By Jesse Wood
Feb. 11, 2015. For the benefit of the Middle Fork Greenway, let’s hope the winter weather lasts until Easter.
On Thursday, Appalachian Ski Mtn. President Brad Moretz announced that he will extend the ski season through Easter Weekend – Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5 – and that all ski-ticket sales on Saturday will be donated to the Middle Fork Greenway initiative.
The Middle Fork Greenway is a 6.5-mile pedestrian and cycling trail located in between Boone and Blowing Rock. Of the proposed 6.5 miles, only one mile of trail has been developed so far.
“Each dollar that we can raise through events like this is critical to leverage matching funds to purchase greenway property or complete greenway development,” Moretz said in a statement. “We believe the Middle Fork Greenway will further define the Boone/Blowing Rock area as a premier recreation destination.”
At a press conference at the ski resort on Thursday afternoon, Moretz said that he wanted to do something to spur the development of the greenway, and thought of extending the season through Easter weekend, something that has only been done a few times in the resort’s history.
About two weeks ago, Moretz first reached out to Charlie Sellers, owner of The Blowing Rock attraction and then to Wayne Underwood, owner of the Mystery Hill attraction. Sellers decided to donate all of the admission sales for Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend, and Underwood said that he would donate all of the admission sales on Saturday.
Then – as Moretz said, using a skiing metaphor – “interest has sort of snowballed.”
More than 30 other businesses have since stepped forward and offered a portion of sales, revenue or cash donation. Moretz said he would love to see that number grow to 100. See below for a list of most recent business to join fundraiser.
Traditionally, Appalachian Ski Mtn. closes on March 29. This year, Appalachian Ski Mtn. will reopen during Easter weekend for skiers and snowboarders from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and also Sunday.
Ski tickets will be discounted up to 50 percent off normal rates for guests who stay at any High Country lodging facility or for any local resident (Watauga, Avery, Ashe, Johnson, Caldwell or Wilkes counties).
In addition, a 3-for-1 special package is available for a ski ticket and a choice of two of the following local attractions: The Blowing Rock, Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine, Grandfather Mountain and Mystery Hill.
This trail will be a part of the New River Headwaters Trail, a network of three trails – Middle Fork Greenway, Boone Greenway and South Fork Greenway – connecting Boone, Blowing Rock and Todd. New River Headwaters Trail is a project of High Country Pathways.
The Middle Fork Greenway is a collaboration between the Middle Fork Greenway Association, Blue Ridge Conservancy and High Country Pathways – along with other community and local government partners.
Sponsors of Easter Weekend Middle Fork Greenway Fundraiser
Yadkin Bank, $5,000 (TITLE SPONSOR)
Alpen Acres Motel, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
Appalachian Mountain Brewery, 15% of revenues (Saturday)
Appalachian Ski Mtn., all ski ticket revenues (Saturday)
The Blowing Rock Attraction, all admission sales (Saturday and Sunday)
Basil Fresh Pasta Deli in Boone
Blowing Rock Brewing Co., 25% of beer sales
Blowing Rock Inn, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
Blowing Rock Market, 25% of revenues from oyster roast (Saturday)
Chesseburger’s Grille, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
Chetola Resort, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
Comfort Suites of Boone, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine, $2 per person (Saturday)
Fairfield Inn & Suites Boone, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
Farm to Flame Food Truck, 15% of revenues (Saturday)
Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub, $500
Jane Fonvielle, $100
French-Swiss Ski College, all lesson revenues (Saturday)
Grandfather Mountain, all online admission sales (Saturday)
Green Park Inn, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
Adam E. Hill, DDS, PA, $500
The Inn at Ragged Gardens, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
Kilwin’s of Blowing Rock, $500
Makoto’s, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
Melanie’s Food Fantasy, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
Mellow Mushroom (Boone and Blowing Rock), 25% of sales (Saturday)
Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins, 25% of lodging revenue (Saturday)
Mystery Hill, all admission sales (Sunday)
The New Public House & Hotel, 25% of lodging revenues (Friday and Saturday nights)
Pepper’s Restaurant and Bar, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
Red Onion Café, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
Stick Boy Bread Company, 25% of bread sales
The TApp Room, 25% of revenue (Saturday)