Article Published: Dec. 23, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

This little guy almost lost it but held his balance and finished the run. There will be lots of boarders and skiers in the High Country over the holiday season so make sure to check on the conditions.

Photo by Rob Moore (More at

40 Years of Smooth Skiing

There are 40 candles on the cake, but there won't be enough heat to thaw Sugar Mountain Resort's celebration of cold-weather fun.

Sugar Mountain Resort opened in 1969 with four lifts and 11 slopes for skiing. Since then, Sugar has grown to include seven lifts and 20 slopes for skiers and snowboarders. Winter activity offerings have expanded over the years to include snowshoeing, tubing and ice skating.

The resort has 115 skiable acres, with a mile-and-a-half run and a 1,200 foot vertical drop.

Fortieth Anniversary events and specials will be going all season long. Sugar Mountain has set up a Web site to denote its special anniversary events. A timeline of Sugar's major milestones can be found online at

Slope conditions continue to be a top priority here at Sugar Mountain Resort. Overhauling Sugar's snowmaking infrastructure continued throughout the summer with the replacement and upgrade of 2,500 feet of snowmaking pipes along the Big Birch slope. An additional energy-efficient snowmaking machine has been purchased for the upcoming winter season.

Also new this season is the installation of an elaborate scanning system designed to make the entire winter experience friendlier and easier for Sugar's customers while providing the ability to maintain and monitor more concise and accurate control of lift/slope tickets on the mountain at any given time.

Sugarfest helps kick off the season in grand style. In addition to the regular and special events, there's a snowball-eating contest, fireworks, a "Jam Expression" snowboarding exhibition, and live music from Boss Hawg. Suagrfest is Dec. 12-13 and coincides with the 16th Annual Preseason Ski Clinic.

A few of the highlights include the Turkey Treat. For one low price, customers can ski or ride any one session of the four days of the Thanksgiving weekend. Diann Roffe, 1994 Olympic Gold & 1992 Olympic Silver medalist and two-time (1992 & 1994) Olympian, Krista Schmidinger will again guest coach at Sugar's 16th Annual Adult Pre-Season Ski Clinic scheduled for December 11 and 13. Sugarfest will be held that weekend as well. From December through March, twice a month the acoustic sounds of North Carolina High Country bluegrass will be presented by Boss Hawg.

On January 9, Sugar will once again host a National Winter Trails Day, a nationwide event offering children and adults the opportunity to try snowshoeing for free and the Easter egg contest is scheduled for March 21, 2010. The entire event schedule can be found at

For additional information call Sugar Mountain Resort: (828) 898-4521 x 262 or visit us at

Slope Specs

Office: (828) 898-4521
Toll Free: (800) SUGAR-MT
Fax: (828) 898-6820
Snow Report: (828) 898-5256
Address: P.O. Box 369 Banner Elk, NC 28604

7 Beginner - 10 Intermediate - 3 Expert Slopes and Trails

Peak Elevation: 5,300 feet
Vertical Drop: 1,200 feet

A Return to OZ

Ski Beech has made upgrades and the Beech Mountain resort is primed for a solid season this winter, with lots of special events.

The popular Oz run is returning returns, while a second terrain park debuts this winter at Ski Beech at Beech Mountain Resort. The ski resort offers skiing, snow tubing, ice skating and snowboarding, and claims the fastest quad lift in the Southeast, reaching the summit in less than five minutes.

The are four primary routes from the top. There is the pure fall line of Upper Lightning Shawneehaw, the improvisation-inspiring runs Southern Star and White Lightening, and a course called Robbins Run, named for the founding family of the resort. Ski Beech features a total of three beginner runs, eight intermediate and four expert slopes and trails.

Ski Beech also offers a three-acre terrain park with gentle features for beginners, along with an advanced terrain park featuring its own lift. The freestyle area was also expanded last year and has been remodeled, adding more rails and slides.

A grand opening for the terrain park will be held on Dec. 12, and on New Year's Eve, there will be midnight ice skating and a deejay. The resort will also feature live music during the season.

The Oz slope, named for its proximity to the old Land of Oz theme park, was closed last season to upgrade the chairlift. New, padded quad chairs have taken the place of outdated double chairs, while Ski Beech officials also installed airless electrical snowmaking hookups along the run so the slope can be blown in within 24 hours.

