In 1956, a group of community members from Benzie County built a warming hut, fashioned a rope tow from a pick-up truck engine and opened Buck Hills Ski Area. Now in its 60th year, Crystal Mountain is a year-round resort recognized nationally by publications like Parents magazine and Conde Nast Traveler. This winter begins a year-long anniversary celebration that will include 6-for-$60 lift tickets on December 16 and March 10 among other special offerings and activities throughout the year.
Crystal Mountain’s snowmaking crews are now on-call 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week waiting for sustained temperatures at or below 28-degrees to begin making snow. Under ideal conditions, Crystal’s snowmaking system can cover the entire mountain with a foot of snow in 45 hours, boasting 1.4 snowmaking machines for every skiable acre. A Thanksgiving Day opening is traditionally a 50/50 prospect and while there won’t likely be enough snow to open the slopes on November 24, long term forecast models look promising for snowmaking (perhaps as soon as next week) and natural snowfall throughout the month of December.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting average to below-average temperatures and above-average precipitation this winter, the perfect anniversary gift for Crystal Mountain as it celebrates its 60th winter season.