1000 x 90

Early Snowfall and Stellar Weather Bring Crowds to the Winter Resorts on a Busy Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Hawksnest Tubing Resort was packed on Thanksgiving weekend.
Hawksnest Tubing Resort was packed on Thanksgiving weekend. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 1, 2014. The High Country was buzzing with visitors flocking to the ski resorts and Christmas tree farms on Thanksgiving weekend.

While this time of year is always the choice time to bring home a Christmas tree, sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate for a stellar weekend of skiing, snowboarding and tubing on the slopes. This year, however, the conditions were splitter and local resort operators have described this past weekend as a “record” or the best in recent memory.

Kim Jochl of Sugar Mountain Resort described the weekend as a “record Thanksgiving holiday” with many folks enjoying the new bold slope called “Gunther’s Way.”

“The Thanksgiving weekend was terrific [and featured] outstanding conditions for November and big crowds for all activities – skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and tubing,” Jochl wrote in an email.

Jochl added that the 10 inches of natural snow prior to Thanksgiving started the weekend off on the right foot, and blue skies after Turkey Day was icing on the cake.

Lenny Cottom, co-owner of Hawksnest Tubing, which has more lanes (30 plus) this year than ever before, noted that his resort saw big crowds enjoying the great weather. Cottom added that this Thanksgiving holiday business was a “little better” than previous years.

“It probably had to do with it snowing early in the week,” Cottom said. “The snow always brings them out.”

App Ski Mtn. had nine of its 12 slopes open and all of its chairlifts and two to three of its surface lifts operating over the holiday weekend. It had previously opened on Nov. 20 to historic snow conditions.

“We had a lot of happy families and happy people on the slopes over Thanksgiving time,” App Ski Mtn. General Manager Brad Moretz said on Monday. “It was really great to get off to such a strong start.”

Beech Mountain Resort, the highest ski resort east on the East Coast, opened on Friday and a spokesman said that this was the best opening weekend in many years atop Beech Mountain.

“We had a great crowd.  Our customers seemed impressed with the improvements and the conditions were excellent. We couldn’t be more pleased with the natural snowfall thus far,” Beech Mountain Resort spokesman Talia Freeman said. “It was the best opening weekend we have had in many years!”

Hawksnest Resort features more than 30 lanes this year, which is the most in the history of the resort.
Hawksnest Resort also operates ziplining courses throughout winter on a weather-permitted basis.
Any wait was the definitely worth sliding down the lanes of Hawksnest.
A view of just a few of the lanes at Hawksnest.
A birds-eye view of Hawksnest.
Sugar Mountain Resort was the first resort to open in the High Country and one of the first to open in the country.
Sugar Mountain Resort was the first resort to open in the High Country and one of the first to open in the country.
Sugar Mountain Resort has a new slope called Gunther's Way that has everybody excited.
Sugar Mountain Resort has a new slope called Gunther’s Way that has everybody excited.
Beech Mountain Resort opened on Friday and had one of its best opening weekends in many years.
Like all of the resorts, Beech Mountain Resort spent the summer upgrading, improving and remodeling the resort’s facilities and experience.
While records only go back nearly two decades, Beech Mountain Resort received a record snowfall for the month of November that only helped the winter experience.
The conditions at App Ski Mtn. were awesome with dominant blue skies. Photo courtesy: App Ski Mtn.