May 29, 2015
Crystal Mountain's trails include "miles of beginner, intermediate, and advanced on-site mountain bike trails that connect to the Betsie River Pathway, 22-mile Betsie Valley Trail, North Country Trail, and Arcadia Dunes", as well as a handful of downhill, lift-served trails on part of the ski area. This review is only for the downhill trails.
Aside from being a little sandy in some spots the trails seemed well-maintained. Features, obstacles and intersections/merges were well-marked, and the occasional low-hanging branch was painted for visibility.
There were a few spots where the trails' sandiness made me exercise a bit more caution. I'm not an avid DH rider, and although I've been riding singletrack for about 20 years, I'm still hesitant to take on drops over obstacles/features, especially when the landing looks like a sand trap.
As for technical difficulty, riding a hardtail I didn't have any trouble with most of the DH -- it's definitely not as advanced terrain as you will might find at Boyne Highlands for example, and with only 5 or 6 trails to choose from you might get a little bored if you're planning on an extended ride session, but they said the trails have been very popular so hopefully they will continue to enhance them and add more in the future.
Overall: if you're in the area and looking for something fun to do it is worth the trip but until they add some more DH trails I wouldn't go out of my way to ride them. If you've never really ridden DH before, the trails at Crystal would be a good place to get started -- and of course you can always ride the XC trails before or afterwards for a bit more variety in the ride.