By Nathan Ham
With around a month left in the ski season for the area resorts, terrific slope conditions are still awaiting skiers and snowboarders who want to head out for one last ride down the mountains.
Beech Mountain Ski Resort is anticipating remaining open through Saturday, March 27, and will be switching to day skiing only starting this Sunday, March 7. Snow tubing and ice skating have already closed for the season.
“Slopes conditions are great and we’ve got a lot of snow. It looks like cold weather this weekend so we should be able to groom everything this weekend for the week ahead,” said Talia Freeman, the Director of Marketing at Beech Mountain.
Hawksnest will be open for tubing this weekend and possibly next weekend if the weather cooperates heading into next week.
“We’ll probably try to make snow again tonight to anticipate being open next weekend,” said owner Lenny Cottom. “This is a great weekend for tubing and as temperatures allow possibly next weekend as well.”
Cottom says that this year was certainly one for the record books at Hawksnest as folks made the trip up here for some fun snow tubing adventures.
Over at Appalachian Ski Mtn. in Blowing Rock, co-owner Brad Moretz says that they will be able to stay open until their planned closing date of March 28.
“I think we will be in for a strong finish. We are going to make snow tonight, Saturday night and Sunday night after skiing hours. We’re going to have peak season conditions right up to the end,” said Moretz. “I think we might have more snow than we’ve ever had. We’ve had a really good winter and been very fortunate. We’ve got fresh, mid-season conditions and all slopes are open. It’s going to be a great time to come out and hopefully, we’ll end the season with a bang.”
With the loosening of some of the COVID-19 restrictions by Governor Roy Cooper, the 10 p.m. curfew has been lifted, which will allow for Appalachian Ski Mtn. to offer their popular Midnight Blast sessions for the final three weekends of the season.
Sugar Mountain Resort has not chosen a closing date yet and could have a chance to set a record for their latest closing date thanks to the great ski weather and snowmaking they have had this season. Dating back to 1995, the latest closing date for Sugar Mountain has been April 1, which occurred in 2018.
“It’s still early March and we’re still making snow at night. We are hoping to stay open with really good conditions through the end of March. The slopes are covered very well,” said Sugar Mountain Vice-President, Kim Jochl.
This Sunday marks the annual Richard T. Trundy Memorial Sugar Cup Competition. The event is a giant slalom fundraising competition for skiers and snowboarders with at least an intermediate or above ability level. 100 percent of the entry fees go to the American Cancer Society memory of Sugar Mountain’s former Director of Operations, Richard T. Trundy. The general public is invited to attend.
“Dick Trundy was Sugar Mountain’s Director of Operations and a two-star general in the Marine Corps, and someone everybody admired and looked up to. He was a really fantastic person and a fun person to be around,” said Jochl.
Trundy passed away following a battle with cancer, however, his memory lives on with the annual competition.
Next weekend, Sugar Mountain will host its annual Easter Egg Hunt on the Easy Street slope beginning at 9 a.m.