On Saturday night, January 27th, Beech Mountain Resort celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a gathering at the Beech Tree Inn. The room was filled with past and former employees of the resort who were on hand, not only for the festivities, but also for a special presentation to celebrate Gil Adams 48 years of association with Ski Beech.
Adams has been on the mountain since Ski Beech was first developed. He became an employee of the two-year old resort in 1970, and he retired from his post as Ski Patrol Director at the beginning of this year’s ski season.
Coming from Kingsport, TN, as a child, Adams was introduced to the High Country while attending Holston Church Camp in Banner Elk. His parents bought a lot atop Beech Mountain before roads were even built, and the entire family skied Beech the first year the resort opened 50 years ago.
Adams’ father enrolled Gil and his brother, Mark, in a first aid class, and then the brothers joined the ski patrol and were able to ski free. That was in 1970, when Gil was 18 years old. In the early days, he was employed by Carolina Caribbean Corporation, and he worked as ski patrol during the day and in the restaurant washing pots and pans at night.
Adams has been the director of the ski patrol for 30 of his almost 50 years with Ski Beech. He also became a marketing manager for Beech Mountain Resort in the late 90’s for about 10 years, and he served multiple terms on the Beech Mountain Town Council. He’s an original member of the Corklickers band and has been a stand-in for the Laurel Creek String Band.
Invitations went out from Beech Mountain Resort’s Marketing Manager, Talia Freeman, weeks ago inviting friends and colleagues of Adams to a “surprise” party on Saturday to honor him for his years of service to the resort, and as well as the Town of Beech. Freeman addressed the packed venue with heartfelt words saying, “We tried to keep this a secret around here, but what you say around here at Beech Mountain everybody else knows – there’s no secrets, so I think Gil may have heard about this.”
Adams was all smiles as Freeman continued with her speech, “As you go through life you find people who impact your life more than others, and for me one of those people is Mr. Gil Adams. In 1970, Gil Adams became an employee of Beech Mountain Resort and 48 years later he remains one of the most influential faces of Beech Mountain. Gil has an unmatchable work ethic and the kind of dedication any business owner would desire of their employee. Gil has taken that dedication and knowledge and helped shaped and create a Beech Mountain culture that far surpasses safety. His leadership has modeled a ski patrol program that has become one of the best in the nation.”
The audience was clapping and hollowing with approval as Freeman continued, “A jack of all trades some might say…yes, Gil is many things. He’s an influential leader, a father, husband, and grandfather, a skier, a friend, a cyclists, a musician, and a Mexican food connoisseur. Gil has an incredible knack for yodeling and an uncanny retention of random ass facts. He’s also an ordain minister and a carpenter.”
Holding back tears with her smile, Freeman concluded her remarks by saying, “Gil is absolutely irreplaceable and his kind and loyal demeanor makes being his friend an absolute privilege. I will always cherish my friendship with you, Gil. You taught me everything I know, and I can only hope that someday I will be half the salesman, friend and co-worker that you are.’’
Gil was presented with a plaque from Shawn Williams on behalf of the resort’s owners, the Costin family. Ken Hale spoke on behalf of the Beech Mountain Ski Patrol saying that, “Gil is a fabulous mentor for Beech Mountain Ski Patrol and we would not be were we are without him. Gil has been with us for 48 years, and on behalf of the Beech Mountain Ski Patrol, here’s a certificate for 48 years of service to all of us from your past and present ski patrollers.”
Hale also presented Adams with a plaque with names of ski patrollers Adams had worked with over the past 48 years, ending the presentation with a big, “Thank you, Gil, for everything you do for us.”
A reception followed the event downstairs in the famous Red Baron room with food, conversation, and reunions among many folks who have not seen each other for years.
With Adams retiring from the director position of the ski patrol, Beech Mountain Resort has been making the smooth transition between Adams and the newly hired ski patrol director, Brad Blackwell. But, Adams says he isn’t going anywhere. He plans to volunteer for the ski patrol for the foreseeable future. “I’ll be doing that until I’m pushing up daisies,” Adams said