The Crystal Mountain brochure says the resort wants to "make memories etched in Crystal"-and it's a goal Crystal takes seriously. The cozy lower Michigan resort finished No. 1 in Service, Lodging, Family Programs and On-Mountain Food-a grand slam for a resort that prides itself on taking care of the details. "I rarely take my family anywhere else; the service is top-notch and everyone is so friendly," gushes a reader. Crystal Mountain may offer a modest 375 vertical feet, but the resort uses every inch of its 34 runs. A trio of blacks-Loki, Thor and Nose Dive-are so daunting that the ski patrol medical building is conveniently stationed at their base. And eight intermediate trails off the backside tumble through a forest into western sunsets. "There's a family-friendly atmosphere; my kids really feel safe and love it here," says a reader. While Crystal's skiing scores high in many categories, the base area is where the resort has made huge improvements over the last decade. The Inn at the Mountain and the Crystal Center skier service building at the base, plus the Mountain Top Townhomes on the summit have given Crystal a well-rounded venue second to none in the region. And there's more to come. Kinlochen Lodge is the first step in a 10-year master plan that includes a new village and some dozen additional trails. And since Crystal's forte is doing every little thing right, it will no doubt succeed at its latest endeavors.
WHAT'S NEW A new nordic center.
A GOOD DEAL Up to three kids (18 and younger) and up to four grandparents (60 and older) sleep/ski free midweek when sharing accommodations with two paying adults.
HIGH/LOW MW RANK Service (1), Lodging (1), Family Programs (1); Terrain (16), Après (17), Access (19).
DON'T MISS Just Four Beginners, a learn-to-ski, snowboard or cross-country program, which includes four lessons, rentals, and lift tickets for $199. Upon completion the student receives a free unlimited season pass and midweek rentals for the rest of the season.
READER REMARKS (+) "Lodging is deluxe."
(-) "Vertical drop is a little short."