March 13, 2012. With unusually high, fluctuating temperatures and the lack of snow, the High Country Press has dubbed this season as “the winter that wasn’t,” and personnel at the local ski resorts agree. But they are quick to add that all wasn’t lost.
Kim Jochl, the marketing director for Sugar Mountain Resort, said, “No doubt it was a tough season, [but] with the warm weather, the [relative high] number of skier days and limited snow fall, Sugar had a decent season.”
Last year, Sugar Mountain Resort had 130 inches of natural snow fall with 126 skier days compared to this year’s 110 skier days and only 45 inches of natural snow fall. Compared to past winters, Jochl added that the 2011-12 ski season wasn’t the worst or the best, but that it landed in the middle range of the past 20 years of High Country winters. This season’s 110 skiing days was Sugar’s worst, though, since the 2001-02 season when it had only 94 skier days on 25 inches of natural snowfall.
Drew Stanley, the marketing director for Appalachian Ski Mountain said this winter weather has been “crazy,” but added that the resort has been able to hedge its bets – regarding the unusual weather – with investments in snowmaking infrastructure.
“One thing that we can’t control is the weather. Luckily, the investments over the past several years with snowmaking and pumping capacity allow us to take advantage of the smaller windows that this year has provided us for snowmaking,” Stanley said. “We’ve been able to capitalize on that, and weather the spring like temperatures at a time like this.”
With potentially record setting high temperatures looming in the next couple days, Sugar Mountain Resort is throwing in the towel for this winter season, and Beech Mountain Resort has already closed. Last weekend,BeechMountainoffered free lift tickets on the final day of operation for the first time in the resort’s history.
After tomorrow App Ski Mountain will be the lone ranger, but according to Stanley, App Ski Mountain is “holding up strong,” as of Tuesday, March 13, with a 24- to 40-inch base, 10 open slopes and three open terrain parks, and even with 70-degree temperatures looming on the horizon, the ski resort plans to have its annual Meltdown Games on March 24 and 25.
“[The weather] is nice for skiing. You don’t have to bundle up. Put on some sunscreen and sunglasses, and don’t have to worry about being cold,” Stanley said. “It’s a fun atmosphere.”
Sugar Mountain’s Season Ending Party Wednesday and Future Non-Ski Events
SugarMountainwill close on Wednesday, March 14, at 3:30 p.m. The slopes open at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, and lift tickets, rentals and lessons will be discounted 25 percent today and tomorrow.
The resort will have a season ending party from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon with the Johnson Brothers will be ‘pickin’ and grinnin’’. Lift tickets, rentals and lessons will be discounted 25 percent today and tomorrow. Though its ski season will be ending, look forward to Sugar Mountain Resort’s summer lift rides, mountain biking and hiking trails, the Fourth of July Sport Shop Blowout Sale and Oktoberfest in the fall. For more information, click to www.skisugar.com and www.skisugar.com/summer or call 828-898-5274.
Appalachian Ski Mountain Meltdown Games March 24 and 25
Appalachian SkiMountainplans to hold its annual Meltdown Games on Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25. It is billed as a “full weekend of crazy events you won’t see any other time of the year, with lots of snow, sun, and skin.”