Property Owner Zip – A quick version of our newsletter!

Welcome to our winter edition of your newsletter containing helpful (and I hope interesting) information for you as an owner here at Crystal Mountain. Please take a few moments to scan the newsletter. If you have any questions on anything you read, don’t hesitate to give me a call. You can call me directly or through the Owners’ Hotline (ext. 3360). ~ Steph

Reservations Phone Numbers – Just a reminder to the note I sent out in the fall . . . due to procedure changes and software upgrades within our reservations department, we have implemented a Dedicated Owner Reservation hotline number; 888-976-3528; to ensure your call is handled by the next onsite Reservation Agent. As always you are able to utilize your dedicated email address for new reservations or to make changes to existing reservations. You are also able to utilize our Owner Hotline at ext. 3360 or for reservation questions (availability, changing dates, cancelling). Please discontinue use of 800-Your-Mtn as you will not be identified as an owner and may be connected with our new off-site call center in Oregon which now handles after-hours and over-flow calls.

Buck Quad CelebrationOn Friday, December 20 from 3-7 PM please join us for our celebration to be held on the Kinlochen Plaza. Enjoy food, fun, giveaways and more! There will be food and beverage specials for only $1, including: Draft beer, soda, hot dogs, BBQ pork sandwiches, cookies, Crystal Crispies, and fresh chips. Don’t forget to wear your antlers that you received during Property Owners’ Weekend!

Ski Storage – With the season starting, just a friendly reminder that skis should not be brought into interior hallways or your units. Please use your ski storage as their resting place as they cause a great deal of damage to painted walls.

Calendars – In your December statements to be mailed next month, you will find your calendar for 2016. They can also be found online in the Property Owners section of the website; the whole owner calendar is up with the fractionals being posted shortly. Please remember it is imperative to send those into us. All weeks automatically are available for guest rental, unless we receive a calendar telling us otherwise. Many people say they have no idea what their schedules will be in 2016. It is probably a good idea to reserve those high-demand times (New Years, MLK Weekend, President’s Weekend, and Fourth of July) at this time, and then go back and figure out the occasional visits as we get closer to 2016. Remember, you have ‘first dibs’ on your unit up until one-year out. Then a guest has the ability to place a deposit guaranteeing his placement in a specific unit.

Back To School on the Mountain - Through the generosity of the Benzie County area businesses, Benzie County Community and the Crystal Mountain Property Owners, the Mrs. Mullen's Closet fundraiser "Back to School on the Mountain" was a huge success. With over 200 people in attendance, approximately $25,000 was raised through the 125 live and silent action items along with numerous cash donations. The cafeteria style lunch line with area "celebrity" servers, student performers and student workers helped make the evening very enjoyable. Almost daily, Mrs. Mullen's Closet has been meeting the needs of area students and families. We appreciate the support Crystal Mountain Property Owners showed once again this year and we hope to see you at our next Mrs. Mullen's Closet fundraiser in 2015. Also, don't forget about the Scottville Clown Band raffle in August that also benefits Mrs. Mullen's Closet. If you haven’t already, please ‘like’ the Mrs. Mullen’s Closet Facebook site to stay connected to this fabulous organization.

XC or FT – I read an article recently concerning the conflict that exists on the Vasa Trail in Traverse City between the cross country skiers (XC) and the fat-tire bikers (FT). Seeing we have both here at Crystal, I thought I would ask our resident XC expert Scott Wilson his opinion as well as Chris Remy, our FT guru how things work with our awesome trail system. Scott says, “Obviously Fat Bikes are growing in popularity that’s why we have them here. XC skiers always want the best possible conditions so we designate only a small portion of our trail system for bikes. The majority of our trails are “ski only.” If the snow conditions are good the bike tracks are barely noticeable. When there is melting during the day and freezing at night, they do create ruts that make skiing more difficult.” Chris shares, “Kathy Maginity (groomer extraordinaire), Janice Davidson (recreation manager) and I, make daily judgment calls on when bikes should/should not be on the trails based on the snow conditions. Our designated multi-use trail (Otter) and dedicated Fat Bike Loop are both very popular with Fat Bikers, snow shoers, trail runners and XC Skiers in the winter. After last year we found that actual damage to the trail caused by Fat Bikes is far less then XC skiers are supposing it to be. We did find that ‘normal’ mountain bike tires can leave nasty ruts due to the narrower tire, so, we only allow actual Fat tire Bikes because the wider tire disperses the load much better.” Crystal has embraced the Fat Bikes with our 2nd annual race Fat Chance Fat Bike race coming up on January 5th 2014 which is now part of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series! The Fat tire Bikes are an awesome and popular addition to our wide range of winter activities at Crystal Mountain and we look forward to another exciting winter of riding and racing!

