Mountain Blog

One for the history books.
Nancy Story - Sunday, April 13, 2014

Winter rushed in this year with a jaw-dropping early snowfall.

Must have been the karma of the new Buck chair.

Early December was epic for powder play days...

...but it didn't end there. The snow kept piling up.

The only sunlight came from night lights.

And the flakes kept falling.

Every day there was a fresh white canvas to carve snow signatures.

So many postcard days on pristinely groomed slopes.

Nordic skiers rushed over to the superbly groomed XC trail system...

...where stunning snowscapes hung around all season.

Light, fluffy flakes kept falling, apparently mistaking us for the Rockies.

It was a winter where new skiers greeted perfect conditions...

...and veteran 103 year-old skiers came to sample the slopes once again.

Skiing buddies bonded by the sport, banded together all season long.

Snowsport instructors introduced skills and spread the love of winter.

The infamous polar vortex loosened its grip in time for March Madness...

...with plenty of thrills and Slush Cup spills.

In a season that lasted 129 days, skiing records were broken.

But it's the record 225 inches of snowfall that we'll remember most.


Across the Generations: Why Winter Never Ends
Nancy Story - Tuesday, April 01, 2014


“I remember looking up the Buck hill with the Poma lift and thinking it was the biggest scariest hill I’d ever seen!”

Linda Plant Kidd recalls with relish her first trip to the slopes. This Muskegon native and her two brothers were introduced to skiing at Crystal Mountain over 45 years ago by their father, Jim Plant. She never imagined that decades later, she’d be passing along her passion for the sport to her grandson.  The Plant/Kidd crew took advantage of superb spring conditions recently to usher the next generation of their family onto the slopes. And at age 82, Jim Plant is now schussing side-by-side with his five year old great grandson Dylan.

Jim began skiing in his mid-twenties, and soon he and his wife, Marylouise, were packing up their three children for ski trips to Crystal Mountain.  “Mom and Dad always had us in ski lessons so we’d learn the proper way to ski.” Linda said. Even after Linda broke her ankle while wrestling with an old-school rope tow in her first season, she was back on the hill as soon as it healed. “I feel like I grew up at Crystal, watching all the changes that have taken place”, she said. Soon Linda and her husband were bringing their own three daughters to Crystal. Like their parents and grandparents, the Kidd daughters shared a passion for skiing and grew up on the slopes of Crystal Mountain.  Daughter Michelle became a Professional Ski Instructor Association (PSIA) -certified Level 2 instructor and now resides in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Daughter Morgan also headed out west for the skiing life, while Erin continues to ski Michigan’s mountains from her home base in Muskegon.

So it was only a matter of time before Dylan – Erin’s son and the first of the next generation of Plant/Kidd skiers - joined the family fold. “Teaching my grandson to ski is the most amazing feeling”, Linda enthused. “Yesterday, we were at the top of Main Street. Dylan looked down and said, ‘I can’t do this’. Half way down the hill, he was shouting, ‘I’m doing it, Grandma!’  He was so happy. That’s worth all the years and good family times we’ve ever had, on the slopes.”  And yes, Dylan took ski lessons - just as his mother and grandmother did.

 What remains constant in skiing, down through the ages, is family, friends, fresh air, exercise and the challenge, according to Linda. “Crystal Mountain has grown in a smart way, with a real vision for family fun. We ski Crystal because it’s always improving. You’ve got a helpful staff, and it’s not far from home.”

And Dylan? Well, his favorite run is Main Street, the run that initially filled him with  fear. He’s conquered that challenge. There are plenty of runs to conquer next winter – for the next 80 winters, in fact. Just like Great Grandpa.