Screaming into our lives with a late-fall powder pounding, winter 2010-11 commanded our attention in late November, December and January, yet seemed to dwindle to a whisper as of late.
But even though the weather has turned warmer, bases are ample, a majority of slopes are open, and skiing conditions are "just fantastic," offered Sugar Mountain marketing director Kim Jochl this week.
The lack of frigid weather is balanced by the copious amounts of snowsport activities still yet to come at Appalachian Ski Mountain and Sugar Mountain Resort, so don't leave the job unfinished - close out this season with the same enthusiasm you mustered when the first, ominous snowflakes fell in late November.
Go play in the snow.
Around the Slopes...
As of Tuesday, March 8, Ski Beech at Beech Mountain Resort is open and offering an 18- to 58-inch base, with 13-of-15 slopes open and four-of-eight lifts; Sugar Mountain Resort is open and reporting a 28- to 78-inch base, with 20-of-20 slopes open and nine-of-11 lifts open; and Appalachian Ski Mountain and Appalachian Terrain Park are open and sitting with 32- to 68-inch bases, with 12-of-12 slopes open and five-of-six lifts open.
Snow tubing is closed at Hawksnest Resort, Ski Beech and Sugar Mountain Resort. Ice skating is open at Appalachian Ski Mountain and Sugar Mountain Resort, and is closed at Ski Beech. Ziplining is available by reservation at Hawksnest Resort. Night sessions are available at Sugar Mountain Resort and Appalachian Ski Mountain.
The brief but dramatic snowstorm on Sunday, March 6, bestowed four inches of snow on Sugar Mountain Resort and Ski Beech, and two inches of the fresh stuff on Appalachian Ski Mountain.
March Madness rates began at Sugar Mountain Resort this week, on Monday, March 7. For the remainder of the ski season, rates on lift tickets, rentals and lessons are discounted by 25 percent.
Through this Thursday, March 10, Sugar's ice-skating rink is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; this Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, the ice-skating rink is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
On Saturday, Feb. 26, the Sugar Mountain Snowboard Team entered one contestant in the Third Rail Jam at Beech Mountain. Navigating a challenging course, Duncan Nielander entered the contest in the juniors division and came in second. Unfortunately, Nielander was injured at the end of the contest and was unable to enter the Appalachian Ski Mountain Shred for the Cup Rail Jam on Sunday, Feb. 27.
Nielander and the team regrouped last week and entered the last Edge of the World Boardercross Series race, which took place on Sunday, March 6, atop Beech Mountain.
On Sunday, March 20, Sugar Mountain hosts the fifth annual Easter Egg Hunt right on the slopes. Dress up in your Easter best and join Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear in the snow in search of prize-filled eggs. Hundreds of colorful plastic eggs will be tucked away over the Lower Flying Mile slope within view of the lodge. One lucky skier or snowboarder will find the egg containing a 2011-12 Sugar Mountain season pass; another egg will hold $100 Scott gift card. The Easter Egg Hunt is free for all children 12 and under with a valid lift ticket. The event begins at 9 a.m. at the bottom of the No. 1 Summit lift.
And remember, Sugar's 2012 Spyder Sample Sale is still under way. For the sale, Spyder's 2012 sample line is discounted by 50 percent off retail price, and any remaining 2011 gear is slashed by 60 percent.
According to its website, Appalachian Ski Mountain was the only regional resort to make snow overnight on Sunday, March 6. Staff utilized temps in the low 20s to coat the mountain in a healthy layer of dry, skiing-quality snow.
This Sunday, March 13, Appalachian Ski Mountain and Appalachian Terrain Park will host the Recess Wreckless Rail Jam, featuring cash prizes for both skiers and snowboarders. Consisting of rails and a tightly laid-out rhythm section, the jam is geared toward intermediate to advanced riders, and features categories for all ages of men and women. After picking standouts in the 45-minute intermediate round, officials will invite three intermediate snowboarders to compete in the 45-minute advanced round. After the top five to eight boarders are chosen out of the advanced group - and awarded cash prizes, I might add - the overall standouts will take part in a game of SHRED for the top prize. Akin to a game of HORSE - just with snowboard tricks instead of basketball shots - SHRED will determine the overall winner of the Recess Wreckless Rail Jam. As probably the most creative approach to an event I have seen all season, the tricks that the boarders must complete in SHRED will be decided by rolls of four specialty dice, courtesy of Recess. Don't miss this shred fest.
Late-Season rates begin at Appalachian Ski Mountain on Monday, March 14, when lift ticket and rental prices drop by 15 percent or more.
On Friday, March 18, App will host the final Ladies Park Night of the season, followed by the Shred for the Cup slopestyle finals on Saturday, March 19. App's popular annual Meltdown Games take place Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27.
Appalachian Ski Mountain 2011-12 season memberships are now on sale, and carry a unique offer: If you buy a 2011-12 season membership now, you can ski/ride for free for the remaining weeks of the current season. To purchase a pass, go to the Appalachian Ski Mountain main office, located on the lower level of the lodge, or call (828) 295-7828.
Appalachian's 2010-11 season is slated to end at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 27. Take note: Appalachian has skied through its closing day for the last 10 years.
Spring Fever Blowout rates began at Ski Beech this week, on Monday, March 7. For the remainder of the season - which, sadly, is not long - day and twilight tickets cost $20 and half-day and night tickets cost $10.
After receiving four inches of new snow from last weekend's quick storm, Ski Beech announced this week that it would remain open for day sessions only through this Sunday, March 13, which marks the 100th day of Beech's 2010-11 winter season, and then ceremonially close for the year. To mark the occasion this Sunday, Beech will host games and entertainment on the snow. Congrats, Beech, on 100 days!
After hinting that this past weekend would be the last for snow tubing, Hawksnest Resort announced this week that, because of more favorable weather conditions, the resort could open for snow tubing this weekend, but would not make any official announcement until this Thursday, March 10. Call the resort at (828) 963-6561 for an update later this week.
Hawksnest Resort is now open for zipline tours, which begin daily at 10 a.m. Heralded as the largest zipline course on the East Coast, Hawksnest's course includes 10 cables, two of which are known as super- or mega-zips - seemingly comparable to riding on an F-15 skimming the treetops.
Go play in the snow - and go ziplining!