Boone, NC Weather
Partly Cloudy
7-Day Forecast

Southern Snow Scene - Time to Telemark

By Sam Calhoun (

Article Published: Feb. 24, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Southern Snow Scene - Time to Telemark

"The first real turn will have you hooked," advertises the High Country Telemark Festival, which is planned for 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 26, at Ski Beech at Beech Mountain Resort.

According to the High Country Nordic Association, which organized the event, Saturday will be "a friendly gathering of local and regional telemark skiers to share good company, equipment and technique on the snow."

For alpine skiers, tubers and snowboarders, telemark skiing, or "free-heel" skiing, is the sport you have no idea how to do - but that could all change this Saturday.

Though grace is inherent in alpine ski turns, and somewhat present in a snowboarder's carve, nothing quite beats the elegance and form of a telemark turn, the basis for the telemark sport.

Long shoved in the backseat of the High Country snowsport hierarchy, telemark has witnessed a surge as of late, due in part to the copious snows that have blanketed the High Country backcountry, allowing more and more poaching and playing.

The sport will take center stage this Saturday with workshops for men and women of all ages and ability levels. Attendees will pay $50 for entry into the event, a lift ticket, a T-shirt, door prizes and entry into a Poker Run; if attendees don't need a lift ticket, a $10 fee will cover entry into the event, a T-shirt, door prizes and the Poker Run.

Based in Boone, the High Country Nordic Association promotes telemark, cross-country and backcountry skiing in the northwest North Carolina mountains and surrounding areas, and was formed this year. The group's mission is to promote free-heel skiing on and off piste to experienced, novice and potential skiers in and around Western North Carolina; to coordinate festivals, public service events and workshops; and to act as a resource for equipment sharing. For reference, "piste" refers to a marked ski run or path down a mountain - it's French for "trail" or "track." Now you (and I) know.

For more information on the event, search "High Country Nordic Association" on Facebook, or contact Russ Hiatt at ( or (828) 297-6003.
Go play in the snow.

Around the Slopes

As of press time, Sugar Mountain Resort sits with a 34- to 98-inch base, with 15-of-20 slopes open and 11-of-11 lifts open; Ski Beech at Beech Mountain Resort is reporting a 32- to 74-inch base, with 14-of-15 slopes open and four-of-eight lifts open; and Appalachian Terrain Park and Appalachian Ski Mountain boast 72- to 116-inch bases, with 12-of-12 slopes open and five-of-six lifts open.

Night ski/snowboard sessions and ice skating are available at all three resorts, and snow-tubing is available at Sugar Mountain Resort and Ski Beech. Hawksnest Resort's snow-tubing operation is currently closed, but will reopen this week, weather permitting. Ziplining is currently available at Hawksnest Resort, however.

Beginning at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 26, Appalachian Ski Mountain will host its second Ladies Park Night of the 2010-11 season. On these nights, Appalachian Terrain Park staff constructs a terrain park area with features specifically designed for learning and progression that will be open to females only. Women of all ages and abilities, skiers and snowboarders, are encouraged to attend; participation is free with the purchase of a lift ticket. The session this Saturday will feature a flexible, open format, and Appalachian Terrain Park Trick Tip Advisors will be onsite to provide instruction to participants.

And the fun continues...

Beginning at 9 a.m. this Sunday, Feb. 27, Appalachian Ski Mountain will host the second part of the three-event Shred for the Cup Series, a rail jam. Registration is $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the event. Included in the cost is entry into the competition and park, a meal and a Shred for the Cup T-shirt. Competitors must buy their own lift tickets. The competition is open to participants of all ages, men and women. Shred for the Cup will conclude with slopestyle finals on Saturday, March 19.

For this weekend's two events, decorated snowboarder Meg Pugh will spend two days at Appalachian, providing tips and support for Ladies Park Night and Shred for the Cup. During her career as a snowboarder, Pugh has won Quarterpipe Championships, highest airs, placed third in the World Superpipe Championships, competed in the X-games (three times), finished fifth place at the Vans Cup, started up a successful resort snowboard team, coached summer camps and has designed and produced pro-model products.

"Meg's passion and knowledge of snowboarding helped to take the Rail Jam and Ladies Park Night events to the next level last year, and this season will be no different," said Appalachian Terrain Park director Drew Stanley.

"I am really excited about coming back for the all-women's park event at Appalachian Ski Mountain," Pugh said in a press release. "I can't wait to check out all the new features and pump up the local ladies."

Also, take note: If you buy a 2011-12 App season membership by March 27, you can ski/ride for free for the last five 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.

This Saturday, Feb. 26, the Under Armour Third Rail Jam takes over Beech Mountain Resort.

