Artificial Whitewater in Charlotte, NC and McHenry, Maryland and now an INDOOR Ski Facility in Asheville?!?

Once upon a time, our participation in certain outdoor activities was limited by geography and the calendar. If you wanted to ski, you had to go to part of the world that receives ample snowfall. If you wanted to ice skate or play hockey, you had to be in a place where outdoor temperatures reliably remained below freezing.

However, human beings are tinkerers. When something doesn’t fit our needs, it’s our nature to change it.

Many names have been linked to being the “father of skiing” and that is a subject for a story for another day. However, can you imagine just sitting around one day and deciding to open a ski area in an area that wouldn’t normally be thought of as skier friendly? The same is true for whitewater rafting. Within just the last few days we published a story about how Wisp Resort in McHenry, Maryland was opening the world’s first mountaintop whitewater course. Who the heck would have even THOUGHT about locating a whitewater course on TOP of a mountain? Obviously someone did!

In the last decade artificial whitewater courses have begun popping up across the country, in traditional whitewater towns like Salida, Colorado, and less likely locales such as Fort Worth, Texas, and Charlotte, N.C. You can spin and blunt on engineered rapids in Green River, Wyoming, and Ogden, Utah, and challenge your slalom skills on a world-class training facility outside of Washington, D.C. What an amazing world we live in! People who would otherwise never be exposed to whitewater now find it right in their front yard – or close enough anyway. Many of the organizers of the Charlotte and McHenry facilities are banking on the idea that these parks will create a growth of interest in paddling to people that probably would never have considered it otherwise.

Skiing and Snowboarding is probably going INDOORS too!

Anyone with an email address these days has probably received the one that shows the indoor ski facility in Dubai. Believe it or not, that one is the third largest indoor skiing facility in the world. Ski Dubai in Dubai Emirates Mall started in December 2005, measures 400 meters and uses 6000 tons of snow. A second Dubai indoor ski slope is the Dubai Sunny Mountain Ski Dome in Dubailand which is due to open in 2008. It will provide a great attraction, featuring a revolving ski slope, an artificial mountain range, an ice bridge, a cable lift, a snow maze, an ice slide, polar bears cold water-aquaria and special sound and light effects.

The world’s largest indoor skiing stadium is being built in Shunyi District, suburban Beijing, where it will remain open 365-days a year. The building, which is located in the vicinity of the Chaobaihe River, will occupy 1,320,000 square meters. Composed of 13 halls where skiing, swimming, water-skiing and other sporting events will be held, the facility will also has space for conferences and meetings. It will have an audience capacity of 13,000 people.


Modern technology has removed many of the previous restrictions that made snow sports a geographically based sport. Refrigeration has made ice sports such as skating and hockey possible even in the warmest of climates. In fact, many of the best NHL teams are based in the South! Domed stadiums and artificial turf allow team sports like baseball and football to be played indoors and in areas where the weather might ordinarily be too cold, too hot, or too inclement to comfortably allow it.

We have sung the praises of our Southeast’s snowmaking operations. It is because of the advancements in snowmaking technologies that we can ski almost uninterrupted for 140-150 days each season. All of these technologies have not only removed geography from consideration for the locations of snow sport activities, but now perhaps even the calendar can be ignored.

We have received contact from a gentleman by the name of Rich Sutherland who is in the process of building an indoor, YEAR ROUND ski facility on the side of a mountain that will be 2200 ft long, 450 ft wide and it will offer a 600 ft vertical.

Just to put those numbers in perspective, that will be a trail that is about as long as that at Appalachian Ski Mountain and with almost twice as much vertical. Mr. Sutherland says that the new project will include a Superpipe, half pipe, après skiing, guaranteed 10 runs in 3 hours on real snow 18 hours a day 340 days a year (need time for maintenance). All of this will be located just west of Asheville. They are planning on starting construction in June/July of this year with construction taking about 20 months.

We will provide more information as we receive it. Stay tuned!


Sometimes we feel a bit like a representative of Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Yesterday we wrote that this weekend’s weather was looking great for a super weekend of skiing and riding. You’d have thought that it was April Fool’s Day from the number of emails that I received and answered from “unbelievers”.

Several people wrote that we were due to receive heavy rain and “all of the snow will be gone”. Oh Brother! Let’s go ahead and put this in print – again.

Yes, we are due for some rain and by all accounts it will be somewhat heavy at times on Thursday. However, it will NOT wash away all of the snow that we have on our slopes. Ski Conditions Friday and this weekend will be quite nice. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few resorts report some thin coverage, but it really will be quite nice for this weekend AND we’re looking at a forecast that should be providing highs in the 20s and low 30s Saturday and Sunday with light snow in the picture as well.


