Mountain Blog

15 Ways To Fall In Love With Fall
Brittany Roberts - Friday, September 08, 2017

For those who couldn't imagine a life without seasons, there is a special love affair with the vibrant foliage that accompanies late-September and early-October in this corner of the world. Michigan's Gold Coast was the first spot mentioned in Travel + Leisure magazine's list of America's Best Fall Color Drives. Just 20 miles from the tour that winds along scenic M-22, Crystal Mountain is rated by Fodor's Travel among the country's 15 Best Resorts for Fall Getaways. So here are as many ways for you to feel the love this autumn:

1. Point Betsie Lighthouse
Just nine miles north of Frankfort, this historic site is one of Benzie County's most breathtaking year-round but never more so than color season.
22 miles from Crystal Mountain

2. Pierce Stocking Drive
Good Morning America called it the Most Beautiful Place in America. We agree. 
33 miles from Crystal Mountain

3. Empire Bluffs
A very manageable hike, but even if it weren't, the effort would be totally worth it for the view. 
24 miles from Crystal Mountain

4. Pyramid Point
It's a 2.7-mile loop but Lookout Point is only .6 miles from the trailhead. Of course, with colored leaves all around, you might not even notice. 
37 miles from Crystal Mountain

5. Narrows of Big and Little Glen Lakes
Take a few moments to pause between the two pristine bodies of water to appreciate their beauty and then wander into Glen Arbor for a drink at Art's Tavern.
28 miles from Crystal Mountain

6. Fishtown
The drive north to Leland is worth it alone, but the early-1900s fish shanties now housing quaint shops and eateries makes it even more so. 
42 miles from Crystal Mountain

7. Chairlift Rides
Every Saturday in October, enjoy the ride up the Crystal Clipper high-speed quad, but get out your camera for the ride down; you'll want a photo for Facebook or Instagram.
Behind the Lodge

8. Michigan Legacy Art Park
The 48 sculptures take on new life with the change of every season. Fall is no exception along nearly two miles of hiking trails as well as the "Access for All" trail for those with limited mobility. 
Located on-property

9. Stormcloud, St. Ambrose and Iron Fish
Nationally renowned craft beer from Stormcloud (18 miles away in Frankfort) and award-winning mead and wine from St. Ambrose Cellars (8 miles from Crystal) are great locales to toast the harvest season along with our new neighbors at Iron Fish Distillery (3 miles from Crystal).

10. Leelanau County Wine Country
Leelanau County sits on the same parallel as Burgandy, France, a region known for its wine. The wines themselves are matched only by the breathtaking landscape. We'd recommend paying a visit to our friends at Black Star Farms and Brengman Brothers.
46 miles from Crystal Mountain

11. Grand Traverse Commons
Hop out of the car for awhile to take a stroll among the historic buildings, explore the boutiques and galleries and sample cuisine, craft beer, wine and coffee.
30 miles from Crystal Mountain

12. Apple Cider & Pumpkin Donuts
While the region has a reputation for cherries, it's actually the third largest producer of apples in the nation. The cider is pretty outstanding and paired with a pumpkin donut, perfection!

13. Betsie Valley Trail
This bike trail extends from nearby Thompsonville to Frankfort, but the nine-mile ride from Beulah to the trail's end includes a nice stretch along Crystal Lake and the Betsie River.  

14. Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
Whichever direction you choose from the Dune Climb, whether the easier ride to Glen Arbor or the more challenging trip toward Empire, you won't be disappointed. 

15. A River Runs Through It
If your time on the Betsie or Platte River has been relegated to the summer, give this color tour some serious thought. 

Come play in our Backyard this winter
Brian Lawson - Thursday, September 24, 2015

THE BACKYARD | Coming Winter 2015/16

As you may have already heard, Crystal Mountain will have a total of 58 skiable trails to offer this winter with introduction of The Backyard. Nestled in a draw directly behind the front-facing slopes - hence the name Backyard – will be the new downhill skiing and snowboarding complex open for the upcoming 2015/16 winter season.

