Mountain Resort with Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Ice Skating
From roughly mid-December to mid-March, it’s a veritable winter wonderland at Crystal Mountain, a four-seasons resort located near the western shoreline in northern Michigan. There’s more than 11 feet of average annual snowfall in the area, and snowmaking capability across 98% of the resort’s terrain. The namesake mountain is littered with 45 downhill slopes, 27 of which are lit up for nighttime skiing. Snowboarders will find more than a day’s worth of recreation across four terrain areas.
There’s a lot to do beyond hitting the slopes. Skate around the ice rink on the inn’s front lawn, zip across 25 miles of groomed cross-country trails, or strap on a pair of snowshoes to explore densely forested valleys. A more leisurely horse-drawn surrey ride includes hot cocoa and a trip around the resort’s grounds in a carriage led by a team of Belgian horses.
After a day spent outside, you can retreat to homey guest rooms. Choose Hamlet for a central location, close to the indoor pool and the fitness center’s group classes. The Pinehurst residence is more isolated, ensconced in pines along the 18th fairway of the onsite Betsie Valley golf course. Crystal Colony is just steps from the mountain and the 18,500-square-foot Crystal Spa.
Thompsonville, Michigan: Resort Town with Snowshoe Trails and Dogsledding
Thompsonville is a small town in northern Michigan’s Benzie County, best known as the home of Crystal Mountain. Luckily, the 1,500-acre resort offers a wide range of attractions. Thirty of those acres are the dedicated site of the Michigan Legacy Art Park, a wooded preserve that showcases more than 40 sculptures and poetry stones. You can trek through the park on a 1.6-mile multipurpose trail, designated for hiking or snowshoeing, depending on the weather.
The resort’s reservation staff can also help coordinate dogsledding trips, which are run by Crystal Mountain’s partner OCM Mushing. Snowmobilers can enjoy easy access to Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources Trail 391, which leads to a network of other well-maintained trails.