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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Ski Glee

Posted February 10, 2006

Flashback. 1960. A wild winter in the North Carolina mountains. Snow after snow after show. It fueled dreams of a new industry. Why not build some ski slopes in the hills? Cataloochee pictured to the left at Maggie Valley took the first plunge in 1961. Soon others would follow. There are eight ski resorts today in North Carolina today and this weekend - owners are licking their chops. With forecasters predicting up to 8 inches of snow you might want to head for the hills and enjoy the best weekend of what has been a mediocre ski season. Of course, getting there might be a challenge though road clearing has improved dramatically.
Some facts of interest. Only 40% of the skiiers at the NC slopes come from the Tar Heel state. 18% of the skiiers come from Georgia. 16% hail from South Carolina and 14% drive up or fly in from Florida. Traditional skiing is still the most popular sport. 70% of the people who come here ski. But snowboarding now boasts 20% of the resort activity. Snowtubing is coming on strong at 5%.
I remember taking a scouting trip as a child to Beech Mountain. It was rustic blend of meadows, peaks and beautiful scenery. Some of the beauty remains today. For skiiers it will be downright gorgeous this weekend!
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