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NC Ski Resorts Work to Maintain Snow Cover

Photo: Skier at Sugar Mountain Resort. Courtesy: Sugar Mountain Resort
Photo: Skier at Sugar Mountain Resort. Courtesy: Sugar Mountain Resort
February 5, 2013

BANNER ELK, N.C. - The recent and predicted snow for western North Carolina is welcome news for ski resorts as they do what they can to keep snow on the ground and trails open. Sugar Mountain Resort in Banner Elk received 20 inches of snow over the weekend.

Kim Jochl, marketing director for Sugar Mountain, said that while natural snow is always welcome, cold temperatures are the most necessary ingredient.

"If we can make snow, we'll have fantastic conditions and a lot of people in our region do know that," she said. "But again there's a lot of people that don't understand cold temperatures do give us the opportunity to produce a great product."

Jochl said this ski season is a better one for the mountain in terms of skier visits and weather conditions, compared with last year, which was tougher for most resorts in the area. According to the North Carolina Ski Areas Association, the ski industry contributes more than $145 million to the state's economy every year.

Jochl remarked that every year is different when it comes to cold weather. After 30 years of making snow, Sugar Mountain hasn't noticed a pattern in the weather from year to year. She said the staff does what they can to protect the natural resources on the mountain.

"Our business depends on the weather, depends on the trees, the snow, rain, nature," she observed. "It is critically important for us to be respectful of our Earth."

Sugar Mountain has a large infrastructure of underground pipes, snow-making machines and stockpiles of snow it can distribute around the mountain.

There are six ski resorts in western North Carolina, drawing visitors from around the Southeast and beyond.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC