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Celebrating Karyn Thorr COO at Crystal Mountain Resort for Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and there is no shortage of women who have helped shape life here in Northern Michigan.

One is the Chief Operating Officer at Crystal Mountain in Benzie County.

Karyn Thorr says Crystal Mountain Resort is like a second home.


She grew up visiting and where she raised her daughters all while growing her career.

Thorr graduated from Central Michigan University in 1992 with a Commercial Recreation and Hospitality degree.

“I had an affinity for skiing at a very young age and spent a lot of time in ski resorts around Michigan. One of them being Crystal Mountain. So I knew that I wanted to be in this hospitality and skiing industry,” said Karyn Thorr, Chief Operating Officer at Crystal Mountain Resort.

After a short stint in Virginia, she returned home in her first role at Crystal Mountain Resort as a recreation supervisor.


“I was in charge of group recreation for meetings and events and worked in the children’s programs. I quickly landed into snow sports directing the snow sports school,” explained Thorr.

Thorr held various roles in her 29 years at the resort before being named chief operating officer in October.

“I am responsible for the outside operation in the winter, whether it be snow sport, school ski patrol, grooming, lifts, and safety. It’s a tall order. It’s a big job,” said Thorr.

Regardless of the role, Thorr has always advocated for more women on the slopes.


“A lot of times young women leave the sport maybe when they’re raising their families and making it easier for them to come back to the sport and balance a lot of things, whether it’s work, the household and the children’s schedules,” explained Thorr “So the idea of going out skiing sometimes can be a sort of a daunting task. So whatever we can do to help make that easier, whether it’s lessons, programming, proper equipment, fittings and that sort of thing.”

Thorr says it feels like life has come full circle at a place she loves.

“I try not to take myself too seriously and certainly work hard, play hard, and treat others as you would hope to be treated. One of my other favorite things is always folks will forget what you say, but they won’t forget how you make them feel,” Said Thorr.

Thorr received a SAMMY Leadership award from Ski Area Management in 2000. It is one of the most desired recognitions in the industry.

She also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Central Michigan University Recreation Parks and Leisure Services Administration.

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