A familiar Crystal voice now stilled rings on in the back hills of the Backyard.
EIO and EIO Glades are new names on this year’s downhill trail map, commemorating a popular figure who was part of the Crystal Mountain landscape for over 25 years. Doug Caswell, a long-time Crystal Club homeowner, passed away last spring– and now, his trademark greeting “E.I.O!” will forever be a part of our slopes.
If you’re a Crystal regular, and you never met Doug…well, you probably knew him anyway. He might have even offered you a lift in his slope taxi. Forever clad in a bright red Stroh’s ski cap, Doug piloted his Christmas-light covered ATV and trolley throughout the resort in every season, accompanied by polka music or the Notre Dame fight song resonating from its speakers. Exuberant by nature, Doug’s endless enthusiasm for skiing, golfing and fun made him a treasured character around here. He was the only non-Crystal employee to ever be awarded the resort’s Service Excellence award, honoring his welcoming nature to residents, guests and staff alike.
Announcing the new slope names highlighted last October’s 4th annual auction/fundraiser held at Crystal Mountain for Mrs. Mullen’s Closet, a non-profit organization that collects warm clothes for needy students in all four Benzie County elementary schools. Set up several years ago in memory of Dyanne Mullen, an educator and part-time Crystal Mountain resident, this year’s event also raised money in Doug’s name for the charity. Those who donated a minimum bid of $200 per person or $400 per family earned a membership in the newly formed EIO Club.
This Sunday, January 7th, EIO Club members will meet at the base of the Backyard lift at 9am for an official slope dedication ceremony. They’ll be able to ski the Backyard runs before those slopes open to the public at 10am. At the bottom of the EIO runs, they’ll raise a Stroh’s Beer toast in honor of Doug. Plus, each skier will receive an official EIO pin to mark the occasion.
In addition to the EIO contributions, an ongoing fundraiser to support Mrs. Mullen’s Closet continues elsewhere on the slopes. Head over to the Buck chairlift – can you spot the blue plaques on the backs of the chairs? Fifty-seven blue plaques have been made available at $400 per plaque, with names engraved on each one and attached to the chair backs on the Buck lift. The plaques are expected to be on the lifts for ten years, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to read them all. Perhaps you’d like to purchase one yourself – but they’re going fast! So far, over 41 plaques have been purchased. For information on how to purchase a plaque, check out the Mrs. Mullen’s Closet Benzie County Facebook page.
And don’t forget to drop into the Backyard this season to make tracks on the newly named run and glade area – trails that echo with a familiar whoop of joy: “E.I.O!”