By Paul T. Choate
Nov. 29, 2012. Thanks to a recent cold snap, Appalachian Ski Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort will soon be joining Sugar Mountain Resort and open their 2012-2013 ski seasons. Both ski areas have been making snow throughout the past week and plan to open tomorrow, Nov. 30.
Due to unseasonably warm temperatures this fall, both Appalachian Ski Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort chose not to make snow until they felt confident that consistent temperatures would allow for it. Sugar Mountain, in contrast, opened historically early on Oct. 31 following blizzard-like conditions and substantial snowfall from the late-October Superstorm Sandy.
Appalachian Ski Mountain began making snow at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24, according to App Ski Mountain General Manager Brad Moretz. The ticket office will open at 9 a.m. tomorrow and the first 100 guests at the ticket office will receive a free ski ticket. Additionally, the Red Bull MXT “party machine” vehicle will be on the slopes all day and Recess Ride Shop plans to host an impromptu best trick contest on a select feature setup around 4 p.m.
According to Moretz, the best deals go into effect Saturday through Monday in celebration of their 50th anniversary and daytime ski tickets will be only $5 — the price for a ski ticket in their first year of operation, 1962.
“Everybody is excited,” Moretz said. “We’re going to have some great conditions this weekend.”
Beech Mountain Resort is celebrating 45 years of operation this ski season and is also opening up at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Beech Mountain Resort General Manager Ryan Costin said they have been off and on making snow throughout the past week and currently have about a 10-30 inch base on the mountain. Grooming is set to take place this evening and into tomorrow morning to provide optimal surfaces for skiers and snowboarders. During opening weekend, the resort will be offering weekday rates with ticket prices at $35 for adults and $30 for juniors and seniors or $25 for adults and $20 for juniors and seniors for a half-day pass. The resort plans to be open until 10 p.m.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Costin. “We made a lot of improvements this summer. We’ve been anticipating this for a few months now and we’re excited to be open.”
With last year being a bust for snow lovers in the High Country, this season looks to be a welcome change for the local ski areas. With both Ray’s Weather Center’s “Fearless Forecast” and the Woolly Worm Festival’s winner Lickety-Split forecasting cold and snowy winters, it looks like things are looking up for yet another spectacular ski season in the High Country.
For this weekend’s opening days at App Ski and Beech, Ray’s Weather Center is forecasting pleasant weather. It will be partly cloudy with daytime highs forecast to hover in the high 40s to low 50s with nighttime lows in the upper 30s.
Photos by Drew Stanley