The first day of winter is more than a month away (Dec. 21) but the slopes at Crystal Mountain are covered in white. Over the weekend, Benzie County saw its first snowfall of the season, accompanied by snowmaking temperatures (28 degrees or less) allowing snowmakers to fire up the snow guns for 10 hours. And the forecast this week looks favorable for even more.
As skiers, snowboarders and snow-lovers alike patiently await opening day on the slopes, there are a few other things guests can look forward to this season, and snowmaking is one of them.
Crystal Mountain invested in additional stick guns this year, bringing the total number of snowmaking machines to 172. The new snow guns will be placed on the backside of the mountain near the Ridge Triple chair lift. The resort has also ordered new snowmaking pumps to increase snowmaking by up to 20 percent.
“You can’t ski or snowboard without snow, and we’re always looking for new, efficient ways to ensure our guests that this mountain will have optimum snow cover,” said Mike Cutler, director of mountain operations. “The new stick guns are perfect for covering more narrow trails and allowing our snowmakers to control where they want to make snow more precisely.”
For the more advanced skiers and riders, there’s a new downhill run – Ridge Glades, which runs through the trees between Dandy’s Delight and The Ridge. For those taking lessons on the backside of the mountain, there’s a new place to warm-up and take a break – Backyard Station.
Regardless of skill level, skiing and riding builds up thirst and an appetite. This year, our guests can stop by The Yurt nestled between the Backyard and Northface to warm up, eat and grab a drink on the mountain. The Yurt will offer hot drinks, beer, wine, chili and other grab‘n go options. There will also be additional indoor seating at the base of the mountain. After having to remove tables and chairs during the pandemic, the resort is bringing back 75-100 seats inside the Clipper Café.
“More seating, more food and beverage options – these are some of the things our guests told us they wanted to see this winter,” said Karyn Thorr, Chief Operating Officer. “So we listened. Any time we can do something to enhance guest experience, we will. We really appreciate any and all feedback.”
One of Crystal’s top priorities is providing an exceptional experience for all, which includes having high-quality equipment. Most skiers and riders looking to rent this year will be equipped with brand new skis, snowboards, boots, poles and helmets – which are now included in all rental sets at no extra charge.
“Crystal Mountain is known as a great place to learn how to ski and snowboard, and having the very best equipment can make learning a new skill that much easier,” said Thorr.
There are few new entities behind-the-scenes guests should notice as well. An upgraded online platform will provide a much smoother shopping experience for guests buying lift tickets, rentals, or season passes online. Speaking of season passes, passholder perks now include deals at two more ski resorts. In addition to Ski Cooper (CO), Swiss Valley (MI), Mount Bohemia (MI) and Caberfae Peaks (MI), Crystal Mountain season passholders will receive lift ticket deals at Marquette Mountain (MI) and Giants Ridge (MN).
Lastly, slope hours have been extended to 6 p.m. on Mondays. Stay on top of the best deals, upcoming events and special announcements (including opening day) by signing up for the Crystal Mountain e-Newsletter. For the latest trail updates and conditions, check out the daily Crystal Mountain Snow Report and slopeside web cams.