Buck Lift construction Crystal Mt. Mich

As part of $3 million dollars in improvements underway this summer at Michigan’s Crystal Mountain, skiers and riders can look forward to a new quad chairlift, regraded slope and new glades. 

The old Buck lift, installed in 1978, will be replaced by a new faster Skytrac Quad Lift, similar to the Loki quad lift installed in 2011 at the resort. The iconic Buck slope, a longtime favorite of Crystal skiers and boarders, has been re-graded, retaining that steep, wide western-style, open slope feeling. It’s a heartland classic. 

The south slope trees have been gladed and will be yielding some fantastic lines this winter, according to Crystal's Tom Kramer. 

“The new glades will be much steeper than the Glacial Valley Glades, and will be rated intermediate to expert. It’s shaping up to be some of the best tree skiing on the mountain,” Kramer told SnoCountry.com. “More than 100 cubic yards of concrete are in place for the new lift, lots of dirt has been moved, and the hill – new runs and old – are starting to take shape. It’s on track to be open for the 2013/14 snowsports season.”

Meanwhile, try fly fishing while waiting for the snow to fall. When the north winds of September blow on Lake Michigan it spurs thousands of silver Coho salmon up the nearby Platte River, which will bring even more thousands of anglers to the area. Chasing Coho on the Platte has become an annual tradition for fly fishers. 

That’s only one of the many world-class fly fishing options within an hour’s drive of Crystal. Michigan has been named by Field and Stream’s Kirk Deeter as the top fly fishing state in the nation. 

The resort has partnered with Captain Ben Wolfe, forming Wolfe Outfitters, a full-service fly fishing outfitter at the resort. Lodging packages including fishing are available.

Fall is also a great time to hit the links at Crystal. Play and stay golf packages from $69-$139 per adult, per night are available on select dates through October. The Mountain Ridge course turned 20 this season. I just played it this past week, and it was in great shape. Some fall color is already creeping in around the course, and fall views from the upper ridges are outstanding.

Photo: Buck Lift at Crystal Mt. under construction (Crystal Mt.)