Crystal Mountain, one of Northern Michigan’s largest and most popular resorts, got its start in the unlikeliest of places… a local high school classroom. It was 1956. Ward Kreech, a geography teacher at Benzonia High School, gave his students an assignment; find the best place in Benzie County to create a ski area. From this unusual project, Buck Hills Ski Area (later named Crystal Mountain) was born.
From its beginnings, Crystal Mountain has always been a family owned, community focused operation. Today, the resort spans over 1,500 acres and offers a plethora of outdoor and indoor amenities—championship golf, top-notch skiing, a LEED-certified spa, the area’s only alpine slide, plus a host of activities, from biking and hiking to tennis, pickle ball and more. For all its size and many pursuits, however, Crystal Mountain has a very intimate feel to it.
Maybe it’s because of the scenic surroundings. “It’s part of our stated mission to connect people with nature,” explains Sammie Lukaskiewicz, Director of Public Relations. “And just look around… we have so many biking and hiking trails. You can canoe or kayak the Platte River. Take a chairlift ride over the trees. Go on a garden walk. We even have mountaintop yoga. However you want to experience the outdoors, we have something for you.”
If you want to experience the real wonders of nature, visit the Michigan Legacy Art Park. This 30-acre park, located on the grounds of Crystal Mountain, is one of northern Michigan’s true natural gems. Stroll its 1.6 miles of wooded trails and discover over 50 impressive sculptures, crafted by local artists. The park also features poetry stones and an outdoor amphitheater. Grab a snack and a bottle of water for an afternoon among the inspired beauty that surrounds you here.
After a full day of activities, you’ll greatly appreciate the gracious lodging at Crystal Mountain. Depending on the size and makeup of your party, you have a wide variety of lodging options—from fully-furnished homes and bungalows to quaint cottages and generously appointed hotel rooms. However you define “home”, it’s a familiar feeling here at Crystal Mountain.