suzy Green-Roebuck of Ann Arbor and DeWitt touring pro Liz Nagel were part of a large group at 72.

The field of 114 will play 18 more holes Tuesday to determine the low 70 scorers and ties for the 36-hole cut. The final round in the 54-hole championship is Wednesday.

Coleman, 24, is the twin sister of Jenny Coleman, who finished second in the Michigan Women’s Open last year and is now on the LPGA Tour. The former University of Colorado golfer made a birdie at the par 3 No. 17 hole with a 9-iron shot to 12-feet to take the lead.

“I got off to a good start, hit the ball pretty good and made a couple of putts,” she said.

It’s her third time playing in the Michigan Women’s Open, and the plan is to make the LPGA Tour just like her sister, who is younger by one minute.

“I like the golf course here and I have a great host family,” she said. “It’s right between tournaments (on the Symetra Tour), so it works out great.”

Chow, 23, was happiest that her round included no bogeys.

“I was just really steady and it is nice to start solid and just play my game,” she said. “It’s day one. There is plenty more golf to be played.”

RESULTS/TEE TIMES: Can be found at

Four good reasons to celebrate the Fourth on July 3!
Brittany Roberts - Monday, June 26, 2017

Don’t look now but the Fourth of July is practically here. I know right!? It snuck up on us a bit too. This grand holiday can hardly be celebrated in just one day but we’ll get things started early at Crystal Mountain’s Old Fashioned Fourth Carnival (and fireworks), held on July 3 beginning at 3pm.

Here’s FOUR reasons you might like this year’s festivities:

1. Human-sized Hamster Balls and Hippo Chow Down
After a one-year hiatus THEY ARE BACK and now kids will once again climb into a large inflatable ball for the chance to experience life as their pet hamster sees it. Or, have you ever wanted to be part of a board game? At the Hippo Chow Down, you are the hippo! 

2. Petting Zoo
Goats, bunnies and a very affable camel are among the typical attendees at the petting zoo. It’s magical for the kids and entertaining for the adults but what’s more, there are great photo and selfie opportunities.

3. Fun & Games
Feats of strength, an accurate throw, powers of observation or quite frankly, just being a cute kid can earn you fabulous prizes – or at least 2-8 year olds think they’re pretty fabulous! That’s not even to mention the face painting and glitter tattoos.

4. Fireworks over the Mountain
The show is free and open to the public so bring a lawn chair and get the star-spangled holiday started a night early!

For more information on all the festivities click here. See you July 3!

Top Wedding Trends for 2017
Troy DeShano - Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kathy Davies Photography

For today's post, Kate Walski, owner of 307 Events in Traverse City, shares some northern Michigan wedding trends she's seeing (and loving) this year.

We are starting to see something new for 2017 weddings and we couldn’t be more excited! It’s something that has been around forever, but has really taken a backseat in weddings for several years. It’s applicable to any wedding, any budget. It can be used in any setting or venue. We are talking about COLOR! It’s back and better than ever!

Lux Light Photography

For the past several years, we have loved immersing ourselves in the neutral palettes of whites, ivories, blushes and champagnes. It has been elegant, it has been organic and it’s always been beautiful. Classic, never going out of fashion. It will always be an excellent choice for weddings but we must admit that we are loving the color that is popping back into the weddings we are designing.

Style: Sincerely Ginger Weddings; Photo: The Weber Photographers

Slate blue is really gaining in popularity this year. We are also seeing a lot of burgundy mixed with blush for some amazing depths of color. Pale yellow, lavender, coral and soft pinks are also making their appearance. Neutrals are still hot but are providing an excellent base to some beautiful pops of color. Adding color to your flowers, linens and other décor is a great way to make your wedding more unique and personal. You can never go wrong with neutral colors, they are timeless, but when you choose some hues that are different, you can look back at your wedding day and see décor that might be a truer representation of you and your spouse.

Rayan Anastor Photography

Another trend that has emerged over the past few years and is still really hot, is the use of an assortment of metals. Golds, coppers, silvers, you name it! Don’t just stick with one particular metal, mix it up! 

Rayan Anastor Photography

Metals are modern but also blend perfectly with a variety of different styles. They can be at home in an urban loft environment or add an edge to your barn wedding. Banquet rooms and tents also fare well when adorned with metals. So when you are planning your accents, from the rose gold sequined dessert table linen to the hanging wrought iron spheres to the gold candlesticks, make sure to add some sophisticated flair to your wedding through the use of metals.

