VisitNC Announces US 321 Re-Open After Rock Slide, Offering Full Access to North Carolina’s Ski and Snow Areas

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Mountains boast new winter zip line, anniversary festivities and a return to Oz

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Ski resorts and winter businesses in Northwestern North Carolina are celebrating yesterday’s re-opening of US 321 in Caldwell County near Lenior.

Ski resorts and winter businesses in Northwestern North Carolina are celebrating yesterday’s re-opening of US 321 in Caldwell County near Lenior, according to VisitNC. With the North Carolina ski season now in full swing, destinations are welcoming holiday and winter guests. US 321, which had been closed for more than one week, reopened on Wednesday afternoon. NCDOT closed down Highway 321 between Kirby Mountain Road and Waterfalls Road on Monday, December 7, to remove boulders that were loosened during blasting on December 3.

This winter, N.C. resorts are featuring new activities and special deals. This year, Sugar Mountain celebrates its 40th anniversary as one of North Carolina’s premier ski resorts. Hawksnest Snow Tubing has all four parks open for snow tubing and now offers one of the only winter zip lines in the nation. Ski Beech opened its Upper Shawneehaw run and high-speed quad lift last month. And the free kid’s sledding hill is open in the Town of Beech Mountain. For more information on skiing, cabin rentals, resorts and destination information, go to

North Carolina features the highest ski areas and the largest snow tubing resort in the eastern U.S. Visitors to Western North Carolina can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and a winter zip line or just sitting in a warm cozy lodge drinking hot cocoa. Here is an overview of North Carolina’s facilities open now.

Appalachian Ski Mountain
Appalachian Ski Mountain is now the home for Burton Snowboards’ first Progression Park in North Carolina. With the completion of a multitude of ski area improvement projects, Appalachian Ski Mountain has now invested $3 million in snowmaking and other improvements in the last three years. More snow blowing fan guns were installed this summer; Appalachian Ski Mountain now has the greatest snowmaking capacity per acre in the Southeast. 828-295-7828;

Cataloochee Ski Area
Cataloochee Ski Area, located in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina is traditionally the first ski resort in the Mid-Atlantic region to make snow and open for the season. The oldest winter area in North Carolina, Cataloochee continues to make significant improvements to its snowmaking capabilities, allowing the resort’s operational staff to be aggressive in helping skiers and snowboarders with their first tracks of the season. 828-926-0285;

Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zip line Course
A new addition this year is the country’s longest zip line course. The Hawksnest zip line course is 1.5 miles long and is open all year. In addition to the longest zip line course, Hawksnest has taken snow tubing to new levels of fun. Hawksnest’s expanded snow tubing operation makes it the biggest on the East Coast. Hawksnest Snow Tubing has four different areas to snow tube with more than 20 lanes of fun. Lanes are 400 – 1000 feet long with two moving carpet lifts to take guests back to the top. Hawksnest has 100 percent snowmaking and lighting on all lanes to provide the best possible conditions and fun for the whole family. 828-963-6561 or 800-822-4295;

Sapphire Ski Valley Resort and Frozen Falls Tube Park
Sapphire Ski Resort is a four-season resort located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sapphire prides itself on being a learning and group-friendly facility. Sapphire is also a family friendly resort for those who are looking to spend quality time with their loved ones. Sapphire Ski Resort features skiing, snowboarding and a tube park. 828-743-7663;

Ski Beech at Beech Mountain
At Ski Beech the popular Oz run returns this winter with new padded quad chairs and newly installed airless electrical snowmaking hookups along the run so the slope can be blown in within 24 hours. Also this winter, a second terrain park will be unveiled with a fully functional lift that will access a multi-featured park with rails, boxes and jumps for intermediate to advanced freestyle riders. The resort also features a tubing park. Additionally, all reservoir lakes have been dredged to push the mountain’s water capacity to 8,000,000 gallons. 828-387-2011 or 1-800-438-2093;

Sugar Mountain Resort
Sugar Mountain Resort is even sweeter this year with special programs and deals throughout the season to honor its 40th anniversary. The Resort opened in 1969 with four lifts and 11 slopes for skiing. Sugar has grown to include seven lifts and 20 slopes for skiers and snowboarders. Winter activity offerings have expanded over the years to include snowshoeing, tubing and ice skating. 828-898-4521 or 1-800-SUGARMT;

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
Formerly Wolf Laurel Slopes, Wolf Ridge Ski Resort offers 15 acres of additional ski slopes, a new quad lift, a new terrain park and much more. There is something for everyone from beginner to expert at this family-oriented resort now with an expanded 82 acres of ski terrain. 828-689-4111;

More Winter Activities:
North Carolina also has a number of other snow related activities. Snow tubing and sledding are family-friendly activities everyone can enjoy. Here are more North Carolina’s facilities.

Beech Mountain Sledding Park
The Town of Beech Mountain once again offers children a winter full of fun with its free youth sledding hill, one of the highest sledding hills in the eastern United States. The hill is adjacent to Town Hall and provides good sledding conditions with a combination of man-made and natural snow. Beech Mountain, at an elevation of 5,506 feet, is the highest town in Eastern America with an average annual snowfall of more than 80 inches. The Beech Mountain sledding hill is for kids age 12 and under, although parents may ride with smaller children. Plastic sleds are required. 828-387-9283;

Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center
Scaly Mountain offers year-round tubing with snow in the winter and artificial turf in the summer. The resort even offers a kiddie slope for young tubers and plans to open a skating rink in 2009. 828-526-3737;

Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing
Located six miles south of Linville, Jonas Ridge features three tubing runs. They also offer night tubing. Call to confirm opening and hours. 828-733-4155

Wit Tuttell
(919) 733-7420

Susan Dosier
(704) 953-9408


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Wit Tuttell

Susan Dosier
NC Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development
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