Work is already underway on The Backyard’s eight new trails, triple chairlift and snowmaking infrastructure. Crews are putting the finishing touches on the downhill trails and will begin to install towers for the triple chairlift over the next couple of weeks. Crystal has installed nearly a mile of new snowmaking pipe in order to use portable snowmaking units to cover The Backyard in a deep base of snow. New tower-mounted fan guns from Snow Machines Inc. in Midland, Michigan are being installed on the North Face complex.

This new playground invites the beginner and intrigues the more experienced skier and rider. The two trails that flank each side of the Backyard will share space with Last Chance (The Ridge) and Tammy’s Turn (North Face) with variations in pitch and contour to help new skiers and boarders advance skills and build confidence while also offering an experience different than any other location on the mountain that will entice the intermediate and expert. Six (blue-intermediate) trails in the heart of this new area offer an exciting mix of glades and open terrain with rises, banks and rollers to explore. 

Come this winter and play in our Backyard!

How to conquer Father's Day
Abbey Neerken - Thursday, June 18, 2015

If you’re not already planning to treat Dad to a day of fun and adventure this weekend, the Father’s Day deals at Crystal Mountain will help you build an itinerary for a day that won’t soon be forgotten. And, since Father’s Day this year happens to land on Summer Solstice, one with more daylight than any all year, we’ve prepared an extensive list of discounts and activities to fill the day!

First thing’s first.

Stop by the Peak Fitness Center with dad and get a 10-punch punch card for $64, regularly $96. This card can be used toward access to the Peak Fitness Center, select fitness classes and select activities from Park at Water's Edge.

Visit the Alpine Slide or bike rental for more fun. On Father’s Day, dads receive free entrance into the Pool, a free Alpine Slide Pass, or free Bike Rental with the purchase of a child pass or rental.  

Dads deserve to golf on Father’s Day.

Before you are seen on the course or at the range, revamp Dad’s style at the Kinlochen Pro Shop. Father’s Day sales are available all day in the pro shop and include:
  • Bermuda Sands clothing: buy one at regular price, get one of equal or lesser value  50% off
  • 50% off all golf bags
  • 50% off TaylorMade and Cobra golf clubs
  • 20% off Suncloud sunglasses
  • Challenge Dad to a drive, chip and putt competition! Dads on Father's Day get buy one get one buckets of driving range balls for double the fun!

    After you get warmed up at the range, get out on the course. Father's Day only, dads can golf Mountain Ridge for $45 (including cart) and Bestie Valley $35 (including cart). Reserve your tee time while they last!

    Who can actually do more pushups, you or your dad?

    After you school him on the basketball court, lap him in the pool and out-speed him on the mountain bike trails, bring Dad back to the Peak Fitness Center. Help your old man get in shape with a 10-session Personal Training Package at for $299, regularly $329. Sessions are valid for one year from the date of purchase, so next year he can beat you at your own game!

    You and Dad can relax on Father’s day at the spa.

    Maybe you’ve been a little too hard on Dad, after all he does do so much for you or whatever your store bought card said. This Father's Day spa special, designed just for men, is great to get dad relaxing after a workout on the links, a day of mountain biking, or screaming down the Alpine Slide. Valid June 1-30, the Mountain Man Package begins with a 25-minute Recharge massage, followed by our 50-minute Mountain Man Pedicure and includes a craft beer or glass of wine. A total of approximately 75 minutes, only $99 (regularly $109); Advance reservations required and subject to availability so make an appointment ahead of time or for another valid day. Visit Spa Specials for all the details.

    Take care of dinner; treat Dad to the Thistle Pub & Grille.

    It’s important to have a hearty meal after all that fun. The Thistle Father's Day Special includes a pint of on-tap microbrew beer & the Thistle burger for just $14

    Don’t hold back on your Father’s Day!

    Special offers only available Sunday, June 21, 2015 unless specifically stated otherwise. Get updates and more information on the Father’s Day event page.

    The Backyard, Coming Winter 2015/16
    Brian Lawson - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

    Updated: September 2015

    This spring Crystal Mountain will be replacing this shed with a chairlift terminal surrounded by eight new downhill trails. You’ve probably skied or boarded right past it countless times on your way to the North Face.