Kathy Davies Photography

Speaking of sophistication, we are definitely seeing events trend away from the rustic vibe. Simplicity and elegance are reigning this year and more brides are shying away from burlap and mason jars and opting for more formal elements.  

Style: 307 Events; Photo: Sarah Kossuch Photography

Despite the large number of barn and tent weddings in this area, they are being adorned less with lace and burlap and more with soft fabrics and mercury glass. And ballrooms are always a great choice, especially when accompanied by beautiful draping and soft lighting. 

Style: Sincerely Ginger Weddings; Photo: Rebecca Yale

Regardless of what colors or décor you choose, make sure that your wedding expresses who you and your partner are as a couple. It is so easy to get caught up in the beautiful images bombarding you on Pinterest that you may lose sight of your true style. Look at the stores you prefer to shop at, the home décor you love and your own fashion sense to get an idea of who you really are. Let your wedding reflect your personality. Having a wedding that captures the spirit of the couple will never go out of style.

Some Accumulation Possible
Nancy Story - Sunday, April 02, 2017


 If this winter had a name, it’d be “Some Accumulation Possible.” More often, the snow arrived from snowguns than from snow clouds.                                    

The entire sesason behaved like March. Every month took on March’s mercurial temperament, with teeter-tottering temperatures, unpredictable antics and scanty snow clouds. While storms materialized to the west, east and south of us, our northern Michigan neighborhood kept waiting for a decent powder day. The season debuted on Dec. 10, after a foot of white hope fell in the first week of December to set up a decent slope base. Our chairlift bullwheels began turning daily on Dec. 16th – and the next day, we had what would be our biggest storm of the season, when 10” of snow fell, with another 5-6” falling before Christmas. New Year’s Eve dusted us with about 2-3”, so we had enough snow bridging the holiday season to be 100% open on Dec. 27th.  December would later prove to be our biggest snow month of this winter, with about 34” total.

January’s first snow came on the 5th, dropping about three inches. It spit snow a few inches at a time for a week before sputtering out entirely. We had twelve days without snow (yet an avalanche of overcast) before another 3” fell on the 26th, and again on Jan. 30th.  All told, about 30” fell in what should have been our best month for furious flakefests.  

February trickled in one inch at a time. After two inches fell on the 5th, we had ten days without natural snowfall before another inch drifted down on Feb. 16.  Then it was a seven-day dry spell before five inches fluffed up the slopes over Feb. 24-26 – leaving us with a total of about a foot of snow for February. March was of little assistance, bringing in five inches on March 2nd, followed by a dry spell until March 13-15. The last time measurable snow fell on these Buck Hills was  March 15th – making it a month-long snowfall total of about 7-8”.

Weather closed the slopes three times this winter, an unheard-of phenomenon. We shut the lifts down early on Feb. 26 due to fog and lightning in the vicinity. That’s happened before (March 9, 2016).  High winds forced us to shut down for two days on March 7 & 8th.  That’s not happened before.

This winter was unusual in that it was driven not by snowfall, but by people.  Obviously, the Herculean efforts of the 2016/17 season came from our people who made the snow and groomed the Alpine hills to sustain and maintain the product for over four months. But there were also people like our cross country groomers who took exceptional care of natural snow so that we could have a cross country season at all.  Our people like the marketeers who sent out steady eblasts and pumped out promos enticing folks to take a winter trip to Crystal despite sporadic natural snow; our people in reservations whose helpfulness hopefully made it easy for guests to map out a winter vacation; our people in tickets and rental whose friendliness helped hurdle the challenges of  ticket pricing and boot-fitting; our people on the front lines at the front desk, F&B outlets, activities, Peak, Spa and retail who assisted guests.  And then there were YOU people, those many guests who ventured forth onto our vertical. Week after unpredictable week, you came armed with enthusiasm and energy to hit the slopes and made all our efforts worthwhile. We hope your skiing adventures were memorable ones. Thanks for skiing and riding with us – see you next season! (and hope springs eternal for a proliferation of  powder days NEXT year). 

The Shack Pack
Nancy Story - Sunday, March 12, 2017


 In a winter where the entire season has behaved like March (and now March has behaved a bit like January), the 2016/17 ski season marches into its final weeks.  It's been a season of constant temperature changes, snow condition changes, and now daylight change – but one thing remains the same every day of every ski season. Month after month, day after day, hour after hour, the chairs on the lift go ‘round and ‘round, ascending and descending over and over again as the bullwheels turn.  

