Crystal Mountain: What´s new for winter 2023-24
This winter, Crystal Mountain guests will have quicker access to the slopes, lessons they can take home with them, and simply more reasons to enjoy winter in Benzie County.
Here’s what’s new this winter at Crystal Mountain:
With the addition of five new snow guns, Crystal Mountain now boasts a total of 177 snowmaking machines.
The new Super Puma Snowmakers, from Michigan-based SMI Snow Makers, are exceptionally efficient, producing even more snow than their predecessors, ensuring optimal skiing and snowboarding conditions throughout the season.
"What we love about the Super Pumas is the snow quality and the throw," says Mike Cutler, director of Mountain Operations. "Our goal is to create more snow, more efficiently, and by investing in these automated, high-tech snow guns, our snowmakers can be strategic about when and where to cover the slopes."
The newest addition to Crystal Mountain's groomer fleet is the PistenBully 400. This state-of-the-art groomer is not only designed to increase productivity, but also has the cleanest exhaust technology, meeting Tier 4 Final emission standards.
FREEDOM PASS PARTNERSHIP
For the very first time, Crystal Mountain is proud to offer the Freedom Pass to Premier passholders. This special passholder perk unlocks the freedom to explore more than 20 resorts across the country, including nearby Caberfae Peaks, for three days with zero blackout dates. This is in addition to the already established reciprocal deal at Mount Bohemia in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Plus, all season passholders enjoy discounts on lessons, lodging, retail and Crystal Spa.
Crystal Mountain is taking a significant step towards improving kids' learning experience on the slopes with the introduction of Flaik GPS-based technology.
Flaik utilizes a GPS tag that students will wear during their lesson which allows snowsports instructors to track their progress, and it also gives instructors and parents more peace of mind knowing where the kids are on the slopes. Plus, student progress reports and satisfaction surveys will be included in the "Re-live Your Lesson" follow-up messaging.
"We’re excited about implementing Flaik for Crystal’s snowsports school because it allows kids and their parents to re-live the lesson even after the session is over," says Chris Fisher, director of Snowsports. "The GPS function tracks which runs the kids take during their lesson so when the kids return to the slopes with their parents, they know which runs they’re comfortable on. Plus, it allows our instructors to know where the student left off and where to pick up in teaching when the student returns for another lesson."
Also new this year, guests can reserve their lesson online in advance, saving them time at check-in when they arrive at the Mountain Adventure Zone.
EXPANDED BACKYARD STATION
For those participating in Kids Group Snowsport Lessons, the Backyard Station has been upgraded, now twice its previous size. Just look for the buildings that resemble a train near the Backyard triple chairlift. Snowsport students can step inside, warm up, and refuel for more learning on the slopes.
PAPERLESS RENTAL PROCESS
Less lines and quicker access to the slopes – that's what the new paperless rental process will provide to Crystal Mountain guests. Save money by reserving rental equipment online in advance, and when they arrive at the resort they go straight to a rental tech who will have their information. For those who don't buy in advance, simply use the laptop at Tickets and Rental to submit your information and receive a barcode to hand to rental techs. As always, buying lift tickets online in advance not only saves time at the window but also saves guests money.
Crystal Mountain is adding to its collection of resort webcams with a new live camera at the Cross-Country Center. This is a popular way guests can see for themselves whether or not there's snow on the ground, if it's busy, or if there's a special event happening such as the Fat Chance Fat Tire bike race or Airsoft Biathlon.
NEW ART PARK SCULPTURE
Winter is a beautiful time of year to explore Michigan Legacy Art Park. The Art Park is home to 50+ sculptures and installations, including the newest addition, "Gateway to Black Eden." The more than 15-foot tall steel artwork, designed by Detroit artist M. Saffell Gardner, is an expression and reflection of the African American lake resort experience in America before the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1965. USA Today recently recognized Michigan Legacy Art Park (No. 5) among the 10Best Sculpture Parks in the United States.
For those looking for a unique dining experience, there will be outdoor igloos available for reservation at the Wild Tomato restaurant. Up to eight people can gather inside each igloo to enjoy a special selection of beverages, small plates and sweet treats – including a s'mores kit complete with mini tabletop fire pit. Blankets and a faux fireplace keep it extra cozy while overlooking Barr Park and ice skating rink.