By Jesse Wood
Dec. 17, 2013. The 2013-14 ski season opened strong with a cold snap around Thanksgiving to the delight of the powder pushers. Since that brisk, sunshine-filled weekend, the start has been positively steady and is a relatively fantastic start to the ski season if you compare to last year, according to the area resorts.
Drew Stanley of Appalachian Ski Mtn. said this time last year, the resort opened for a few days in November and then didn’t open for good until Dec. 22 – at which point winter looked at its time clock and decided to announce a presence after a month with more average temps in the 50s than 30s. Today, Stanley noted that the ski resort, which has been open since just before Thanksgiving, currently has “peak conditions” at the resort with 10 out of 12 trails and three terrain parks open.
“If you just compare it to last year, we are in fantastic shape,” Stanley said.
This is great news since winter doesn’t officially start until Saturday, Dec. 21.
Kim Jochl of Sugar Mountain Resort added that minus the couple usual temperature fluctuations, the start to the 2013-14 season has been “pretty good.”
“And it’s been steady ever since,” Jochl added.
Currently, all the resorts have a solid base with a majority of its trails open for clear-skies skiing and snowboarding.
- Beech Mountain Resort has three lifts, eight trails open with a base of 24 to 44 inches.
- Sugar Mountain Resort has four lifts, 10 trails open with a base of 20 to 51 inches.
- Appalachian Ski Mtn has 10 trails and three terrain parks open with a base of 26 to 40 inches.
While the temperature is forecasted to rise into and through the weekend, the resorts have fortunately had an opportunity to make snow the past couple days. Also, a cold front follows, so the snowmaking machines will be back in action in the near future.
What’s going on at the resorts in the near future?
Santa at Sugar: Santa will be skiing, riding and talking with all the good boys and girls December 14th through December 24th.
New Year’s Celebration: A New Year’s Celebration Mountain Style featuring live music by The Johnson Brothers. The general public is invited, free of charge, to the torch light parade and fireworks at midnight. A fee as well as reservations for the indoor festivities are required and should be made in early December by calling 828-898-4521, ext. 233.
SPY Fresh Friday 1: A free jam session is presented by SPY Optics on the night of Friday, Dec. 20. Come session some brand new features at App Terrain Park with your friends at SPY Optics! The ATP Crew plans to rebuild the top feature pad in Appaljack with some unique and fun rails/boxes/and more for all ability levels. The event is FREE with a purchase of a ski ticket. Registration will be from 5-6:30 in the Alpine Ski Shop, and the event should begin around 7pm.
- Dec. 24: Skiing with Santa
- Dec. 25: Christmas Day Ice Skating
- Dec. 26: Holiday Midnight Blast Nights
Santa @ Beech: From Friday, December 20th through Sunday, Dec., 22, Santa Claus will be at Beech Mountain Resort daily from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., in the View Haus Cafeteria. Come visit with Santa. Picture packages are available starting at $15 and include a hot chocolate.
Holiday Sweater Party: On Dec. 21, the Beech tree Bar and Grille will host a Holiday Sweater Party! Holiday Beverages will be on special! Prizes will be awarded for the best holiday sweater outfit.
Christmas Eve Service: On Dec. 24, at 4:30 p.m. a Christmas Eve Service will be held at the ice rink. Participants can enjoy a free hot chocolate to celebrate the holiday.