It was 23° this morning at Cataloochee. Tammy Brown wanted us to make you guys aware that they are holding a final Cataloochee Challenge Cup Race of the season on Thursday, March 1, at 8pm. Call the ski area and ask for extension 315 for more information. Also, don’t forget the following Sunday is the biggest and best season pass sale of this year and next beginning on Sunday, March 4. Pass prices will be the lowest of the year from March 4 through March 31 and if you are a new pass holder, you can ski for the rest of this year and next on this pass! Pass pricing will go up on April 1. Also our one day blowout $99 Midweek Season Pass sale will be on one day only, Sunday March 4 from 8:30am – 4:30pm. This special pass price is limited to the first 500 sold. You can purchase here at the area or call in between the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm on that Sunday only. And when they’re gone, they’re GONE!

Hawksnest Ski Resort has an announcement: The Nest Games will be a TWO DAY Event this weekend!

Hawksnest Ski Resort’s much anticipated and crowd-pleasing Nest Games has expanded into a two-day event scheduled for Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4.

Located atop Seven Devils, North Carolina, and known for hosting racing events, the Nest Games are the resort’s annual, signature competition.

“Last year, the Nest Games drew a large crowd,” said Lenny Cottom, owner of Hawksnest. “All the comments from participants and spectators were positive after last year’s Games. People enjoyed the Games so much that we decided to expand the competition into a two-day event this year. If you’ve never competed in or watched a boadercross or skiercross, this is your chance. It’s so much fun.”

On Saturday, March 3, competitors will thrill the crowds and hopefully the judges in a freestyle event that includes big air and terrain-park features. On Sunday, March 4, snowboarders and skiers will race down the mountain four-abreast over jumps and thru obstacles and gates to a finish line.

The Nest Games are open to all ages and ability levels. Women compete against women, children compete against children and men and boys compete against each other, respectively. Prior to each event, participants are placed into appropriate heats and competitive categories.

An Awards Ceremony with prizes will follow each day’s events in the Nest Lounge.

Participants may register in person on the day of each event at the Lodge at Hawksnest between 8:30a.m. – 9:30a.m.

The entry fee for each day’s Games is $20. Specially priced lift tickets for competitors are $30.

Continuing its tradition of hosting competitions, highlights of this season’s Hawksnest events have included the United States College Ski Association’s Giant Slalom, Boardercross and Skiercross, the Crescent Council’s Slalom and Giant Slalom, the High Country Junior Races Series, and the High Country King of the Hill Competition.

Get in on the fun by calling 800-822-4295 or visit the website

Press contact: Justin Grimes, SnowSports Director 828-963-6561


Scaly Mountain is CLOSED for the season.

Sugar Mountain is holding a SPYDER SAMPLE SALE that begins March 1st. Don’t miss 30% off 2008 Spyder sample items, 50% off 2007 Spyder sample items and 60% off any left over 2006 Spyder Samples items. Plus, 20% off other brand name apparel like Burton, Nils and Obermeyer.

Saturday, March 3rd – Dick Trundy Giant Slalom competition. Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society in memory of Sugar Mountain’s former Director of Operations, Richard T Trundy. $15 entry fee benefits American Cancer Society.

Wintergreen Resort – 27 – Made snow overnight and “The Product Looks Great”, says Sarah Lovejoy!

Snowshoe Mountain – 19 – We made snow up here last night and groomed all trails except for Choker, Knot Bumper, Grabhammer and Lower Shays. The base is 57"-70" with groomed packed powder conditions. We’ll see mostly sunny skies today and highs in the upper 30’s.

Timberline Resort has an announcement of their own: Annual Governor’s Cup Race to be Held at Timberline

Timberline Four Seasons Resort and Conference Center located in Davis, West Virginia, is proud to host the Governor’s Cup Race this weekend on March 3 & 4, 2007 in conjunction with the Tucker County Alpine Festival.

The Governor’s Cup race is the oldest race in the south and Timberline’s race staff headed by John Lutz will set up a challenging Giant Slalom race for Saturday, March 3rd starting at 9:30 am and a Slalom race on Sunday, March 4th starting at 9:30 am. Each day there will be two runs and registration will be open until the day of the event.

Course inspection will be at 8:30 am both days and we recommend registering early.

Timbers Pub, quickly becoming one of the area’s exciting night spots, offers Apres Ski entertainment starting at 4:00 pm with a Happy Hour every Friday and Saturday. Dance the night away with the rocking sounds of the “Saddle Tramps”. Don’t let the name fool you, this group will keep you coming back for more with great sounds. The evening raps up with local entertainers, Macho Willie. This band’s talents will amaze you until the wee hours. Skiing, dancing and fun are Timberline’s top priorities, so enjoy the best race of the season this weekend with prizes and trophies for the top three male and female in their age groups.

For more information call 1-800-SNOWING or visit

Ober Gatlinburg is hosting their Spring Fling 2007 this Sunday. It will be a ski and snowboard comp that will start at 11am on Sunday. Giant slalom and Slopestyle events on tap. Oh yea, they will have a POND SKIMMING events as well.

Until Next Time…


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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of, and Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.