According to Ski Beech marketing director Talia Freeman, the event will include a rail jam competition, which features divisions for skiers and snowboarders, men and women and adults and juniors. The competition will begin at 4:30 p.m. this Saturday, with registration offered between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The format is winner takes all, meaning the top finisher will take home all of the entry monies.

Third Rail's nonprofit partner for 2011 is Amped4aCure, and $5 of all registration fees will go to the organization that uses music to support cancer research.

The Third Rail Jam also includes live DJ sets on the snow, on-snow graffiti art, a freestyle MC bunker battle and an after party beginning at 8:30 p.m. in the Beech Tree Bar & Grille. The after party will feature live sets from DJ Image and DJ Dolamarx, and the cost is $5 per person, ladies enter free. For more information, click to

Now's the time to get some stylish new ski garb for this and future seasons at Sugar Mountain Resort's 2012 Spyder Sample Sale, which began this Thursday, Feb. 24, and will last until supplies are exhausted. 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.

After hosting a Crescent Ski Council Competition this upcoming weekend, Sugar will turn its attention to celebrating the life of the late Dick Trundy next weekend, with the annual Dick Trundy Sugar Cup Giant Slalom on Sunday, March 6. Trundy was a decorated Marine Corps general and aviator who served as Sugar Mountain's director of operations after his retirement from the service. The competition is a NASTAR-style competition open to skiers and snowboarders from the ages of 4 to seniors 65 years and up. Event registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with racing starting at 9 a.m. on Big Red. All proceeds from entry fees go to the American Cancer Society.

March 6 also marks Sugar Bear's Birthday Celebration. Activities include the Great Bear Race, a magic show, special treats and cupcakes and ice cream. "Kids love this event and that always puts a smile on the adults, too," said Kim Jochl, Sugar Mountain Resort marketing director. "Please, no presents. Your presence is the ultimate gift on Sugar Bear's special day."

March Madness rates at Sugar Mountain Resort debut Monday, March 7. Stretching from March 7 until the end of the season, customers save 25 percent on lift tickets, rental equipment and lessons during the promotion.

Guests at Hawksnest Resort will encounter three more Saturdays (Feb. 26, March 5 and 12) of holiday rates before March Madness rates take effect March 18. Up until March 18, rates for Sunday through Friday are $24 per session and rates for Saturdays are $32 per session; March Madness rates are $18 for Friday sessions and $25 for Saturday and Sunday sessions. As of press time, Hawksnest was closed but planning to reopen as soon as temperatures dipped low enough to solidify the melting snow. But, the resort's zipline is open and accepting customers who believe it's spring.
Go play in the snow - and go ziplining!

Upcoming Events

Every Friday and Saturday in February-Midnight Blast, Appalachian Ski Mountain
Feb. 26-Ladies Park Night, Appalachian Ski Mountain
Feb. 26-Third Rail Jam, Beech Mountain Resort
Feb. 26 and 27-Crescent Ski Council Competition, Sugar Mountain Resort
Feb. 27-Shred for the Cup Rail Jam Competition, Appalachian Ski Mountain
March 4-Fresh Friday 4, Appalachian Ski Mountain
March 5-Boss Hawg Concert, 4 to 6 p.m., Sugar Mountain Resort
March 6-Boardercross Series Race, Beech Mountain Resort
March 6-Sugar Bear's Birthday Celebration, Sugar Mountain Resort
March 6-Richard T. Trundy Memorial Sugar Cup Competition, Sugar Mountain Resort
March 7-March Madness Begins, Sugar Mountain Resort
March 13-Recess Wreck Less Rail Jam, Appalachian Ski Mountain
March 18-March Madness Begins, Hawksnest Resort
March 19-Boss Hawg Concert, 4 to 6 p.m., Sugar Mountain Resort
March 19-Shred for the Cup Slopestyle Finals, Appalachian Ski Mountain
March 20-Easter Egg Hunt, Sugar Mountain Resort
March 26 and 27-Meltdown Games, Appalachian Ski Mountain
April 1-Spring Rates Begin, Hawksnest Resort
Last day of the season-Boss Hawg Concert, 4 to 6 p.m., Sugar Mountain Resort

Facebook Fans
Home » Watauga News » Southern Snow Scene - Time to Telemark
Local Business Marketplace

Find more businesses on

Attorneys · Automotive · Health Care
Home & Garden · Hotels & Lodging Restaurants
Retail · Recreation · Real Estate & Rentals · Services

Banner Elk My Hometown
Boone My Hometown

From Our Advertisors

  1. Bairstow Eves. Lincoln
ASU Sports