Ski slopes close season with festivities

by Kellen Moore

The late-blooming ski season will come to a close this weekend for at least two of the local resorts.

Appalachian Ski Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort will offer one last hurrah this weekend, while Sugar Mountain Resort hopes to take advantage of snowy forecasts to remain open into next week.

"We've had a great season, but we're in the business to ski, so we're going to keep it open as long as we can," said Kim Jochl, marketing director at Sugar Mountain.

App Ski Mountain will celebrate the conclusion of the season with its annual Meltdown Games on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's events include a cardboard box derby at noon, big air contest at 1:30 p.m. and a trash bag downhill race at 4 p.m.

Sunday's activities include a high ollie contest at high noon and the awe-inspiring pond skim and costume contest at 2 p.m.

Beech Mountain Resort also will offer a lineup of festivities, games, music and promotions to its guests on its final day Saturday, marketing and sales director Talia Freeman said.

"It's usually just kind of a fun day where people can celebrate the last day of the season," she said.

Although the resorts are anticipating the end, conditions are still holding up on the slopes, she said.

"We still have a lot of snow," Freeman said. "It's going to be a while before our snow melts."

The slopes may see a final dusting this weekend, as the National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of rain and snow both Saturday and Sunday.

At Sugar Mountain Resort, Jochl said the slopes will definitely stay open through Sunday, but they hope the late March burst will give them a chance to stay open longer. Whether its Sunday or another day, Sugar Mountain will send out its season with a ceremonial "burning of the snow," as well as live music from Boss Hogg and plenty of free food, she said.

"We just want to see what the interest is, what kind of skier visits and crowd we'll get, and then we'll see from there," Jochl said. "Don't count us out!"

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