Mountain Blog

Reading the Rocks
Nancy Story - Thursday, May 30, 2013


 Flats of flowers covered the base of Totem Park last week as over 7500 annuals were  delivered to our door. Now the work begins, to splash floral color across Crystal’s outdoor canvas and make the place bright with summer colors. It takes a crew of eight, under the masterful eye of grounds manager Kathy Maginity, nearly two weeks to plant all this color – plus position the hefty monster planters throughout the premises, hang the baskets, tend to the perennials coming up through the soil,  and conduct/maintain general plant health checks throughout the warm weather months into fall. 

Watching it all from afar are the deer – those notorious plant eaters who view every day as a breakfast buffet. Kathy says that deer are the biggest pests on premise, chewing up hostas and yews, among other things. They’re particularly fond of tulips – which is why we don’t plant them anymore.   Good thing they haven’t gone after Kathy’s favorite, the non-stop bonfire begonias, which in her view are the prettiest annual flower we display.                                   
   Begonias   Persicaria polymorpha

Besides all the new annuals, our perennials have emerged in all their reliable glory. Kathy’s vote for prettiest perennial flower is the persicaria polymorpha. You’ll be able to pick out the persicaria by its rock. Perched among perennials along the walkway areas between Kinlochen, the Bungalows, and the Peak/Spa building,  are rocks labeled with the names of the perennial plant they’re parked next to.  By reading the rocks, guests can become familiar with the plants and flowers that adorn our landscape each summer. (Too bad the deer can't read. Rocks could identify plants as NOT ON THE MENU).



The Learning League
Nancy Story - Wednesday, May 15, 2013



 Guiding the learning curve for Crystal’s Monday Learning League is PGA Golf Professional Ed Laprade. A seasoned veteran of the links, Ed has been teaching players of every level for over 20 years and has been at Crystal Mountain since 1999.  Named one of the Best Teachers in State (#5) by Golf Digest, Ed will be instructing Learning League golfers on how to get in the game.  Here’s what Ed has to say:

Crystal Mountain’s Monday Learning League is a great way for new golfers, as well as those getting back into the game, to learn golf’s fundamentals and make some new friends in the process. Beginning Monday, June 10th, the League will meet each Monday from 6-7:30pm for five weeks.  Offered in a fun, unintimidating environment, this all-encompassing, five-week program provides instruction in the full swing, short game (putting, chipping, pitching and bunkers) and all the necessary skills to begin playing golf.  It starts with the very basics – like, how do you check in for your round?  What do the terms “chipping”, “pitching” or “bunkers” refer to?  With our Learning League, you won’t be clueless for long. 

After working on golf swing basics, we’ll head out on the course in week three, where players will apply their new skills to the course with supervised play. After five weeks, players receive a Membership Card stating that they are members of Crystal’s Learning League.  This card has a greens fee rate available for three holes, six holes and nine holes on the Betsie Valley course, and can be used for playing the rest of the season.  It provides new golfers with an opportunity for improving new skills while increasing play a few holes at a time.  So – whether you have some golfing experience already or are brand new to the game, come and join the Monday Learning League! 

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1: June 10- Instruction at the Learning Center

Week 2:  June 17- Instruction at the Learning Center

Week 3:  June 24- Instruction on the course

 Week 4:  July 1-Instruction on the course/ Play scramble/ alternate shot, family tees

 Week 5:  July 8-Instruction on the course/ Play scramble/ alternate shot, family tees


Winter's Cure for the Curse of the New Guy
Keirsun Scott - Wednesday, May 08, 2013

"I'm NOT cursed!"

These were the first words out of my mouth when waking up to another foot of fresh snow on a February morning this past winter. Let me explain the source of my defunct despair.

I started working at Crystal Mountain in the fall of 2011 and the winter of 2011/12 was my first winter at the resort. As you may remember, that winter was SNOW-STARVED. Benzie County, Michigan officially recorded 69 inches of snow in 2011/12, the lowest recorded snowfall since the winter of 1973/74 when we saw a meager 33.5 inches.*

Needless to say, that first winter I developed a case of new-guy-with-no-snow syndrome. People would joke that I shouldn't worry about the weather; that it's really not my fault. But every now and then I would catch a colleague throwing a low glare my way. I imagined they were about to suddenly point at me and shout out, "He brought this plague upon us!"

Snow is a precious commodity at a ski resort. Needless to say, my timing was not good.

But the winter of 2012/13 turned the short trend on edge. More than 150 inches of snow blanketed our mountain! Skiers and riders celebrated with waist-deep powder turns. Cross-country skinny-skiers shared tales of "perfect" trail conditions. Dog sleds careened through overgrown jungles of white. Kids cooped up in their parents mini-vans for the drive north, sprinted from their seats to race up the seemingly sky-high piles built by our road plows while battling blizzards. Snow lovers of all sizes rejoiced.

While looking at our snowfall totals for the last 20 years, it was only an average winter. Regardless, 12+ feet of natural snow is the kind of winter that puts perma-smiles on the lips of Midwestern powder hounds.

Part of my occupation here at Crystal is to take photos of what's happening at the resort. With the following photos, which were all posted to our Crystal Mountain Facebook page this past winter, I intend to put an end to the Curse of the New Guy.

December 10, 2012 - Great snow making temps for a solid week. sunrise snowmaking

December 21 - Winter Storm Draco dumps 14 inches. Winter Storm Draco
Winter Storm Draco

January 3, 2013 - Snowmobiling on excellent trail conditions with our partner Crystal Adventures. Michigan Snowmobiling

January 10 - Skiing with 102-year-old Lou Batori, the oldest NASTAR racer ever, was the experience of a lifetime. Lou is my hero and a true inspiration. Lou Batori
Lou Batori

January 24 - 9+ inches of lake effect powder. Snowboarding in Michigan Powder

February 1 - Snow circles are unbreakable. Snowboarding Circle

February 19 - Whiteout. Michigan Snow Whiteout

February 20 - Falling for another foot of freshies. Snowy Wipeout

February 27 - Night skiing after a week of constant snowfall. Loki Quad

March 1 - Snow was piled as high as our trail map near the lift ticket windows. Crystal Mountain Snow

March 13 - Snow madness marches on. Michigan Skier

March 19 - 18+ inches of cold smoke. This Tuesday in March dropped on us the greatest conditions of the entire winter and the first face shots I've ever experienced in Michigan. What a day! Michigan Powder Skiing
Michigan Powder Skiing

April 5 - Even the fishermen couldn't resist the slopes this winter. Skiing Fisherman

April 7 - Closing day. The best part is, winter will be here again before we know it! Michigan Snowboarder

*Source: Benzie County Road Commission