9 Things to Know About Crystal Mountain Resort in Michigan | Ski, Golf, & Spa
Did you know that Michigan has more than 40 ski resorts and recreational areas? Although not the largest ski resort in the state, northern Michigan’s Crystal Mountain offers some of the best golfing, skiing, and event experiences. No matter the time of year, you’re sure to have a great time when you visit Crystal Mountain Resort in Michigan!
Awards, History, and Crystal Mountain Resort (Michigan) Reviews
On Crystal Mountain Dr., Thompsonville, Michigan, you’ll find a family-owned, four-season resort that offers golfing, skiing, and spa services. Crystal Mountain touts being “built by community,” and it was originally established as Buck Hills Ski Area in 1956. After just four years, it transformed into a resort. With the name change came significant upgrades, and even more developments were started in 1990.
Over the years, Crystal Mountain in Benzie County has won several awards and recognition. Selling discounted ski lift tickets, Liftopia named the resort No. 2 for Best in Snow in 2016. In 2017, Condé Nast Traveler named it among the Ten Best Family Ski Resorts in the U.S. and Canada. Furthermore, Crystal Mountain was the first four-season resort to become a Green Lodging Michigan’s Leader for environmental stewardship.
Crystal Mountain Resort (Michigan) reviews praise it for having friendly staff, clean and comfortable accommodations, well-kept grounds, and delicious food.
Reviews on TripAdvisor:
“This place blew us away. It was so beautiful and clean. The staff was always amazing and helpful. My wife and I have been skiing and snowboarding for years and only have been able to go to local places around us Pine Knob/ Mt Holly. To be completely honest we loved it so much we are planning a trip back in 2 weeks. Heres a little run down king rooms at the Inn were very nice, breakfest at the Wild Tomatoe perfect, dinner at the Wild Tomatoe perfect, dinner at Thisle pub the burgers are amazing I’m not lieing. Also the staff at the rental area were very helpful with everything. I decided on day 2 to try something new and ski instead of using my board, the ski instructors even tho we didn’t have one I asked them questions and even they were helpful. All in all this place was the best little trip anyone could possibly ask for. We are very excitied to head back and are looking forward to future weekend get aways.”
“We experienced a wonderful family vacation at Crystal Mountain staying in the Cottages at Waters Edge. The granddaughters took lessons and enrolled in Crystal Kids and came out skiers! We would highly recommend that program for your little ones. We also utilized the daycare program and it was excellent as well! Our family wants to make this an annual event – it was awesome!”
Crystal Mountain Lodging (Michigan): Lots of Great Options
If you’re wondering where to stay at Crystal Mountain resort, more than 250 vacation rentals are available around Crystal Mountain, in Thompsonville. You can choose from hotel rooms, suites, townhouses, condos, and vacation homes near the golfing and skiing facilities. You can even rent cabins, or get a vacation rental with a pool near Crystal Mountain resort.
All of the resort-owned vacation rentals include access to many of the resort activities, such as the outdoor and indoor pools, tennis and pickleball courts, and chairlift rides on certain days. Additionally, you’ll get a discount on cross-country skiing trail passes in the winter; and kids in certain age groups can golf, ski, and sleep for free. Each on-site rental includes wireless internet access and either an efficiency or full kitchen as well.
You can book a vacation rental directly online or instantly near Crystal Mountain resort. Be sure to check the resort website for special discounts and packages first. Pet-friendly accommodations are available in some lodging areas. If you wish to take your furry friend on vacation, simply ask for a pet-friendly unit when you book your rental.
No matter which vacation rental that you choose, if you stay on-site, you’ll check in at the Inn at the Mountain. The check-in time is 5 p.m., and the check-out time is 11 a.m. Here are a few estimated driving times from different parts of Michigan (be sure to take some of these scenic drives) and nearby airports to assist with planning your visit:
- At about 25 miles north of Manistee County Blacker Airport, it takes about 30 minutes to get to Crystal Mountain.
- At about 30 miles southwest of Traverse City, the trip to Traverse City from Crystal Mountain takes less than 1 hour. It takes about the same amount of time from Cherry Capital Airport.
- At about 130 miles north of Grand Rapids, the drive to Crystal Mountain takes about 2 hours.
- At about 240 miles northwest of Detroit, the trip to Crystal Mountain from Detroit takes less than 4 hours.
- At about 310 miles south of Marquette, the drive to Crystal Mountain is less than 5.5 hours.
Crystal Mountain Ski Resort Restaurants & Grocery Store
When it comes to satisfying your taste buds, Northern Michigan knows no bounds. Crystal Mountain ski resort is an extension of that sentiment and offers several ways for you to get fueled up for activities, including several restaurants at Crystal Mountain Michigan. If you prefer to make your own meals, you can stop by the Mountain Market for groceries, or have them delivered to your vacation rental. The market also sells apparel, candles, keepsakes, and more.
For coffee in the morning or an adult beverage in the evening, stop by the Bru Bar. During the summer, the Level Four Rooftop Bar is an outdoor lounge and terrace that serves cocktails and entertainment. Also only open in the summer, the Kinlochen Plaza serves quick lunches, dinners, and drinks.
Betsie River Pizza & Subs is a great place for family lunch or dinner, and its menu includes deli sub sandwiches, salads, and wings. Another restaurant with a kid-friendly atmosphere, Wild Tomato serves soups, salads, burgers, and plates for dinner and has a full-service bar.
