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November 17th, 2008
…and Visit the North Pole!
The economic news has been getting progressively worse and worse through the fall, politicians tell us we’re in for hard times, something the resourceful people of North Carolina are quite accustomed to. In the mountainous west of the state – designated in the best of times as an officially “depressed region” – the #1 source of income is tourism and our tremendous natural beauty in all seasons still draws millions of appreciative visitors from all over the world.
One of the most famous of the WNC attractions is America’s only genuine castle, the beautiful Biltmore Estate, once home to George Vanderbuilt and his wife Edith Stuyvesant Dresser, the estate continues the tradition of holiday festivities begun by the Vanderbuilts on Christmas Eve of 1895. With 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces, there’s plenty to decorate in the ornate style of the estate’s roots in America’s “Gilded Age.”Architecture, Art, Carolina History, Family Activities, Holidays, North Carolina, Resorts, Ski Resorts, Tourism, Winter Sports | Comment (0)
October 28th, 2008
I woke up this morning – a few days before Halloween – to snow flurries only 2,000 feet up the ridge to the continental divide. That’s the earliest snow that wasn’t blow-by from Mitchell we’ve had for 16 years! No, the leaves haven’t quite hit peak here yet, so even if there were accumulation higher up we probably couldn’t see it. But we haven’t had the regular winter coverings we used to get around here, and it hasn’t snowed enough to sled on for at least five years at my house. Global warming, I guess.
We really like to have four real seasons in a year. That’s why we chose to live here in Western North Carolina. So it’s not so strange that a little bit of white stuff makes us giddy. The summer tourist season was mighty slim this year when gas went to $4 and $5 a gallon and hundreds of thousands of people stayed home. Then came hurricane Ike, and we had no gas at all for three full weeks in September. Schools and factories and businesses had to shut down, people took to walking and riding their bikes to the store, even as deliveries stopped and there was no fresh bread or milk to be had. The leaves are a bit late this fall too, by this time they’re usually few and far between. What could save us, in a region where tourism is the #1 economic activity? Why… snow!!!
Thus it was with great delight that I noticed Cataloochee Ski Area’s ski and snowboarding season started today, October 28 with fresh made snow 8 to 12 inches deep. The weather pundits are predicting that yes, our ski season will start early and last long, which is the best news we’ve had all year. Cataloochee’s the only one open now, but others will be up and sliding sometime between the first week of November through the week of Christmas, depending on snow-making conditions.
Hawksnest Resort is aiming for any time after November 1st, looking good for that right now, too. Sugar Mountain is planning to open November 7th, and several other areas may open earlier this year too. If you’ve a favorite, be sure to call and find out if they are planning to move up their opening dates to take advantage of what is shaping up to be a spectacular ski season here in the beautiful NC mountains!
Check out the links below to get contact and ski package information from the resorts themselves, as several are offering great season passes and combo lodging/lift and slope deals this year. Book yourself and your family for a fine getaway early, and wax up the gear!
Links:Family Activities, North Carolina, Ski Resorts, Snow Tubing, Snowboarding, Sports, Tourism, Winter Sports | Comment (1)
January 2nd, 2008
The Current NC Ski Report…
The hectic holidays – and the unusually warm spell that accompanied them this year – are behind us. Temperatures dropped into the teens as New Year’s Day came to its early close and snow fell across the western mountains. Snow making machines have been cranked up and are supplying base for the several great snowtubing runs at various WNC resorts, and the higher elevation slopes did manage to retain enough base to keep the skiers and snowboarders happy during the warm spell. From Cataloochee’s page…
Resorts, Ski Resorts, Snow Tubing, Snowboarding, Sports, Winter Sports | Comment (1)
As of 8pm. on Tuesday [Jan. 1], it is a chilly 19 degrees and it has been snowing since 4pm. We have received 2 inches of natural snow and the snow is forecast to continue into Wednesday. Snow making weather is in the forecast for most of the upcoming week and we will begin to make it as quickly as the temperatures allow. In an effort to capture the colder weather and maximize snowmaking to improve conditions and open more terrain, Cataloochie guests should expect snowmaking to be in progress during skiing hours if temperatures permit for this week. Please be prepared for winter conditions with hats and goggles and please dress accordingly.
December 3rd, 2007
North Carolina gets a lot of tourists, making tourism one of the largest industries in the state. Western NC gets 3 million visitors at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and even more along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Between NASCAR, the Outer Banks, and other attractions all over the state, tourism supplies ~$15.5 billion and nearly 200,000 jobs to the North Carolina economy, along with about $2.5 billion in tax revenues.
But not all of North Carolina’s tourism happens in the beautiful spring, summer or fall. Our mountainous western region hosts many excellent – even world class – ski resorts who do a brisk business at high elevations all winter long!
Ski North Carolina keeps a constantly updated skiing news and conditions report going, along with links to the area resorts and lots of information and advertisements for condos, chalets and other lodging options at or near all the best slopes.Blue Ridge, Family Activities, North Carolina, Ski Resorts, Snow Tubing, Snowboarding, Tourism, Winter Sports | Comment (0)