Dining at Crystal – Hopefully you have noticed a few of the changes . . . coming from Kristen next week

Green Bus Pass Crystal Mountain is pleased to continue with the Green Shuttle Bus to help reduce the number of vehicles within the resort core. Passes from 2012-13 have expired and new passes are needed for those using the shuttle. Those on rental management will continue to receive complimentary shuttle use. Those who own multiple properties at Crystal Mountain will be given a complimentary pass as a thank you for their continued investment within Crystal. Those who need to purchase a yearly pass ($80) or a monthly pass ($15/month) can do so at the Front Desk.

Ski Season Happy Hours – Just a reminder for those of you who are Four Seasons Club members, don’t forget that the location of Happy Hour will be not be in the Kinlochen Lobby beginning December 27 due to ski traffic. Most will be in the Conference Center on the third floor in the area we call Lake Harbor. Four will be in the Wild Tomato (Jan 10 & 31 as well as Feb 7 & 28), and one will be in Arctic Bay on January 17. Hours remain from 6-8 PM and the drink special will still be offered when charged to your membership account.

Foodie FilesPizza will be my topic of this time around. As you know you can get great pizza right here from the Little Betsie Bistro along with a great selection of subs for a quick casual meal. However, if you are out and about, here are a few of my favorite stops. I finally tried Stormcloud Brewing Company in Frankfort this week. It has flatbreads which are pizza in my mind. My family tried three of the flatbreads and weren’t disappointed with a single one. I thought it was a good size for one person, although a light eater might have a piece or two left. We sampled the Rider on the Storm (me), the Stormavore (hubby), and their special pizza for the day called Thai One On (daughter). We all swapped for a piece of each one. The flavor combos were phenomenal and the crust was thin, but not cracker-like. Popcorn is another thing to try at Stormcloud; fun flavors like Coconut/Sriracha and Apple/Cayenne. The Filling Station Microbrewery also has flatbreads. They aren’t huge but one is just a bit much for a person to eat on their own. My husband and I each got one and brought home the leftovers. Fun flavor combinations to accompany a nice selection of beer. It is in TC in the old railroad depot with views of Boardman Lake. Pangeas Pizza in downtown TC has monthly ethnic offerings (November was Scandinavia and December is Germany) along with 20 different pizzas on their menu. The German Hunter’s Pizza features sausage, roasted carrots, tangy onions, mashed potatoes, all covered with gravy. The Scandinavian one had pickled herring on it – I often wonder how many of these pizzas they sell! Sign up for the Pizza Plus Club and receive monthly emails and specials. If you are exploring the area to the south and have a hankering for pizza, be sure to check out Big Al’s just north of Manistee. I opt for the stromboli when we make that trip. One used to feed my family of four when the kids were younger, but now we need two and have enough to bring home for one person’s lunch the next day. Pick three toppings and get a $9.99 stromboli with a dipping sauce of your choice (we just get pizza sauce). Keep in mind this place is not one to which you go for atmosphere; very, very casual and low key. Other places that rate high on my list include: Geno’s in Thompsonville (Monday night pizza special), Peegeo’s near the Spider Lakes in TC (Paesano Cheese bread is out of this world), any A Papano’s Pizza with multiple locations (butter garlic parmesan crust is my favorite), and Papa J’s for their lunch pizza buffet. Check out their websites for coupons and directions.