Do lift operators count chairs in their sleep? What’s a lift op to do to stay alert?

Being a lift operator is the only job where you may well meet everyone on the slopes in a single day. Since a trip down these Midwestern hills is often quicker than the trip up, Crystal’s lift ops can string out a single conversational topic with a skier over the course of a day. When there are no skiers around, the bottom operator can converse with the op in the upper lift shack through an open intercom. The upper lift shack operators are like eagles in their aeries, keeping sharp eyes on unloading skiers.

“We make sure everybody’s getting off safely. We keep the ramp flush and level, we listen to the radio,” says one lift eagle. The top and bottom lift ops usually change places every two hours, and time goes by pretty much the same on both ends. “You always have people to watch out for, or to take care of the ramp area. It’s always fun to talk to the skiers.”  Over at Totem Park, operators switch spots with the Loki quad operators every two hours, just to break it up a bit. And according to the lift loaders, every lift has its own character traits. “My favorite lift to work is Buck, because that’s where the best skiers are”, noted one lift op. “People sometimes get confused by Loki’s moving platform.”  A common Clipper calamity, according to the ops, is that riders frequently forget to tell one another which direction they’re headed after unloading, prompting occasional ramp mishaps.  The Ridge Runner chair is fairly easy to load, but manning the North Face takes some muscle to hold the chair. And yes, it’s mainly men who man the lifts - Crystal’s crew of four lift supervisors and 35 lift operators is primarily a gang of guys, with just two females. Most lift ops tend to stay around for two or three seasons, but the friendly bearded face of Fuzzy (Mike Rushlow) is familiar to every Crystal Mountain regular.  He’s our current king of the Shack Pack, with 13 years under his belt – and according to Fuzzy, boredom is never an issue. “There’s never a dull moment. Just when you think you have time to turn around and grab a sandwich, or reach for the shovel, that’s when something happens”, he observed.  Keeping an eye on those skiers who aren’t keeping an eye themselves on what’s happening keeps Fuzz on the alert.  “If I could write one thing on my white board, it would be HANG IT UP AND SKI!   So many skiers and riders are distracted by their phones,”   he noted.

 As with every job, there can be challenges – like extreme weather conditions, hectic holiday afternoons, and skiers not paying attention who load or unload too late or too early, to cite a few. But by arming themselves with grins and greetings, Crystal lift operators have the power to create an atmosphere of good cheer regardless of ever-changing weather or lift loading/unloading adventures. They stay fueled up and fired up by conversations with the customers, against the constant hum of the chairs going around and around… the bullwheels turn.


Ways to Win this March at the Mountain
Troy DeShano - Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Four weekends full of games, contests, and competitions give you many different ways to be a winner this March at Crystal Mountain! Here's a preview of some of the fun you won't want to miss.

Stylin on the Slopes Costume Contest

Saturday, March 4

Strut your creative Mardi Gras purple, gold and green costumes on the slopes! Earn beads for creativity and enthusiasm. Meet at the Lodge slopeside tent at 2:00pm for judging. 
Top adult male and female will be crowned King/Queen of the Mountain and win a 2017-18 Premier Season Pass.

Mardi Gras Open Jam

Saturday, March 4

Skiers and Snowboarders, come show off your moves at the Mardi Gras Open Jam. Prizes awarded to top 3 in each division. All participants are entered into a drawing to win a new Snowboard! $10 registration includes March on the Mountain Tee and giveaways! 
Register here.

It’s All Downhiller Alpine Race

Saturday, March 4
Partner up with your child for the Big Easy Family Race, or take a shot at The Cajun Downhiller - a hot and spicy race down Gorge and Cheers.

Register at our Snowsports Desk Friday March 3 or Saturday morning March 4.

Cardboard Classic

Saturday, March 11

Build a sled using only standard cardboard and duct tape. You can win a trophy in either the Creative Sled Contest or the Cardboard Classic Race itself! Each competition has adult (13 and older) and child (12 and under) division.
Registration from 9:30-10:00am on the Lodge deck.
Cardboard Classic rules here.

