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Ski Resorts of North Carolina Explored in New Book; Author Shares History Using Stunning, Vintage Images

Dec. 10, 2014. Telling a story in pictures is North Carolina Ski Resorts, the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series. The book, by author Donna Gayle Akers, is set to release on Dec. 15. The book boasts 200 vintage images, many of which never never been published, and chronicles the history of the state’s ski industry.

2256NORTcvr.inddDuring the early 1960s, local leaders in western and northwestern North Carolina were dedicated to developing winter recreational opportunities in the mountains. North Carolina’s ski industry dates back to the winter of 1961-1962, when the Cataloochee resort in Maggie Valley developed the first ski slope in the state.

Once thought impossible to make snow south of the Mason-Dixon Line, technological innovations in snowmaking allowed several other resorts to develop through the 1970s, including Appalachian Ski Mountain, Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Wolf Ridge and Ski Sapphire Valley, all which still operate today.

Images of smaller ski areas, such as Hound Ears, Seven Devils and Mill Ridge are featured to honor these now defunct clubs. Many of the present-day resorts have incorporated snowboarding, snowshoeing, icc-skating and snow tubing, along with mountain biking trails for summer recreation on the slopes. North Carolina Ski Resorts showcases the rich recreational history of western and northwestern North Carolina.

Highlights of the book include:

  • Many of the images date back to the beginning of the ski industry in North Carolina.
  • Each ski resort has a unique story of their survival that can be seen though historic photographs.
  • Changes in ski technology are evident in the photographs, as safer bindings and boots were developed.

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at 888-313-2665.

Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places.

About the Author

A native of nearby Abingdon, Va., Donna Gayle Akers has lived in the High Country of North Carolina since 1993. She developed an interest in local and regional history as a child growing up in VIrginia, and learned to ski at Beech Mountain, so this book telling the history of North Carolina’s ski resorts holds special significance for her.

With a BA in Anthropology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va, and a Masters in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Akers has enjoyed the opportunity to research and edit this photographic history of North Carolina skiing, which will make her eighth book with Arcadia Publishing. Akers participates in local historical groups and has presented many writing and historical programs to schools and other civic groups. She enjoys researching history and its mysteries, interviewing older residents and presenting history in a fascinating way to readers through her 11 books.

With the ski resorts celebrating anniversaries marking their success, Akers hopes this book will honor the owners and staff who overcame challenges to persevere and expand their ski resorts to provide fun winter recreation.

Photos and captions courtesy of Arcadia Publishing

Here, an Appalachian Ski Mountain staff member adjusts an early snowblower around 1965, while two ladies observe.
Jean-Claude Killy
During his 1972 visit, Jean-Claude Killy’s first film, Snow Job, premiered in nearby Boone. His visit was an enormous media event, bringing national press to Appalachian Ski Mountain.
beech mtn
Beech Mountain’s famous Italian gondola looks very futuristic in this 1969 photograph.
sugar mtn
The newly constructed ski center at Sugar Mountain was the hub of the ski area. It was designed with many windows to allow for viewing the slopes.