Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan: You’ll Adore this Snowy Ski Resort Packed with Winter Fun


Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan is a Top-Notch Winter Getaway

Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan
12500 Crystal Mountain Dr, Thompsonville, MI 49683

Our family’s annual Crystal Mountain ski weekend, a Michigan outdoor winter activity bonanza, lets us kick back in a place that’s become our family’s favorite getaway.

Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan in Winter


While Crystal doesn’t offer snow tubing or sledding, it does have a wonderful ski school, delightful lodging, a divine spa & outdoor hot tub, ice skating fat tire biking, and a whole host of other outdoor activities.

Resort Overview
Skiing, Lessons & Rentals
Winter Activities, Pool & Spa

Crystal Mountain in the Summertime

FAQs – Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan

Where is Crystal Mountain Resort located?

Crystal Mountain Resort is located in Thompsonville, MI. Thompsonville is in Michigan’s northern lower peninsula in Benzie County.

This golf, ski & spa resort destination is just over a two-hour drive from Grand Rapids, MI, or approximately 30 miles southwest of Traverse City, MI.

Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan Location

What kind of things can you do at Crystal Mountain?

The resort is comprised of several different areas. In the summer, golf, outdoor swimming, rock climbing, mountain biking, and more are offered.

In the winter, the resort switches gears to snow sports, offering downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, fat tire biking, snowshoeing, and more.

Yearround, you can expect to find onsite restaurants, themed events, the Crystal Spa, an indoor pool, a fitness center, and shopping opportunities in full force. Childcare is also available.

What kind of accommodations does Crystal Mountain offer?

Accommodations range from individual cottages and homes to hotel-type rooms and are spread across the resort area.

Are there any attractions nearby?

The popular Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Lake Michigan are just a short drive from Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan.

Does Crystal offer ski lessons or rentals?

Lessons are offered for skiing and golf (in season) as well as equipment rentals.

crystal mountain ski lessons

Winter at Crystal Video

Skiing at Crystal Mountain Resort

Crystal Mountain’s skiable area covers over 100 acres and has 58 downhill slopes, 27 of which are lighted for night skiing. Plus, you’ll find 3 terrain areas and 8  lifts (2 carpet lifts.)

One reason Crystal is great for families: the terrain has something for all abilities.

With 22% of runs marked easiest, 48% more difficult, and 30% black diamond, families can ride the lift together, ski separate runs, and meet back at the lift for a ride up the mountain.

crystal mountain michigan night skiing
Photo Courtesy of Crystal Mountain, MI

Crystal Mountain Resort is in a Michigan Snowbelt

Proximity to Lake Michigan is one factor that Crystal Mountain has working in its favor.

Lake effect snow is common here, with the resort averaging over 11 feet of snowfall per year. Powder days at Crystal are a treat often enjoyed.
But, snowfall can be unpredictable.

To that end, Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan has invested heavily in snowmaking technology over the past decade, giving it one of the area’s more reliable snow-skiing experiences. Indeed, they have snowmaking on 98% of their terrain.

crystal mountain michigan skiing

Crystal Mountain Resort Map

Understanding where things are located at Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan will help you plan your visit.

Why We Love Crystal Mountain Resort

We’ve been regulars at Crystal Mountain in northern Michigan since we learned how to ski.

Our family looks forward to our time there every year because we know the skiing is good, the staff is friendly and accommodating, and the amenities consistently provide what our family needs to relax and have fun together.

If you’re looking for a Northern Michigan family ski vacation, Crystal Mountain should be on your list.

Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan Skiing

Resort Shuttle

Crystal Mountain operates a free resort shuttle to destinations on resort property, so you can arrive, park your car, and leave it.

To schedule a shuttle pick up, call the resort operator at 888-968-7686 ext. 0.

We Learned How to Ski at Crystal Mountain Resort

We weren’t always a skiing family, but one of my good friends convinced me to learn how to ski – at the young age of 40.

