BANNER ELK, North Carolina - Despite what the calendar says, there's still snow on the ground in some parts of our region. Which means skiers and snowboarders are taking advantage of the mountains.
Those slopes will soon be closing, but this last bit of wintry weather is proving to be a pleasant surprise. We headed to Sugar Mountain in Banner Elk, North Carolina to hear more on skiing in Spring.
It's crunch time for Marcel Harley, he hopes to take his snowboard on at least nine runs down the slopes at Sugar Mountain Resort before Spring is in full swing, "What I saw on the website was the season would be closing next weekend. So I knew I had to make it up here this weekend."
The chance of snow and winter weather lingering into the first few days of spring is good news for staff, skiers, and snowboarders. "It's been a good March, one of our best in a long time," said Gunther Jochl, President of Sugar Mountain Resort.
It's been a good year at Sugar Mountain, you might say opening day was treat, not a trick, since it broke records opening for business on October 31st.
But let's rewind, there were only 110-days of skiing in the 2011-2012 season, compared to about 135 this year.
"It was a tough year and then early March it was already in the 50's and 60's and even warmer than that, so the 14th of March we had to close," added Jochl.
But this March is different, we learned there are currently 19 out of 20 slopes open and while Sugar Mountain has spent 1,500 hours making snow this season it's paying off. "There's a possibility we'll be open through Easter depending on how much snow we're going to get," said Jochl.
While Mother Nature has the final say on closing day, there's a base of 29-70 inches of snow. "I'm a beginner so if I don't fall down, it's a good day," said skier Sherry Kolemba.
It's a good day for snowboarders, like Matt King, he's cheering with all his runs down the mountain, "Probably seven or eight so far this morning."
While Sugar Mountain may be open for a little bit longer, Saturday March 23rd is closing day for the slopes at Beech Mountain Resort.
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