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Sugar Mountain, App Ski Mtn. Hope to Keep Making Snow, Still Open For Foreseeable Future

Sugar Mountain on Friday afternoon

By Nathan Ham

Two of the area ski resorts are not ready to give up on the 2017-18 ski season just yet despite abnormally warm temperatures in the High Country.

Beech Mountain announced its decision to close for the season on Feb. 22. However, for Sugar Mountain and Appalachian Ski Mountain, it’s business as usual.

Sugar Mountain Resort currently has the middle and lower portions of the mountain open for skiing with five slopes and three lifts still in operation.

“We’ve got great conditions on the lower mountain. With the warm weather we are moving snow down to keep things well-covered and have lots of depth,” said Kim Jochl, who is the director of marketing for Sugar Mountain. “It’s crazy how many people are still around and heading to the ski slopes.”

The ice-skating rink is still open as well however tubing has been closed for the season.

With the weather being as warm as it has been, making snow has been almost impossible. Looking ahead, however, temperatures may cool down enough for the remaining slopes open to start making some more snow for the last month of the season.

“If the weather allows us to make snow in the next few days, we’re definitely going to make snow,” Jochl said. “There’s a lot of snow on the mountain, we’re moving snow from places to make sure we have a solid base on the lower mountain. We’ve had very good business for these types of conditions and we’ve got happy customers.”

Appalachian Ski Mountain is also hoping to keep the season going for a few more weeks. They currently have nine slopes and six lifts operating as of Thursday morning.

Marketing director Drew Stanley said that they are hoping to stay open through their usual closing date of the fourth Sunday of March, which is March 25.

“If March is somewhat average and we’re able to make a little bit of snow, we should be able to ski well into March. It just all depends,” Stanley said.

Overall, App Ski Mountain has had a pretty good season so far, but hopes that the weather will cooperate for more snow making.

“We’re fortunate that we have faired pretty well. The base depth has decreased but we’ve got the majority of our slopes open and pretty good coverage, all things considered,” Stanley said. “We’re looking at the forecast and all signs point to a seasonal or somewhat colder than normal early part of March. As soon as we’re able, we’re going to jump on it and fire back up.”

Hawksnest has decided to close its tubing operations for the season, barring a big snow rolling in at the beginning of March. The zipline course will be open daily with reservations required.

Hawksnest co-owner Lenny Cottom was happy about the season and would always take a good month of December over whatever happens in March.

“It was a really good season. It ended kind of quick but we got a good 60, 80 days in. The weather was good while it lasted,” Cottom added.