"The reopening of the Oz run is great news for skiers," says Ryan Costin, the resort's director of operations. "It has nice intermediate terrain and opens up another side of the mountain. This will help disperse skiers during peak times."

Ski Beech's second terrain park will be unveiled this winter. The opening of the park was delayed a year because of lift problems. However, the lift is now fully functional and provides access to a multi-featured park with rails, boxes and jumps for intermediate to advanced freestyle riders. The park will have full-time staff to maintain the features and ensure safety.

Ski Beech is family oriented. The Youth Learning Center is dedicated to children. The focus is to keep children safe while letting them discover their own personal love of a snow sport. An all-day, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m, program is offered for children 4 to 14 years of age. The 3-year-old program is comfort oriented and one-on-one with an instructor. The program for ages 4-6 is also comfort oriented, while the older groups are performance oriented. The children are then allowed to keep the equipment until 4:30 p.m. to show what they have learned and enjoy the slopes with the rest of the family. Reservations may be made online for a guaranteed spot in the respective class.

Ski Beech offers a Military Discount throughout the entire season. Military personnel and their immediate family are offered discounted lift tickets through the administrative office. Also available throughout the season is the One Extreme to the Other special. Adults over 70 years of age and children 4 and under, accompanied by a ticketed adult, will receive a complimentary lift ticket.

The ski rental inventories at Beech, all shape skis, include 1,000 sets for the general public, and 600 sets in the group sales facility as well as snowboards. The group sales facility is an integration that expedites the rental process for all patrons of Ski Beech resort.

To enjoy a "stay awhile" snow sport experience, Ski Beech is the place to go. Relax in the village or try out all 15 of the slopes, you are sure to enjoy the wintry getaway.

Also new this year is a private locker room for season pass holders to store their skis and equipment, while snowmaking upgrades continued during the offseason.

"In the South, snowmaking is something you have to improve every year," Costin says. "We've upgraded our product and want people to come see the quality of skiing we now offer."

For resort information, call (800) 438-2093 or visit

Slope Specs

Web site:
Office: (828) 387-2011
Toll Free: (800) 438-2093
Fax: (828) 387-4952
Snow Report: (828) 387-2011
Address: 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, N.C. 28604

3 Beginner - 8 Intermediate - 4 Expert Slopes and Trails-2 Terrain Parks

Pursuit of Slope Excellence

With $3 million in improvements over the last three years, Appalachian Ski Mountain has continued to expand its region-leading snowmaking capability, along with adding a new slope and third terrain park for the 2009-10 winter season. Appalachian Ski Mtn. has also scheduled the longest ski season in North Carolina history, 142 days of skiing and riding ending on April 11.

This family-friendly ski resort has something for everyone, starting with instruction from Appalachian's renowned French Swiss Ski College to three terrain parks with a selection of over 50 features for park enthusiasts. For 40 years French Swiss has been offering guests all types of instruction from the SKIwee children's program to terrain park lessons.

With ski boots starting at a child's size 5, Appalachian also offers convenient and fast service for ski and snowboard equipment rental and clothing rentals including bibs, gloves, jackets and goggles. For non-skiers, ice skating is available, along with free wireless internet and a large picturesque fireplace in the expansive 46,000 sq ft Bavarian-style ski lodge at the base of the slopes.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s terrain parks have been voted #1 in the region by a visitor poll. Also, Burton Snowboards selected Appalachian as one of 11 ski areas in America to offer a Burton Progression Park, a first for North Carolina.

This park will allow entry-level skiers and riders to learn on smaller versions of freestyle terrain features such as jibs, rails, bonks, and boxes. App's dedicated park crew has innovated weekly overnight rebuilds to provide a fresh and constantly changing park experience, and the region's most concentrated snowmaking capability allows Appalachian to often have its parks open from the first day to the last.

In answer to the challenging economic times, Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s new Midnight Blast Weekends will offer 2 more hours of skiing at no additional cost. "People looking for a good value will discover that this is the best ticket value we offer, at a time that is actually convenient," says General Manager Brad Moretz. Guests can ski until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights from Dec. 26 through Feb 20.

Slope Specs

Web sites:,
Office: (828) 295-7828
Toll Free: (800) 322-2373
Fax: (828) 295-3277
Snow Report: (828) 295-7828
Address: P.O. Box 106 Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Slopes: 2 Beginner - 6 Intermediate - 3 Expert
Terrain parks: 3
Open: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Peak Elevation: 4,000 feet
Vertical Drop: 365 feet

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