Crystal Mountain isn't a big ski resort, even by Michigan standards, but it makes up for its size by getting every little detail right. Skiers often spurn resorts with more vertical just because Crystal is downright classy. Known as the Midwest's best family resort, Crystal has a couple of fly-on-the-wall steeps, Loki and Thor, but has always catered to novice and intermediate skiers. This doesn't mean there isn't any variety, however. Crystal has glade skiing (an oddity in Michigan), an alpine terrain park and a 1,000-foot halfpipe in a "Boarder Zone" area, and it consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally in NASTAR participation. Where the resort really shines, though, is in its attention to children. Family programs operate from Pooh's Corner, a special children's building with everything built to scale for the munchkins. At the base of the hill is the new Inn at the Mountain, with high-tech voice and data ports in every room so you can telecommunicate while on vacation. In the past, weekend liftlines have been a problem, but a $2.8 million lift and trail expansion should spread out the crowd and reduce congestion this winter.
What's New A high-speed quad, the Crystal Clipper, from the base to the top of Main Street; eight new runs off the westside; the beginner area has moved from the center of the mountain to a space of its own.
A Good Deal "R & R" midweek package available Sunday through Thursday, Jan. 3-18, and the weekends of Dec. 11 and March 19: Two nights' lodging, lift tickets from 3 pm on the day of arrival through the end of the stay and one dinner for $139 per person; (800) 968-7686.
High/Low Rank Family Programs (2), Service (2), Grooming (4); Accessibility (15), Terrain (12).
Don't Miss Snowshoe through the Michigan Legacy Art Park¿a 30-acre, 20-exhibit outdoor art "museum." Or use a cross-country pass to ride the lift and tour the backside of Crystal Mountain.