Mountain Blog

Snow Bike Fleet Ready to Roll!
Nancy Story - Monday, November 26, 2012


Blog post by Chris Remy, Crystal Mountain's Mountain Bike Specialist

Whatever you’ve heard about fat tire bikes - game changer, great second bike or a great way to continue cycling thru the winter – one thing is for sure. There’s no way you can miss those giant 26x4" tires! Fat tire bikes float thru most any surface with ease, the giant tires offering a fun, stable platform for riding through snow, sand, or rough trails very easily.

Crystal Mountain is embracing Fat bikes as an addition to our winter sports programs, with a Fat bike rental fleet and a dedicated Fat bike groomed trail loop. This winter, you’ll be able to rent a Fat bike and ride over to our two-mile Fat Loop, or just cruise around the Crystal campus. Crystal Mountain's Pineapple Mountain Bike Trail Loops will also be open and maintained for the more adventurous Fat bike rider, for a total of five plus miles of Fat bike trails.

Crystal's 2013 rental fleet will include Fat Sand Cruiser IIs and Surly Pugsleys. The Fat Sand Cruiser II is a cruiser- style bike with a 3-speed internal shifter, coaster brake and front disc brake. Think beach cruiser on steroids! The Surly Pugsley is the benchmark of Fat tire bikes. As the original fat tire bike, the Pugsley is still the most popular among riders. A steel-framed mountain bike with a nine- speed drive train and front and rear disc brakes, the Pugsley is a beast that lives up to its name: big, ugly and impossible not to love!

Come try a Fat bike on your own, or join me for a Saturday tour. No matter what the weather brings this winter, a Fat bike will make it fun!

Giving Thanks
Tom Kramer - Monday, November 19, 2012

Per the cliché, now is the time to take a look around and give thanks.  For me, that ritual begins at home: a wonderful and inspiring wife, two curious and joyful kids, some dogs and cats that keep us all entertained, and a home in northern Michigan.

Like many of our neighbors, our family came to northern Michigan from “somewhere else.”  For us, it was a move that came after moves every couple years taking us throughout Illinois.  New jobs meant packing and moving and unpacking on a somewhat regular basis.  In 2000, we came north to a land I had known since childhood.  The kids were born in ’03 and ’06, and that pretty much settled it; we were here to stay.

Looking back at the 12+ years of being a “local,” I am thankful for the many friends we’ve made – many of them starting as coworkers and remaining friends long after we’ve all moved on.  I’m thankful for the area as a whole – I cannot think of a better place to raise a family.  I’m thankful for the sharing of ideas as we’ve ventured into new phases of our lives.  I’m thankful for the wonderful schools, the strong communities and for neighbors who have had our backs more than once when we needed them.

And I’m thankful to be here at Crystal Mountain.  It’s not where I thought I would be 12 years ago, but still, it feels like perhaps this is where I was heading all that time.  A lot of guests will be heading our way for the holidays. Maybe you’ll be among them, and for that I am thankful as well. Crystal has become a great spot for families to come together in celebration and for friends to reconnect. We thrive on the chance to welcome you to northern Michigan.  We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the season than being here with families and friends – many of whom we’ll be meeting as our guests for the first time, but hopefully, not the last. 

As we all sit down in the weeks to come, let’s all take a moment to give thanks, to say thanks, and to show our appreciation to all of those friends, neighbors, and family members that impact us throughout the year.

Happy Holidays, and pass the cranberry sauce

The Kramer Family

One of Michigan's Healthiest Employers
Nancy Story - Thursday, November 08, 2012

 This week's blog author is Gretchen Swanson, Crystal's Human Resources Manager. But that's not Gretchen on the bike. That's Kari Wyse, one of our personal fitness trainers.

We are so honored to be named one of Michigan's Healthiest Employers by Crain's Detroit Business and MiBiz.  We find ourselves sharing the “Wellness Stage” with a truly impressive peer group, all of whom have a common goal - healthy employees.

We employ over 200 full time year-round benefit eligible employees in addition to another 400 part time year-round and seasonal employees. It’s always been a Crystal tradition to offer  employees and their families free access to resort amenities. That’s just one of the many benefits of working for a family company.  As we grow, these traditions continue along with our ability to offer employees even more variety in amenities and programming to support their well-being goals.

 The six criteria used to evaluate our programs by Crain’s and MiBiz were:
• Culture and leadership commitment
• Foundational components
• Strategic planning
• Communication and marketing
• Programming and interventions
• Reporting and analysis

Like any well intentioned initiative, our wellness program has tried different things and found some programming aspects to be more successful than others.  A company has to listen to employees and solicit their insights for what they want and value. Employee feedback has been critical to the success of our wellness programming, to ensure we’re not wasting time and resources on something that isn’t connecting.

Tops among our efforts is the “Peak Performance Challenge”.  This self-directed program  allows employees to challenge themselves to earn credits for doing activities in three main areas: mind, body and community.  Employees earn credits for activities ranging from a hike, to donating blood, to gardening at home.  At each “Peak” level, employees bring their tracking booklet to our Human Resources office, where their achievement level is recorded and they can select a wellness-related reward of their choice.  Once the highest “Peak” level is achieved,  they can earn a full spa service from our Crystal Spa.  No surprise – the spa service reward has been one of the most popular choices to date for those achieving that that highest level.

Businesses who truly care about their employees will find the financial ROI (Return on Investment) in all the businesses metrics if they look for them.  Healthier employees have reduced absenteeism and increased “presenteeism” (more engagement while at work).  Bottom line – any positive lifestyle changes an employee makes will correlate to cost savings down the road. But it’s more than that.  At Crystal, it’s about doing what is right to use our employer position to connect health and wellness resources with our most valuable asset – our human capital.