From alpine skis to brewskis, our former Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Rick Schmitt pens this farewell to the Mountain, as he leaves us to embark upon a new career at the helm of Stormcloud Brewing, opening in downtown Frankfort this summer.
As the cliché goes, on February 28th, I saddled up my horse and packed up the proverbial cardboard box of personal items, riding off in the sunset after 17 extraordinary years working for Crystal Mountain. While the cold winter evening did not deliver the idyllic golden ray expanse that we have grown to covet, the sunset of my memories at the Mountain could not be shaded with the Midwestern grey sky. Indeed, driving away with boxes full of memories in the back seat was truly bittersweet. Not only has Crystal “grown up” over my tenure, I had grown as well.
With admiration and apologies to Travel Michigan and Tim Allen for the comparison, the Pure Michigan commercial 25,000 Mornings came to mind as I departed the resort, in that I was reminiscent of the 6000 plus Evenings I had experienced at Crystal over the years. For those not familiar with the Pure Michigan commercial, I encourage you to view it online. In my opinion, it’s the best in the award winning series. Tim Allen speaks movingly about how many Mornings we get in our lives (turns out about 25,000 on average), and how we spend them in traffic and on treadmills. Allen continues to voice over incredible images of our beautiful state to compliment his words - that if we are lucky, really lucky, we get a few mornings that are Pure Michigan. If true, which I believe it is, I am the luckiest man in the world.
As a transplant from Colorado, I can say without hesitation that living, working and raising a family in Northern Michigan is truly a dream, and one I would not change for anything in the world. It has been a privilege and an honor to have called Crystal Mountain my professional home for so many years. While the sun has set for the last time at the Mountain for me personally, I take away many Pure Michigan memories which I hope future generations can also share.