Southern Snow Scene
Mother Nature: You called?
Snow lovers must have made the calls - repeatedly.
Well, Mother Nature finally answered this week, and, apparently, left the phone off the hook while turning her snow amplifier up to 11 through Tuesday, Dec. 7.
While she pointed her powder toward us, our four snowsport resort giants pointed their snow guns right back, creating a battle of blown snow, both natural and manmade. And the battalions of local snow lovers responded, playing happily throughout the crossfire.
Yes, winter has officially and symbolically arrived in our mountain enclave - the now-frozen tundra our greatest example that there is no turning back.
It is in the days and weeks during and following these epic snowstorms when our slopes put their best foot forward, so pop on a pair of snow pants, call off work and get snowed in at one of our snowsports resorts. Now more than ever, it's time to go play in the snow.
Around the Slopes...
Having closed this week due to high winds and cold temperatures, Hawksnest Resort will reopen full-time starting this Friday, Dec. 10, according to employee Lindsey Carter. Hawksnest received roughly 1.5 feet of natural snow during this week's dumping, Carter said, in addition to a significant amount of snowmaking.
Starting Friday, 1.75-hour snow tubing sessions will be offered at Hawksnest at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with additional sessions at 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and holidays; and at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Sessions cost $24 Monday through Friday and $32 on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. What's more, patrons can purchase two sessions for $32 total on Thursdays and Fridays, excluding holidays.
Ski Beech at Beech Mountain Resort is welcoming its 22-inch shellacking of snow that it received since the beginning of this week's snowstorm. The almost-two-foot snowfall - which was calculated by Beech's Ryan Costin and Gil Adams - enabled Beech's staff to open five slopes as of press time, "and we plan on expanding the number of slopes open by this weekend," added Costin.
Costin said Ski Beech would open for night skiing as well this Saturday, Dec. 11. Currently, Beech is open for just day skiing from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is offering its 30/20 Plan, which offers $30 day and twilight tickets Monday through Friday, $20 half-day tickets Monday through Friday and $20 night tickets Monday through Friday. Weekend rates will begin this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11 and 12; prices in the 30/20 Plan will be offered throughout the entire season, excluding holiday periods.
With the snow still falling atop Sugar Mountain Resort as of press time, more than 18 inches of natural white had blanketed the slopes since this week's storm began. Capitalizing on the snowfall, as well as using the ideal temperatures for increased snowmaking, Sugar now features 12 slopes open, serviced by four lifts and atop a 32- to 62-inch base. Snow tubing is currently closed at Sugar, but ice skating is available.
According to Kim Jochl, marketing director for Sugar Mountain Resort, the red lift and Big Red slope will open this coming weekend. During the off-season, the red lift underwent an overhaul, which saw everything replaced except the towers.
As advertised, the 2010-11 winter season will symbolically kickoff this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11 and 12, when the resort hosts SugarFest-a two-day extravaganza featuring a preseason adult ski clinic, on-snow equipment demos, contests, fun and games, food and drink, fireworks and an appearance and skate session with Olympic figure skating silver medalist Paul Wylie. See the back page of this week's The Avery Journal-Times for more information on SugarFest.
Also note that Santa at Sugar begins this Saturday, Dec. 11, and will continue daily through Friday, Dec. 24. During the promotion, Santa will be skiing, riding and talking with all the good girls and boys who visit the resort.
Appalachian Ski Mountain and Appalachian Terrain Park are also sitting pretty on account of this week's never-ending snowfall, according to general manager Brad Moretz, who added that conditions couldn't be better for early December. As of press time, App had seven-out-of-11 slopes open - Appaltizer, Avery's Appal, Strudel, Orchard Run, Lower Big Appal, Upper Big Appal and Appaljack (with eight features )- and all five lifts.
Snowmaking at App will be concentrated on closed slopes this week. Ice skating is currently open.
On the horizon, Appalachian's first Fresh Friday event will take place on Friday, Dec. 17. The Fresh Friday series features free-to-enter jam sessions on a constantly-evolving terrain park setup.
Registration for each event takes place on the upper level of the lodge between 5 and 6:30 p.m., and the competition begins at 7 p.m.
And mark your calendar: Skiing with Santa comes to Appalachian on Friday, Dec. 24.
Go play in the snow.
December through March-NASTAR Racing, Saturdays and Sundays at noon, Sugar Mountain Resort
Dec. 10 to 12-Preseason Ski Clinic, Sugar Mountain Resort
Dec. 11-Boss Hawg Concert, 4 to 7 p.m., Sugar Mountain Resort
Dec. 11 and 12-SugarFest 2010, Sugar Mountain Resort
Dec. 11 to 24-Santa at Sugar, Sugar Mountain Resort
Dec. 17-Fresh Friday 1, Appalachian Ski Mountain
Dec. 20 to 31-Holiday Rates, Hawksnest Resort
Dec. 24-Skiing with Santa, Appalachian Ski Mountain
Dec. 24-Christmas Eve Service, Beech Tree Village, Beech Mountain Resort
Dec. 24 and 25-Special Tubing Sessions, Hawksnest Resort
Dec. 29 and 30-USSA Holiday Slalom and Giant Slalom Competition, Sugar Mountain Resort
Dec. 31-New Year's Eve Celebration, Beech Tree Bar & Grille, Beech Mountain Resort
Dec. 31-New Year's Celebration, Sugar Mountain Resort
Dec. 31-New Year's Eve Extravaganza, Appalachian Ski Mountain