She swears that riding the chairlift is one of the best times to chat with your tweens or teens, hands down.

So, I swallowed my fear, took a few lessons, and crossed the bridge from sitting on the sidelines to being able to ride the chairlift with my kids. I also learned how to pack for a ski trip and layer for winter.

crystal mountain resort michigan skiing

Crystal Mountain Ski & Snowboard Lessons

Snowsport lessons at Crystal Mountain are spectacular.

Having someone else teach my kids how to ski was such a relief. When I showed up on the slopes, I had no clue how to ski. How was I supposed to manage a bunch of little kids out there?

The teaching staff at Crystal is patient and they know how to teach ski school.

My kids were whizzing by me in no time, and they even took me – a person terrified of chairlifts and afraid of heights – to being able to go down easy blue runs my first year. Private adult lessons were the key to me unlocking this mystery.

To book lessons, don’t wait until you show up on site. Schedule well in advance for the best availability.

Call 888-968-7686 ext. 2000 at least 48 hours prior to your desired lesson time. An online waiver and payment are required at the time of reservation.

crystal mountain resort michigan ski lessons

Buy Lift Tickets & Book Rentals in Advance

Crystal has great rental equipment.

When we started skiing, we rented everything from skis to poles to helmets. As we’ve gotten into the sport more, we’ve acquired our own gear but from time to time we will rent items for a fast-growing child. We’ve found the rental process to be smooth, but it does take time.

Buy your lift tickets and book your ski and snowboard equipment rentals in advance online to avoid disappointment.

Pro Tip: If you are able to secure your gear the night before you start skiing, that will help you get out on the slopes faster.

crystal mountain ski rentals

Where to Stay at Crystal Mountain

There are many ways to experience a Crystal Mountain Resort vacation.
Start by choosing your lodging depending on location preferences.

Do you want ski-in ski-out privileges?

Or do you want the secluded, tucked-in-the-woods experience?

Maybe you’d prefer to stay offsite and drive in for skiing. That’s possible, too.

Ski In, Ski Out Lodging

As I’ve mentioned, we’ve vacationed at Crystal for a few years now, and we’ve experienced different family accommodations with each trip. As many skiers know, it’s hard to beat a ski-in, ski-out location.

And, if you stay onsite, you can get a lodging ski package that includes your lift tickets. This can be an economical way to vacation at Crystal, especially if you can go midweek.

The lodging + ski package includes lift tickets for the day you check-in. Arrive early, get your lift tickets from the hotel check-in desk, and ski til your room is ready.

These accommodations vary by size and number of bedrooms, but they all have kitchens, which makes staying onsite a wonder. If you’re skiing with another family, sharing meals at your home base is a wonderful way to divide up meal prep, enjoy each other’s company, and save a few dollars.

(Of course, there are many more lodging options available at Crystal Mountain – these are just a list of those we’ve experienced.)

Bungalows – larger homes at the base of the mountain. These are ski in/ski out and often have 3 bedrooms, making them great for a multi-family ski vacation.

Mountaintop Townhomes – as implied by the name, these townhomes are at the top of the ski hill. We easily shared a three-bedroom between two families with 9 people total.

Kinlochen – this is a condo/hotel-style slopeside accommodation with an onsite restaurant.
Our family of 5 recently stayed in a one-bedroom unit at Kinlochen. We were surprised at how spacious it felt and really enjoyed the full kitchen, as well as the proximity to the Buck chairlift.

crystal mountain michigan kinlochen lodging

“A Short Walk to Skiing” Lodging

Cottages at Water’s Edge – The Cottages are just a short walk away from the base of the mountain.

We’ve stayed here in the past and this is where we’re booked again this year. We love the size of the cottages and the charming cabin decor.

The three-bedroom cottages often have bunk beds, which the kids find very fun.

crystal mountain cottages
Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan Cottages

Lodging Deals at Crystal in the Winter

Midweek, early season, and late season see the best deals. Book in October or November for the best rates and availability.

