For Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich., the commitment to a culture of sustainability includes its employees, not just eco-friendly or green initiatives. This year alone, more than a dozen people are celebrating a decade-plus of working at Crystal Mountain.
The term sustainability is often used when referring to eco-friendly or green initiatives, but being sustainable expands far beyond the environment. For Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich., the commitment to a culture of sustainability includes its employees.
This year alone, more than a dozen people are celebrating more than a decade of working at Crystal. Many of them have been promoted within more than once to get where they are today.
“Crystal Mountain is committed to creating exceptional experiences that connect people with self, others, nature and ideas – not only for our guests, but for our employees, too,” said Jennifer King, VP of Human Resources. “Working at Crystal Mountain means joining a team of people who want to see you succeed and who will help you achieve your goals.”
Among the employees marking milestones this year include: Richard Merskin, Alaina Vertalka, Jacob Gilbert, Arlene McAnulty and Jayme Simmonds at 15 years; David Osgood, Jeremy Ursum and Kelli Kober at 20 years; Marla Wilson, Joshua Luibrand and Arah Johnson at 25 years; Kathleen Maginity is celebrating 30 years as grounds manager, and Cynthia Smith, Vice President of Property Operations, is celebrating a 35-year Crystal career.
Smith was a college student when she started selling lift tickets at Crystal in 1984. A couple years later, she found herself working in accounting, and eventually turned her focus to property owner relations serving as the Coordinator, then Manager, to Director and now, Vice President.
“What I love most about Crystal are the relationships I have formed over the years, with owners and fellow employees; I met my best friends here,” Smith said. “Crystal is a place where you are encouraged to grow and learn, as evidenced by my path, and I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. I also appreciate the flexibility working here which has allowed me to participate in our community and currently serve on the Betsie Valley Community Center Board.”
With about 500 employees year-round, it’s not surprising many employees have made lifelong friends while working at the resort – some who turn into family.
“I met my husband here, who was a lift mechanic at the time, and we’ve been married since 2001,” said Maginity, who has groomed the cross-country trails for 22 of her 30 years on grounds crew. “After working in housekeeping for nearly six years, I decided I wanted to work outside, so when the grounds position opened up at Crystal, I went for it and haven’t left since. I’ve learned a lot as Grounds Manager and take a lot of pride in our hardworking team who helps keep the resort looking presentable year-round.”
Some of the busiest weeks at the resort are the holidays, especially during the winter. This is when many people begin their journey at Crystal, and a lot of times the interest is sparked by one thing – skiing.
“After working in the skier café for three days, I realized I was missing out on doing what I love while working – skiing,” said Wilson. “Times flies when you’re having fun, and after several winters teaching ski lessons and supporting snowsports, I was lured over to the golf world to work in retail during the summer. Now, as Resort Retail Buyer, I continue to learn and grow professionally and personally every day – and I have the supportive staff at Crystal Mountain to thank for that.”
As a family-owned resort, Crystal Mountain encourages its employees to get out and have fun with family and friends, and offers a long list of employee perks and benefits such as free skiing and special discounts on golf, meals and lodging.
Other benefits include partnering with Traverse City Tourism (TCT) and working with the MI Tri-Share Child Care Program through the state of Michigan. Eligible Crystal Mountain employees receive up to two thirds of financial help for daycare expenses.
Crystal Mountain also supports employees looking to further their education. This will be the third year an employee or their dependent can apply for a scholarship of up to $5,000 from the Crystal Scholarship Foundation. The financial reward can be used toward an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or skilled trades.