Mountain Blog

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!


Placing the centerpiece
Brian Lawson - Thursday, April 23, 2015

It’s a question that’s been begged by illustrations from Crystal’s master plan and asked any number of times over the last 25 years, “When will you build the village?” Well, if you seek a pleasant village, look about you. What’s missing is that center piece to the puzzle. Not for much longer.

This summer begins a $10 million expansion for Crystal Mountain starting in The Backyard with six new slopes and a triple chairlift but front and center, figuratively and literally, will be a 25,000 square-foot, LEED-certified addition to the Inn at the Mountain. This is perhaps the most transformative project in the resort’s history and one that will add a new energy and vitality to the heart of the village.

It will be a space that connects every corner of this mountain community, a new gathering place where meaningful connections are made over a cup of coffee, glass of wine or pint of craft beer. Moments will be shared viewing the slopes from a rooftop plaza and taking vows in beautifully manicured gardens within the park below. Inside a new specialty grocery you’ll find tastes and treats that capture the distinctive flavor of northern Michigan.

Presales are currently underway for the eight, two- and three-bedroom Inn Residences - with eighth-shares beginning at $85,900. The design offers a versatility unlike anything Crystal has done in the past. The Residences will have a contemporary vibe with natural accents and a layout that make it possible for this phase to be used as 20 individual hotel rooms and five garden suites. As a result of this thoughtful design and its special features, an owner can spend time at the mountain and rent out a room without sacrificing privacy.

Over half the shares needed to put shovels in the ground have already been sold. Crystal anticipates breaking ground in early-fall (2015) with construction taking approximately 12 months. You can find more information, renderings and elevations online and if you’d like more details about ownership in the Residences give a call to Karyn Thorr, Nancy Call or Joan O’Neill at Crystal Mountain Realty, 800.968.2911.

Stay tuned to the Mountain Blog for the latest expansion updates on new slopes in The Backyard and the Inn Residences project.

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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