    Based on some of the tracks we’ve found back there, some of you reading this blog have probably already tested this terrain. The Backyard is located straight back from the Crystal Clipper High-speed Quad nestled in a draw between The Ridge and North Face. The new complex will be serviced by a triple chairlift and include a mix of green (beginner) and predominantly blue (intermediate) trails.

    The two outside runs will share terrain with Last Chance (The Ridge) and Tammy’s Turn (North Face) before breaking off into new territory. Here’s a look at how it sets up:

    As the snow thaws, crews will begin work on the project with trails being shaped and lift towers and terminals installed over the course of the summer. These eight new trails will be ready for next winter (2015/16) bringing Crystal Mountain’s total to 58.

    There is much work to be done over the next eight months - including names for the new trails - so stay tuned for updates!

    How to Make a Quick(er) Buck
    Keirsun Scott - Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Following our last update, construction continues on our new Buck Quad chairlift, which will be operational for the 2013/14 winter season.

    This week Team Elmer's was busy pouring the concrete for both our lower and upper lift terminals. Here's the team working at the top of the mountain.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    The majority of Buck slope's re-sculpting has been completed. Looking down the lift line, it's easy to see how much the slope has been widened. Buck is about to become my favorite northern Michigan black diamond run all over again.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    Team Elmer's used their Pump Truck to deliver concrete to the pre-built, lift terminal forms.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    The concrete has now set up and the forms have been removed to reveal the foundations for the lift terminals.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    The Buck Glades have been cut skier's right of the expanded slope. The new gladed run will drop skiers and riders onto Hoot Owl slope, which leads to the base of Buck slope.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    Next on our to-do list: pouring concrete for the foundations of our new snow guns that will be placed beneath each lift tower.

    Buck Construction

    More Bang for Your Buck
    Keirsun Scott - Saturday, June 29, 2013

    While we're busy enjoying another gorgeous northern Michigan summer to its fullest, we frequently find ourselves having to stop, stare, and point up at the stunning construction project happening on the south side of our frontside slopes.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    For those unaware, we are replacing our old Buck chairlift, which was installed in 1978, with a new Skytrac Quad Lift. The new Buck Quad will be similar to the Loki Quad lift we installed in 2011, but without a loading conveyor. The new Buck Quad will be operational for the 2013/14 winter season. In addition to the new ski-under lift expanding our skiable terrain on Buck slope, we are creating a new glade area skier's right of the Buck lift line.

    The demolition of the old Buck lift happened this spring, with the removal of the old lift towers and tower foundations, in addition to all of the snow guns along the lift line.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    In June we began glading the south slope trees, skier's right of the lift line. While there is still work to be done, there are some fantastic lines forming in the forested area that has always been accessible from Teddy's Turn slope. But the thick trees and not so well-known access route kept the area under the radar of most skiers and riders. While an official slope rating is forthcoming, the new glade area will likely be intermediate to expert. The new glades are much steeper than our Glacier Valley Glade Area. In my opinion, the Buck glades are shaping up to be some of the best tree skiing on the mountain.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    Also in June we began relocating the snow guns that stood in the Buck lift line to other parts of the mountain. Soon we will have at least six new snow guns on Buck slope. Alpers Excavating of Traverse City has been a crucial partner in the entire project and is currently in the process of re-grading the face of Buck slope.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    Construction has already begun on the base lift terminal and new lift towers should begin to go up the first half of August.

    Buck Construction
    Buck Construction

    Buck slope is a perennial and award-winning favorite of many Michigan and Midwest snow sliders. Having grown up on the slopes of northern Michigan, I know only a handful of named runs in the lower peninsula that get the blood pumping and my boards flirting with gravitational forces the way Buck does. That being said, we are taking care to ensure the legacy of Buck endures for our future generations of skiers and riders.

    Here at Crystal Mountain, we are looking forward to sharing our expanded frontside terrain this winter. And I'll be right there with you, making new turns on a classic run.

    Interested in purchasing a chair from our old Buck or Loki lifts? Please complete the form below.

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    Buck Quad Chair
    Loki Double Chair

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