The Birth of Crystal Mountain
In 1958, Toledo resident Ed Abbey and a group of investors, some of whom were summer residents in the Crystal Lake area, became interested in Buck Hills as a commercial venture. In 1960 the group purchased the ski area, and under Abbey's leadership, formed a corporation and renamed the ski area "Crystal Mountain". There were 96 original shareholders, and with the new name came, a poma tow, the first double chairlift and six electric rope tows. The Lodge, which housed a large lounge with a fireplace, 21 lodge rooms and a large outdoor heated pool - was also built.
While winter business was quite profitable, the summer months proved a serious challenge in terms of generating income and the corporation had difficulty obtaining the four or five million dollars needed to support year-round activities. So, in 1966, Crystal Mountain was transferred to a group of three investors headed by George Petritz, a local businessman. Petritz' initial intention was to sell the Resort, he once told a reporter. "But it wasn't long before I began to like it; I stayed with it," He added. Six years after acquiring Crystal Mountain, Petritz became general manager; he eventually took on sole ownership of Crystal Mountain in 1981.
Petritz' philosophy in operating the Resort was a simple one: "We believe that our customers should be treated as family members," he once said. "As if they are guests in our own home."