Slush Cup

March 11 and March 18
Major bragging rights are up for grabs in this perennial favorite! You're going to need some speed to make it across the giant icy, slushy pit! Come on out to Spring Carnival on the 11th or Celts & Kayaks on the 18th.

Kayak on the Snow Race

Saturday, March 18
Win a trophy with the best time kayaking on the snow! Show your skill in the adult (13 and older) and child (12 and under) division.
Registration 9:30-10:30am. Equipment provided. Participants must be at least 8 years old.
Kayak on the Snow Race Rules

Scavenger Hunts and More!

How's your hunting skills? Keep your eyes peeled on the slopes in these fun scavenger challenges!

Get Up! Mountain Run

Saturday, March 25

Win a 2017-18 Premier Season pass! Run, walk or climb to the top of Loki, slush or shine! Medals for all finishers.
Register Here.

Get Down! Bike Race

Saturday, March 25

Race down the mountain for your chance at a 2017-18 Premier Season Pass! Medals are awarded for top three in both Fat Tire and Open categories.
Register Here.

Mini Games on the Lodge Deck

Stop by the DJ Dance party every Saturday afternoon this March for fun games perfect for the celebration - hula hoops, rubix cube, limbo and more!

Everyone’s a Winner!

Even if competitions aren’t your thing, you just cannot lose with this much fun! Enjoy awesome FREE slopeside concerts, DJ dances, crafts for kids, special fitness classes, outdoor BBQ on the deck and festive menu items to keep you energized and having a blast!

Book Now » or call for reservations.

Test Your Pedal Mettle
Nancy Story - Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Great grooming habits take place everywhere on the mountain – on the Alpine slopes, on the Nordic trails, and on the Fat Tire Bike trails.  If you haven’t yet sampled our fat tire trails, maybe March is your month to JUST DO IT.  Chris Remy, our resident bicycle guru, offers these tips:

The Bikes:  

The  Fuji Wendigo is the newest addition to our fleet, featuring massive 5” tires. It joins 12 SE Bike Fat-E’s – the workhorses of our fleet -and four framed Mini-Sota’s 24” wheeled fat bikes, great for tweens and the vertically challenged.

The Grooming:

We groom our trails and the Betsie River Pathway at least 3 times a week or more depending on conditions. We now have our own dedicated grooming sled and roller. When the trails get crustier and less favorable for skiing, they get better for fat bikes. (*Note: Trails are closed when it is too soft or muddy due to warm temperatures. Once it freezes again with fresh snow, it’s back to bike trail grooming!)

The Trails:

Otter Loop- Friendly to all fitness levels, this lighted loop is geared for beginners and serves as a wonderful warmup to longer rides.   

Fat Tire Trail- Here’s the feeder trail to our backwoods experience. Starting off Keewadin Drive , this groomed singletrack has just one hill and can be ridden as an out-and-back, or used to access the Fat Loop and Betsie River Pathway.

Fat Loop-Located on the south side of County Line Road, this groomed loop is nestled in the woods with rolling elevation changes and flowing turns. It’s just under a mile in length.

Betsie River Pathway- This backwoods experience features eight miles of singletrack groomed trail that links to our Crystal trails. The pathway is a relatively flat, fun ramble through varied terrain, from pine stands to hardwoods and old orchards. Even in the dead of winter, you’ll see lots of wildlife.

What to Expect:

The Ride-As we tell beginning riders - Fat Biking is a workout! There is more resistance than on typical bikes, so we recommend riders give themselves an easier gear and use a slightly higher cadence. There is no major learning curve to riding on the snow, but we do advise staying seated when climbing. Riders will want to keep their weight over that rear tire for traction.

The Outfit-Think cross country skiing, and wear layers. Riders should start out feeling a little chilled, because they’ll warm up quickly. Either a ski/boarding helmet or standard bicycle helmet can be used. Warm gloves, not mittens, and even goggles are appropriate if the sun is out or the snow is blowing! Hiking boots work great; snow boots are okay but can tend to be a bit heavy for riding. No ski boots! (A pro's tip: Wrap your foot inside a plastic bag before putting on your hiking boots for cheap and instant wind and water resistance)

This March, you can even test your pedal mettle on the slopes. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from March 21-30th, we’ll open up a loop on the ski hill from 5-8pm for Fat Tire biking after the slopes have closed. (A $10 trail pass is required, and bike rentals include a trail pass). Call for details at the Park at Water’s Edge, ext. 7000.