If fine dining is more your speed, go to the Thistle Pub and Grille. It serves meals all day in an intimate setting with Scottish decor. The menu includes amazing omelets, French toast and pancakes, gourmet burgers, artisan pizzas, and big plates.
Year-Round Activities at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort in Michigan
The activities are one of the biggest parts of planning any vacation, and there’s plenty to do in Crystal Mountain Michigan no matter when you go. While most activities at the resort are only available at certain times of the year (more details below), a few activities are always available.
Michigan Legacy Art Park is a 30-acre, densely wooded preserve with 1.6 miles of hiking trails and more than 50 sculptures. It has an outdoor amphitheater and petry stones as well. At the Park at Water’s Edge, anyone 6 and older can participate in outdoor laser tag, and anyone 7 and older can try their skills at archery. In addition, family crafts are held at the park every day.
Crystal Mountain Summer, Fall, & Spring Activities
Spring, summer, and fall have the widest selection of activities at Crystal Mountain. The biggest attractions, though, are the two 18-hole championship golf courses — Betsie Valley golf course and Mountain Ridge golf course. From April to November, the resort is one of the best golfing destinations in Northern Michigan. From June through October, the resort opens the disc golf course, while tennis and pickleball courts are open too.
Unique to Crystal Mountain is Michigan’s only Alpine slide, which extends for 1,700 feet around curves and down dips. The Park at Water’s Edge has a 1-acre outdoor water playground with a pool, water basketball, and more. The Edge Adventure Course offers elevated rope and zip line courses above the pool. It also has a 32-foot Vertical Edge Climbing Wall.
The property has access to miles of hiking trails, and one is a guided trail to the Crystal Mountain yurt. Biking and mountain biking are available around the property as well. If you want to do something more low key, chairlift rides are available at select times, campfires are made nightly at Barr Park, and outdoor movies are hosted at Mountain Adventure Zone.
Winter Activities at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville Michigan
As you’ve probably guessed, cross-country skiing and snowboarding are the two main reasons why people flock to Crystal Mountain ski resort Michigan during the winter. From a base elevation of 757 feet, the mountain has a top elevation of 1,132 feet, which makes it 375 feet tall.
The resort gets an average of 132 inches of snow every year, and it has eight lifts with the capacity to carry 12,400 skiers an hour. On the 102 acres of skiable land, there are 58 downhill slopes across terrain that are suitable for all skill levels. Night skiing is available on 27 of the slopes. Plus, there’s one learning area, three terrain parks, and six glade areas.
Alongside skiing and snowboarding, you can go snowmobiling, fat tire biking, and snowshoeing. There’s even a rink for ice skating and horse-drawn carriage rides during the winter.
Crystal Mountain Spa, Fitness Center, and Indoor Pool
A special feature at Crystal Mountain, the Crystal Spa is an 18,500-square-foot oasis. In 2019, it placed No. 15 on the list of Top 100 Spas by Spas of America. It’s the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate after a day of activities. You can schedule anything from a massage or aromatherapy bath to a facial or pedicure. Special deals are often available too.
At the Peak Fitness Center, you have access to a range of workout equipment. It’s also where the indoor pool, family play area, and hot tub are located.
Special Events Throughout the Year at Crystal Mountain Resort in Michigan
If you time your Crystal Mountain ski resort Michigan vacation right, you can enjoy one of the many events that the resort hosts throughout the year. For instance, March at the Mountain includes four celebrations during the month — Mardi Gras on the Mountain, Spring Carnival, Celts & Kayaks, and Retro Day. Here are a few other celebrations:
- Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration
- 5K and 10K North Mitten Half Marathon in September
- Fall Fun Saturday in October
- Thanksgiving Reconnect Weekend
- Holiday Celebrations from mid-December to early January, including a parade and fireworks
- World Snow Day in January
- Paintball Biathlon in February
Check the Crystal Mountain calendar before you book if you want to plan your stay during an event.
Crystal Mountain Resort Has Shops With Essentials and Unique Items
Aside from the Mountain Market, Crystal Mountain has several shops. Mountain Sports and Kinlochen Pro Shop sell equipment, apparel, and accessories for every season. Adventure Zone Sports Shop has mountain biking and disc golf equipment in the summer. At the Peak Boutique, you’ll find an array of clothing, accessories, and gifts. Water’s Edge Shop has children’s toys, logo apparel, souvenirs, and unique products.
Space for Conferences, Weddings, and Other Occasions at Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain resort in Thompsonville, Michigan, is a wonderful venue for more than just family vacations. The property has functional space for business conferences and meetings, wedding ceremonies and receptions, family reunions, holiday parties, and other celebrations for small or large groups. During the 14th Annual Michigan Meetings + Events Best of Awards, the resort was named the Best Ski Resort.
More to Explore Near Crystal Mountain Ski Resort in Michigan
During your visit to Crystal Mountain, consider exploring the surrounding area and other parts of Northern Michigan. A few things to do in Thompsonville, MI, include the Iron Fish Distillery, Cotton Creek Farms, and Freddie B Sport Fishing Charters. You could even venture to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which sits along Lake Michigan and offers a host of activities — water tubing, canoeing, kayaking, etc.
There are tons of beaches to explore, lighthouses to tour, and wines and craft brews to taste in the area. Check out the many things to do in Traverse City, including a tour of the best places to get breakfast in Traverse City. The area has several boutique hotels in Traverse City and there are great Traverse City AirBNB options as well.
photos via #crystalmountainmi on Instagram
Awesome place! My son, DANIEL HEISS is part of the staff. Just a wonderful place during the summer and winter.