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March Madness on Slopes in High Country: Cheap Tickets, Nice Days and Fewer Crowds

It is a beautiful day at Appalachian Ski Mtn. on Friday. Hopefully March will feature sunshine and snow coverage for the last few weeks of the season. Photo by Ken Ketchie
It is a beautiful day at Appalachian Ski Mtn. on Friday. Hopefully March will feature sunshine and snow coverage for the last few weeks of the season. Photo by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Come Sunday March will arrive and that means March Madness, and we’re not talking about college basketball.

Think discount tickets on the slopes, and temperatures that are conducive to skiing and snowboarding in a t-shirt at times. What’s better this time around is that the previous two snowstorms and chilly weather have created an excellent base on which to ride.

“All of this cold weather and natural snow, coupled with snowmaking has built up a huge base over all of the trails,” Drew Stanley, marketing director of Appalachian Ski Mtn., said on Friday.

In all Stanley said that guests will save money and won’t have to bundle up so much to enjoy the winter activities at the ski resorts in the High Country.

“Each [session] is more comfortable. The days are a little longer and you have the sun working in your favor, and the conditions should be good with excellent coverage,” Stanley said.

Stanley added that there should be plenty of weather through Easter Weekend.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.

Traditionally, Appalachian Ski Mtn. closes on March 29, but this year the resort will reopen during Easter Weekend in order to raise money for the Middle Fork Greenway.

For this special fundraiser, Appalachian Ski Mtn. has collaborated with a number of area businesses to compound the financial benefit for the greenway project in between Blowing Rock and Boone.

Ski tickets will be discounted up to 50 percent off normal rates for guests who stay at any High Country lodging facility or for any local resident (Watauga, Avery, Ashe, Johnson, Caldwell or Wilkes counties).

In addition, a 3-for-1 special package is available for a ski ticket and a choice of two of the following local attractions: The Blowing Rock, Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine, Grandfather Mountain and Mystery Hill.

See this story for more information about the Middle Fork Greenway fundraiser and a list of all of the special deals local businesses are dishing out.

Aside from the Easter Weekend special, Appalachian Ski Mtn. is giving away free skiing for the rest of the year for those who purchase next year’s season pass, which Stanley said turns into about six weeks of free skiing. For more info, click here.

This coming Sunday, ASM is also offering half-night skiing for only $10. From 7:30 to 10 p.m., it only costs $10 to ski or snowboard, but if you purchase your ticket online, you can ski or snowboard for $10 for an extra hour, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

In addition, ASM is offering late-season rates from March 17 through the closing date of March 29. See the various deals for a number of demographics and dates and sessions here.

For more information, click to www.appskimtn.com or call 828-295-7828.

Sugar Mountain Resort

Here is a release of all of Sugar Mountain Resort’s deals in March.

Come March Sugar Mountain Resort is slashing prices and offering a plethora of fun.

Beginning Monday, March 2 skiers and snowboarders automatically receive 25 percent savings on lift tickets, rental equipment and lessons for the remainder of the ski season.  Plus Winter Value Packages are discounted 40 percent, making March skiing and riding more attractive than ever.

Boss Hawg brings their distinctive brand of Bluegrass music to the Sugar Mountain LodgeSaturday, March 7 and The Johnson Brother’s will perform on closing day.  Both shows begin at 4 p.m. and deliver two hours of rousing, foot tapping music.

Sunday, March 8 is Sugar Bear’s Birthday Celebration.  We’re not sure how old he is but he’s still as active and energetic as he was when he was a little cub.  Activities include the great bear race, special treats and of course cupcakes and ice cream.

March 8 also marks the day Sugar Mountain Resort celebrates the life of Dick Trundy, a decorated Marine Corps General and aviator who served as Sugar Mountain Resort’s Director of Operations. The Dick Trundy Sugar Cup Giant Slalom competition is a NASTAR style competition open to skiers and snowboarders from the age of four to seniors sixty-five plus. Event registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with racing starting at 9 a.m. on Oma’s Meadow.  One-hundred percent of all $15 entry fees goes to the American Cancer Society.  Additional donations are always appreciated.

The following Sunday, March 15, Sugar Mountain Resort hosts the ninth Annual Easter Egg Hunt on the slopes.  Dress up in your Easter Best costume and join Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear in search of prize-filled eggs.  Hundreds of colorful plastic eggs will be spread over the Lower Flying Mile slope within view of the lodge.  One lucky skier or snowboarder will find an egg containing a 2015-2016 Sugar Mountain season pass.  The Easter egg hunt is free for all children twelve and under with a valid lift/slope ticket or pass. The event begins at 9 a.m. at the bottom of the Summit #1 lift.

And finally, while you’re at Sugar stop by Sugar Mountain Sports Shop for the annual Spyder Sample Sale.  All 2016 Spyder Sample apparel is 30 percent off retail prices. Remaining 2015 Spyder Sample items are half price and any older remaining samples are slashed 60 percent off original retail prices. Quantities and sizes are limited so don’t miss out.

For more information, click to www.skisugar.com or call 828-898-4521 or 1-800-SUGAR-MT.

Beech Mountain Resort

March Madness begins on Monday, March 2, at Beech Mountain Resort and runs through the rest of the ski season.

During March Madness, skiers and snowboarders receive 25 percent off all lift tickets and rental equipment. This special deal is available seven days a week and cancels out all other discount promotions, except for the school snow day special.

“March is a great month to ski. Conditions are great, temperatures are mild and it is less crowded,” Talia Freeman, marketing director of Beech Mountain Resort. “We have a great product on the hill, so this is the perfect time to enjoy the sport.”

One event taking place in March is the Minor Threat 17 and under Snowboard Competition on March 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The resort released these details on the event:

“[Sponsored by CAPiTA Snowboards with Coal, Union, and Recess], Minor Threat Snowboard Competition throws down in Beech Mountain’s Powder Bowl Terrain Park! Age categories for the competition are: 10 and Under, 11-12 year olds, 13-14 year olds, 15-17 year olds, and Ladies. Registration takes place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Beech Tree Bar & Grille. Warm up laps are from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the competition begins at 12:30 p.m.”

In addition, Beech Mountain Resort has several performances coming up in March as part of the Apres Ski Music Series:

Friday, March 6:

  • Andy Ferrel in the Beech Mountain Brewing Co., 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Big Daddy Love is playing at the Beech Tree Bar and Grille, 7 to 10 p.m.

Saturday March:

  • Acoustic Syndicate, 7 to 9 p.m.

For more information, click www.beechmountainresort.com or call 828-387-2011.

Hawksnest Tubing

There is only one more full week of tubing at Hawsknest Resort before its moves to only tubing on the weekends. Starting on March 20, Hawsknest discounts tubing sessions by more than 10 percent.

“We have lots of snow,” Lenny Cottom, owner of Hawksnest, said. “There’s no reason to think winter is going to stop now. We are sure to keep rolling.”

In addition to tubing, Hawksnest Resort also has a zipling course, which is longest zipline course on the East Coast.

For more information, click to www.hawksnesttubing.com or www.hawksnestzipline.com or call 828-963-6561.