By Nathan Ham
Unlike some years in the past, this March is certainly shaping up to be a great one for the area ski resorts. Thanks to a lot of cold weather this winter and some occasional snows, ski conditions have been great for most of the ski season.
“We have had lots of snow going into March and we’ve had lots of seasons where we didn’t have a lot of snow going into March, but it is really good out there right now. We have a lot of snow and good coverage,” said Kim Jochl, Sugar Mountain Resort’s Vice President and Director of Marketing.
Jochl said that with all the cold temperatures, they have been able to make a lot of snow to go with the natural snow that has fallen this winter.
“When we do make snow, we made sure to cover the trails that are open really well. We have a lot of snow we can move around,” said Jochl.
It is also March Madness at Sugar Mountain. Visitors receive a 25 percent discount on all slope tickets, ski and snowboard lessons, equipment rentals, tubing and ice skating. Items in the ski shop are also on sale.
This weekend is full of fun events at Sugar Mountain Resorts as well. An Easter egg hunt on the slopes open to youngsters 12 and under is happening on Saturday. A season pass valid for next winter is among the thousands of plastic surprise-filled eggs scattered along the Lower Flying Mile slope. On Sunday, Sugar Bear’s birthday, and the Dick Trundy Sugar Cup competition are taking place. The Sugar Cup competition is open to skiers and snowboarders and 100 percent of the entry fees goes to the American Cancer Society.
Sugar Mountain is hoping to be able to stay open through the end of March.
“It just depends on how the weather looks, but I think we have enough snow to stay open through the end of March which is always our goal,” said Jochl.
At Beech Mountain Resort, they are also offering special March discounts for skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers. Customers will get a 25 percent discount on tickets, rentals and snow tubing.
“The snow is really good, I went out last night and it was the best night skiing I have experienced all year,” said Talia Freeman, Beech Mountain Resort’s Director of Marketing. “We’re still making snow, we’re going to try and keep making it as long as we can. The conditions are about the best that they have been in several weeks.”
Freeman says that they are hoping to keep the slopes at Beech Mountain open until the end of March.
This weekend at Beech Mountain is the final weekend of music. On Friday night, Sweet Sweet will be on stage at the Beech Mountain Brewhouse from 7-10 p.m. and on Saturday, The Hip Abduction will be playing from 7-10 p.m. at the Taproom and Grill. Tickets for Saturday’s show are $10 in advance and $15 on Saturday. Friday’s show is free.
At Appalachian Ski Mountain, this Sunday is a candidate recruitment day for the Appalachian Ski Patrol. Those interested in becoming a member of the ski patrol can pre-register for the event by calling the main office at 828-295-7828 or stopping by in person.
Benefits for being a ski patrol member include complimentary family membership or guest privileges, pro-form pricing on ski equipment, season locker and complimentary meals.
Friday’s Ski Report
17 trails, 5 lifts open
39-91 inch base
Ice skating and snow tubing are open
Trails open: Tom Terrific, Boulderdash, Gunther’s Way, Northridge, Switchback, Upper Flying Mile, Sugar Slalom, Load Off, Big Birch, Oma’s Meadow, Lower Flying Mile, Easy Street, Easy Street Extension, Little Nell, Tiny Tim, Magic Carpet, Ski School Yard.
9 trails, 5 lifts open
36-78 inch base
Ice skating and snow tubing are open
Trails open: Upper Shawneehaw, Lower Shawneehaw, Upper Robbin’s Run, Lower Robbin’s Run, Crossover, Lower Powder Bowl, Freestyle, Play Yard, The Park.
Appalachian Ski Mountain
12 trails, 6 lifts open
66-122 inch base
Ice skating is open
Trails open: Appaltizer, Avery’s Appal, Candied Appal, Strudel, Orchard Run, Lower Big Appal, Upper Big Appal, Hard Core, Thin Slice, Appaljack, Appal Jam, Appal Top.