– Kids 17 and under Sleep FREE ANYTIME
– Kids 7-17 Ski FREE SUNDAY-THURSDAY* on a Ski Package
– Kids 6 and under Sleep, Ski, and Eat Breakfast FREE ANYTIME (up to two kids eat free, per paying adult)

*Two kids ages 7-17 ski free per paying adult under a ski package. There is a charge for additional children ages 7-17. All children ages 6 & under ski free. Free skiing is only valid if you are on a Ski Package and excludes peak season dates.

Find Nearby Ski Cabins and Homes to Rent

Of course, you can rent a nearby cabin and drive over to Crystal Mountain Resort Michigan as well.

There are numerous northern Michigan cabin rentals in the vicinity, including a TREEHOUSE RESORT! (See map below for more nearby options.)

Tree House Ridge, Thompsonville MI

Crystal Pulls Out the Stops for Winter Fun

A change of pace is nice from time to time, and that’s another area Crystal Mountain excels.

Horse Drawn Surrey Rides are a lovely way to spend an evening.

On select dates (weather permitting) be whisked away through a winter wonderland by a team of gentle Belgian horses.

Complimentary hot chocolate and a warming campfire conclude the ride.

Advance reservations required. $10 per person. Purchase your ride at the Park at Water’s Edge or call 888-968-7686 ext. 7000. Online Reservations Coming Soon!

crystal mountain carriage rides

Fat Tire Snow Biking & Rentals

If your legs will let you, pedal your way through the 12 miles of winter bike trails at Crystal.  You may rent bikes from Crystal or bring your own fat tire bike.
Or, sign up for a 1-hour long fat tire tour. Ages 12 and up.

Michigan Legacy Art Park

This densely wooded, 30-acre preserve has 1.6 miles of hiking trails. The Art Park features over 50 sculptures, poetry stones, and an outdoor amphitheater.

Each of the sculptures interprets, in its own way, a piece of Michigan’s history.
The Art Park is open year-round from dawn to dusk and is accessible by foot, cross-country skis, or even snowshoes. Admission is $5 per adult. Kids ages 17 and under are free.

Snowshoeing & Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country ski rentals and snowshoe rentals are available at Crystal Mountain.

Snowshoeing is permitted on all Crystal Mountain property except the downhill slopes and cross-country trails.

A guided snowshoe hike is available as well.

crystal mountain cross country skiing

Ice Skating, Outdoor Winter Laser Tag & Archery

These cold-weather activities are available when weather allows.

Outdoor Hot Tub

Change in the locker rooms (near the summertime water playground and rock wall) and scurry the short distance to the outdoor hot tub.

It’s downright magical in the evenings, especially when it’s snowing.

Indoor Pool and Fitness Center

Access to the Indoor Pool is FREE to houseguests.
There is a small hot tub in this area as well.

Crystal Spa

The Crystal Spa is open. It’s a great place to unwind with a massage, facial, or mani/pedi.

Crystal Mountain Restaurants

Finding something to eat at Crystal Mountain isn’t hard. If you opt to eat outside of your accommodations, here are your choices:

Thistle Pub and Grille in Kinlochen is a Scottish-themed sit down restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Takeout is available. Children’s menu.

Betsie River Pizza & Subs: Get pizza, breadsticks, subs, wings, and salads delivered straight to your room or pick it up in the Lodge. We can vouch for this pizza, it’s delicious.

Wild Tomato Restaurant in the Lodge is open for dinner. Kid-friendly. Full service bar.

Crystal has also added outdoor dining and seating options and will have food trucks during busy times.

For a slopeside snack, don’t forget to bring a few dollars for the Waffle Cabin. It’s always a hit!

Tell Us About Your Crystal Visit

If you venture out to Crystal Mountain this winter let us know how it goes.

Drop us a comment and tell us about your family vacation. We’d love to hear your tips and tricks, as well!

crystal mountain resort michigan pinterest

More Winter Things to Do

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