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SAMMY Award winner, Karyn Thorr, named Crystal Mountain COO

October 27, 2022

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (October 26, 2022) – Crystal Mountain has named Karyn Thorr chief operating officer effective today. Thorr has been an employee for 29 years and has since managed many different departments at Crystal, but it was her passion for snowsports that landed her at the family-owned resort in 1993.

“I learned to ski at Crystal with my family when I was 10-years-old, and went on to ski competitively in high school and college,” Thorr said. “Working here and being part of the resort’s transformation over the past few decades has been incredible, and my new role on the leadership team is exciting and an honor.”

In 2005, Thorr joined Crystal Mountain Realty , and has served as the managing broker since 2014. She has placed hundreds of families in their dream resort homes, helping to grow and enhance the Crystal community. Prior to that, she led several operating departments including marketing, conference services and skier services. More recently, as managing broker, she played a critical role in the successful development of the Inn Phase II, a 12 million dollar project completed in 2017.

Thorr succeeds John Melcher, who served as COO prior to being named CEO last December.

“Karyn is an outstanding leader with a track record of success at Crystal for nearly three decades,” said Melcher. “This transition is a great example of our philosophy to promote from within. Her experience, enthusiasm and commitment to our company exemplifies the magic in our business – fun!”

As COO, Thorr will oversee on-mountain operations including lifts, grooming, maintenance, resort safety and snowsports. She will also continue to serve as the principal broker for Crystal Mountain Realty.

“Jim and I have had the joy of seeing Karyn mature as a leader over the last two decades, wearing many hats and excelling in every role she has undertaken,” said Chris MacInnes, President of Crystal Mountain. “We are thrilled she is moving on to this next chapter in her career, and know that it’s a great fit. Her passion for snowsports, powerful vision of a healthy, thriving community and commitment to family, friends and co-workers make her the right person for this position.”

Thorr achieved her PSIA Level III Certification, and in 2000, she received one of the industry’s most coveted recognitions, the Sammy Award (Future Leadership Award) awarded by Ski Area Management (SAM).

"The nomination from 22 years ago still remains true today," said MacInnes. 


She is described by her boss as, "A woman with many hats." And indeed she is. Karyn directs Crystal's ski school, ticket sales and rentals, involving a staff of 100. As if this weren't enough, she oversees the conference center and its 25-person staff. She engenders initiative and leadership; her enthusiasm is contagious, her hallmark: solutions that work.

Karyn is active in programs that bring skiers, especially women, to the sport. As Midwest liaison for SSAW, she implements a number of their programs. Locally, she chairs the County Parks and Rec. Commission.

(Nomination from 2000)

She’s also the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the CMU Recreation Parks and Leisure Services Administration, and is a board member of Cherryland Electric’s ‘Cherryland Cares.’

Thorr earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts in commercial recreation and hospitality from Central Michigan University, where she was a member of the ski team. Before returning to northern Michigan, she was employed at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

She and her husband Tom raised two daughters in Thompsonville, and share a deep appreciation for spending time outdoors.

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About Crystal Mountain:
Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 1,500-acre resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, shopping, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan s only alpine slide, Peak Fitness, the Park at Water s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings, a conference center, and real estate options. Visit for more resort details or information about Four Seasons Club memberships.
Crystal Mountain Media Contact:
Brittney Buti
Manager of Public Relations
Cell: 269.845.1352


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