Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ski season in full swing

I haven't been able to do it in years, but perhaps my favorite pasttime is snow skiing. And it's a shame I can't, since apparently right now is THE best time to go skiing (or learn to ski) in western North Carolina, what with the recent snow and all.

"The recent cold has given the region's ski areas the best snowmaking opportunity of the 2008-09 season," says the News & Observer's Joe Miller on his blog. "So good, that the following areas are all completely open: Appalachian, Cataloochee, Sapphire Valley, Sugar Mountain, Bryce, Massanutten, Homestead, Wintergreen — even tiny Cloudmont in Alabama, with it's two, thousand-foot-long slopes and 150-foot vertical, is operating at 100 percent. ...

"Sugar Mountain has all six lifts and all 20 runs open; with temperatures expected hover around freezing, Sugar could make snow during the day but promises it won't. Great news for skiers and boarders who despise whiteout conditions (and the accompanying snow glaze, on a cloudless day). Meanwhile, up the road at Ski Beech, 11 of 15 runs are open and the resort is reporting packed powder (which its Live Web cam would see to support)."

Darn. I'm jealous.

I must admit, my N.C. ski experience is pretty much limited to Sugar; I have fond memories of church youth retreats and the fear-turning-to-elation of zipping down a too-steep-for-comfort slope. I know North Carolina doesn't have the ski opportunities of some spots in the northeast or the west, but it ain't half-bad either -- and it ain't that far away.

I really need to go skiing again. And soon.

Any good thoughts/memories/suggestions about N.C.'s ski resorts? Got a recommendation for a place to stay and dine?

(Photo from

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