Lots of Snow Makes for a Great MLK Weekend Skiing in NC!!

Good Morning, folks. Big apologies to all of you SkiNC family members, I’ve had a bit of a brain hiccup and managed to post Snowshoe Stories/Headlines on SkiNC…last I checked, Snowshoe isn’t in North Carolina…

This morning as I was riding to work I noticed most of the roads in the High Country, from where I was sitting, are clear and easily passable. That doesn’t necessarily go for secondary and back roads, but all avenues that might lead you to some awesome North Carolina skiing are clear and ready. This weekend there shouldn’t be any trouble getting you to and from the ski areas. Seems like this winter the hardest thing has not been snow, or lack of snow, or warm weather, it’s been getting the people here. Areas all over North Carolina have been all but shut down this week following the second major snowstorm of January. A quick look at closings and cancellations shows school systems all over the state are STILL closed today!! Gaston, Catawba, Cleveland, Cabarrus, Avery, Ashe, Watauga…just to name a few are all still closed today. I had a feeling last week when Brad Panovich was predicting all this snow for the weekend and into early this week that kiddos might be missing a few days of school…or a whole week. I understand schools in the mountain areas have days built in to the schedule that allow for a little flexibility and cushion to make up for missed days…but what about schools in the Charlotte area or down east? Is there any kind of padding in the initial schedule that will allow for the day(s) to be made up for? Maybe they all go on Saturday? All I know is that there has been an awful lot of school missed and it’s only mid-January.

Another thing that I’ve been hearing over the last day or so from various news sources is that the state budget for maintaining/clearing/salting roads is almost gone. I’m no politician, and I certainly don’t understand fiscal policy but it seems like after the same thing happened last year that this year when money was getting allocated that they (whoever "they" are) might want to move a little extra money into the wintertime pile. I’m no expert, though.

This past weekend at Appalachian Ski Mountain the renowned French-Swiss Ski College hosted the North Carolina Special Olympics Winter Games. Events were help in Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding, and it was a great turnout! Catlin Bray, from Watauga County, was awarded with a special award and named Athlete of the Year! Congrats to her, and special thank you to Appalachian Ski Mountain and the team and instructors at French-Swiss Ski College for hosting this event!! Fun fact: The North Carolina Special Olympics program offers competition in 19 sports and is one of the largest programs in the world in terms of the number of registered athletes!!

As you all know this month is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month all over the country, and in North Carolina ski areas are really excited to be offering some great specials and deals on lessons. This weekend is going to another great one North Carolina, and surprisingly, there’s no major snow in the forecast! This weekend a really cool event is happening at Beech Mountain. Beech Mountain has been a host to adaptive sports for almost 30 years, and this weekend Beech is again hosting a 4-day Adaptive Learn to Ski and Race Clinic. The event is sponsored by Disabled Sports USA and the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center! People with all disabilities, including amputees, can take this opportunity, aptly scheduled during Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, to learn to ski and race in a compassionate, instructive environment!! So, starting on Monday January 17th and running through the 21st, Beech will host the 30th Annual Learn to Ski and Race Clinic!

And here’s what’s happening at our North Carolina Ski Areas…remember that it’s Martin Luther King Weekend, one of the biggest weekends for skiing, so take your time and be patient, I promise you’re going to have a good time no matter what!!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 21°- The base keeps growing! With 78"-108" of snow covering the mountain, it looks like Mother Nature got together with some of the best snowmaking to lay down some serious snow! Appalachian Ski Mountain is open today on 100% of the mountain, with 12 slopes and trails open for skiing and riding from 9am-10pm, straight through. Check out the flex ticket they’re offering which offers 8 hours of skiing from point of sale! Appalachian’s Terrain Park crew always do a great job so be sure to check those out too! If you’re out of school for snow and you live in Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga, Wilkes, or Johnson County TN, take advantage of the amazing deal App Ski Mtn is offering. It’s only $8 for your lift ticket! Ski rentals are no more than $8 and snowboard rentals are no more than $15. You can even ice skate, for only $8!!

Beech Mountain – 14.4°- Beech is hosting the Adaptive Sports Clinic this weekend, starting on MLK Monday! They are not making snow thanks to the massive amounts we’ve gotten since ringing in the new year! They’re rocking a 46"-86" base and are open on 15 of 15 slopes and trails! If you’re out for snow…$15 lift ticket and $15 ski rentals! If you’re looking for a way to get your kiddos out of the house and get some exercise, skiing and snowboarding during the special snowday rates are a great, inexpensive way to get the blood flowing!! Also, if you’re headed to Beech for this holiday weekend, they are offering $30 day and $20 half day tickets for Friday and Monday!

Cataloochee – 14.2°- Our CoCoRahs guy (or gal) is reporting .2 inches of snow in the last day, just enough to coat the surfaces at Cataloochee. They’re open for day, night, and twilight sessions, including a half-day rate. There are packed powder conditions and all 16 of Cat’s slopes and trails are open. In addition to skiing and riding you can also check out Tube World in Maggie Valley, where they’ll be offering tubing sessions starting at 10am and running until 8am.

Sapphire Valley – 21°- Open for skiing and riding on both slopes. No new natural snow to report. They will be open today from noon to 9pm on the slopes and in the Frozen Falls Tubing Park!

Sugar Mountain – 10°- Open today to kick of the weekend with 20 of 20 slopes and 7 lifts operating! CoCoRahs is reporting an additional half-inch to close out this latest storm! They’re skiing and riding for both the day and night session, still no snowmaking during the day session! You can also check out tubing, ice skating, or go on a snowshoe guided tour, which are given Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays! Sounds like an fun alternative way to explore the area!

Wolf Ridge Resort – 18°- Wolf Ridge is open today with lots of terrain! Both lodges are open, and 22 slopes and 4 lifts are open for skiing and riding! Wolf Ridge will be open from 9am to 10pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Monday they will be closing at 4:30. According to their website, the roads the slopes are much better!! This is what they have to say, "Lots of runs have been groomed. Southern Express, Howling, The Bowl, Flame Out, and all Upper lodge slopes open this weekend."

One thing’s certain, the conditions at ALL of the North Carolina ski areas are going to be awesome this weekend!! The sun might even show its face a few times!! Have fun this weekend, and send me some pictures of your Martin Luther King Weekend Shenanigans!!

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. 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.