Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Beech Mountain Offers Ski and Snowboard Lessons in January

Beech Mountain's Skiing 101 program will once again be offered throughout the month of January.

Skiing 101 at Beech debuted last year as part of January Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. The program reached many new skiers and snowboarders, and even won an award from the National Ski Areas Association as the top campaign promoting learn-to-ski month.

Those who enroll in the program receive one night's lodging, equipment rental, helmet rental for extra safety, a full-day lift ticket, and a beginner ski or snowboard lesson at Beech Mountain Resort.

The month-long program is available Monday through Friday to anyone age eight or older. Cost of enrollment is $101 per person, double occupancy required.
"The cool thing about this program is once people step into our group sales office, they don't have to worry about a thing," said Talia Freeman, marketing director at Beech Mountain Resort. "We walk people though each step. Everything is covered from lift tickets to equipment rentals to fittings to the proper way to carry skis. We make all the rounds and ensure they arrive at their lesson on time and prepared."

Registering for Skiing 101 at Beech is simple. Folks may contact any of the participating lodging options listed at: www.BeechMtn.com/skiing101 and ask for the Skiing 101 package. The accommodation will book your room and provide a voucher at check-in to be redeemed at the ski resort for a lesson, equipment rental, helmet rental, and lift ticket.

For anyone interested in learning the proper way to ski or snowboard, this is an ideal program. It can even develop into a regular winter activity.

"We had a few people who did the program last year and bought season passes this winter," Freeman said. "It was the first time they had ever been on the slopes and now they're regulars here at the resort."

Further details are available at BeechMtn.com or by calling (800) 468-5506.

Friday, December 27, 2013

NC Mountains to Sea Trail End of the Year Donations

a message from Kate Dixon, Executive Director, Mountains-to-Sea Trail

As you think about charitable donations at year-end, we hope you will make a gift to build, protect and promote North Carolina's Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

The trail makes a difference in the lives of thousands of people every day. Some are out for a solitary walk in nature; some on an adventure with friends; some are children kicking up leaves and splashing through creeks; and some are testing themselves on the journey of a lifetime across 1000 miles of North Carolina.

2013 has been a year of exciting progress. FMST has been developing beautiful new trail routes near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and in the Coastal Plain. Volunteers have been building new trail near Durham, Greensboro and Elkin. Momentum is building, and there is much to do. FMST is recruiting more volunteers, educating citizens about the trail, letting government officials know how they can help, and helping people get out to enjoy the beauty of the trail and North Carolina.

Joe Mavretic, a long-time supporter of the MST, spoke to his son's Boy Scout troop when they made a commitment to maintain a section of the trail at Falls Lake in Raleigh. He told them:

"A long time from now, those of you who kept your promise to work on the trail will say to your children," I was one of the ones who made the Mountains-to-Sea Trail dream come true. Let's go hiking on this trail I helped to build."

As a member and friend of the MST, you are also

"one of the ones who make the MST dream come true." I hope you will make a special year-end gift to help FMST continue its work to build, protect and promote the MST.

Your support of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will be greatly appreciated by all who travel the trail and experience the outstanding beauty of North Carolina. Please join with me and others to support the trail that is uniquely North Carolina.

Happy trails!

Kate Dixon
Executive Director

P.S. Have you bought your MST license plate? It's a great way to tell others about the trail and support the MST financially too ($20 of the $30 annual fee comes back to FMST to build, protect and promote the trail). You can order yours on the DMV website.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the Night Before Christmas 
or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas
Major Henry Livingston Jr. (1748-1828)
(previously believed to be by Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.    

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

 He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


Friday, December 20, 2013

RiverLink Honors 2013 CriticaLink Volunteers

Each year the RiverLink board of directors selects non-board member volunteers to honor. These CriticaLinks have distiquished themselves through their long-term efforts, creativity, persistence and impact and earned this special recognition. In the past RiverLink has honored such notables at Margie Eblen, Joe Eblen, Margie Maxwell, Mr. James Green, Art Streppa, Maylyn Seyler, Jim and Peggy Brazell, Jean Webb, Sally Rhoades, Jane Mathews, Kate Mathews, Bob Bowles, