Gov. Pat McCrory Praises Sugar Mountain’s New ‘Summit Express’ at Grand Opening

Published Monday, November 16, 2015 at 11:58 am
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Gov. Pat McCrory cuts the ribbon during a grand opening ceremony of Sugar Mountain Resort’s new Summit Express as Sugar Mountain Resort owners Gunther and Kim Jochl look on. .

By Justin Grimes

Nothing Compares, North Carolina’s new branding slogan may best sum up the grand opening of Sugar Mountain Resort’s Summit Express, the newly installed state-of-the-art, six-seater, detachable, high-speed chairlift manufactured by Doppelmayr, an Austrian based company.

The governor and Sugar Mountain Resort owners Gunther and Kim Jochl were cheered on by

other dignitaries and a crowd of hundreds at the base of Sugar Mountain Saturday morning, Nov. 14, as they cut the ribbon and enjoyed an historic inaugural ride.

Mother Nature cooperated and the first man-made snow of the 2015/16 season blanketed the slopes.

The nearly one-mile-long ride to Sugar Mountain’s 5,300 foot peak aboard the Summit Express took five minutes.

“First class,” McCrory said, when exiting a plush Gondola, a gift to the Jochls by Doppelmayr’s CEO, Michael Doppelmayr, who also attended the festivities.

“The ride was smooth, warm and fast, and the views…great,” McCrory exclaimed.

Immediately following the lift ride, invited guests filled the Last Run Lounge and the third floor area of Sugar’s lodge where the Jochls treated the participants to an elaborate brunch including crab cakes, prime rib, fresh fruits and breakfast items; a veritable feast.

Welcoming everyone and praising his staff, Gunther Jochl said “The ski industry is a big part of the economy of the High Country and North Carolina and of course, we are glad to be a part of it.”

Previously Jochl had stated, “Our guests expect to be offered something new every year. Therefore, it’s important that we continue to develop and provide innovations with a wow factor. Both summer and winter tourism will benefit from the new installation.”

Echoing the same sentiments about the new Summit Express was Jim Cottrell, president and founder of French-Swiss Ski College; “Wow, this is big news, really big news; Gunther’s investment will help us all.”

After applauding Gunther and Kim Jochl for Sugar’s multi-million dollar investment and saying Sugar Mountain should be the site of his new western office, McCrory spoke briefly about about the state’s new branding project.

“Our new state motto is North Carolina, Nothing Compares. Nothing compares to North Carolina and nothing compares to Sugar Mountain.”

He entertained the crowd with anecdotes about his past skiing experience; how he rolled down Sugar’s expert terrain on his first ever ski trip at 16-years-old, ending with a moving memory of the Christmas his parents gave him a new pair of skis.

Not to be outdone, the Doppelmayr contingent in attendance produced a red velvet drape which covered a beautifully crafted and weighty Austrian bell. They roused people from their seats and the bell was passed with attendees taking turns ringing the bell; traditionally ringing in the snow.

Upon completion of the sounding ceremony, Michael Doppelmayr presented the bell to Kim Jochl.

Sugar Mountain Resort opened for skiing on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.

For more information of the new Summit Express or Sugar Mountain Resort, click to:

www.skisugar.com.

Mr. and Mrs Sugar Bear and the Sugar Mountain staff were all smiles as they greeted guests arriving for the ribbon cutting celebration for the new Summit Express ski lift on Saturday.

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Guests leave to lodge headed up to the Summit Express for the ribbon cutting.

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Governor McCrory is flanked by Kim and Gunther Jochl as he begins a countdown to the actual ribbon cutting.

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Gunther Jochl, Governor Pat McCrory and Kim Jochl.

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The Jochl’s and Governor McCrory aboard the VIP Gondola for the first ride up the new Summit Express

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Hundreds of guests in line for their ride up the new chair lift.

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The VIP Gondola on the return ride back down to the lodge

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It was all smiles and high fives as guest took their turns on the five minute ride to the top.

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Keith Lane, owner of the food services at Sugar Mountain (on the left) presented the brunch and lunch buffet that had guests going back for seconds!

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Governor McCrory accepts a ski pass from Sugar Mountain and promised he would be back for skiing this winter.

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Guests filled the lodge for food and speeches.

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Gunther Jochl remarks included thanking the many people involved in making the Summit Express a reality and getting it open on time.

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Governor McCrory expressed the importance of the ski industry not only to the High Country but across the State of North Carolina as well.

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A European tradition of “ringing the bell” was part of the festivities and was a gift to the team at Sugar Mountain.

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Governor McCrory with Kim Jochl at the end of the luncheon.

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Governor McCrory taking with the press.

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One of the lift tickets used for the first rides up the new Summit Express on November 14, 2015

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