App Ski Mtn. Hopes To Open New Visitor Center With High Country Host in August

Published Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 5:14 pm
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Appalachian Ski Mtn.’s new visitor center along U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock should open up sometime in August. High Country Host will operate the facility year round.

By Jesse Wood

As High Country Host holds a moving sale, construction continues on Appalachian Ski Mtn.’s new visitor center along U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock. This facility will be High Country Host’s new home in the future.

The 1,547-square-foot building and stand-alone Appalachian Ski Mtn. sign will serve to advertise the resort in lieu of the demolished billboard that promoted the resort across the street for 45 years. The billboard was demolished to make way for the access road to the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge, which is now more than 90 percent complete.

Likewise for High Country Host, which is being kicked out of its NCDOT-owned home of 35 years on Blowing Rock Road in Boone this summer. After interest from developers, the NCDOT decided to sell the property to the highest bidder last fall. Nash Three, LLC, submitted the highest bid at about $1.34 million.

Nash Three LLC Principal Jordan Washburn told the Watauga Democrat in May that Starbucks agreed to lease the property for a corporate store and that demolition/construction was expected to begin in September or October. The plan is for the Starbucks store to open next spring.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. General Manager Brad Moretz said that the exterior of the resort’s visitor center facility is “basically done and we’re working on the inside now.”

“I hope [we finish construction] some time in August,” Moretz said earlier this week. “We are trying to go as fast as we can with everything. Sometimes things don’t roll along as fast as we’d like. We are working at it everyday and trying to get things wrapped up.”

“We are shooting to open some time, maybe, mid to late August,” Moretz added.

The building is located at the corner of U.S. 321 and Edmisten Road, which is the main entrance into Appalachian Ski Mtn. Across the street is the Reba and Grady Moretz Jr. Bridge, which is located at the intersection of U.S. 321 and Chestnut Ridge Parkway, the entrance into the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge. With the town’s recommendation and the NCDOT’s approval, the bridge was named after the Moretz family, who built the ski resort into what it is today, in June.

Moretz has said previously that the new visitor facility will enhance the highway corridor leading into Blowing Rock.

“It’s going to be beautiful. I think it’s definitely going to present a really beautiful, elegant entrance to the ski area. ” Moretz said in February. “I think it will be a real asset to the community.”

The resort’s visitor center facility was initially slated to be 600 square feet less, but once it was realized that High Country Host was losing its home to a new development, talks between the two entities began last year.

On Tuesday, High Country Host sent out an email blast noting the moving sale that featured a couple brochure racks, a credenza and three chairs, including two handcrafted Chippendale-style wingback chairs made at Penland.

“Our move to the new location with App Ski Mtn is coming up in August.  We have the items listed below for sale. All items purchased need to be picked up by July 15. All proceeds will be used to outfit the new visitor center!”

Email High Country Host Marketing Director Candice Cook at [email protected] if you are interested in seeing additional photos or want more details regarding the moving sale items.

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Looking towards Boone, App Ski Mtn.’s new visitor center is on the left and the access road to the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge in on the right.

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This is the Reba and Grady Moretz Jr. Bridge at the intersection of U.S. 321 and Chestnut Ridge Parkway, the entrance into the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge. With the town’s recommendation and the NCDOT’s approval, the bridge was named after the Moretz family, who built the ski resort into what it is today, in June.

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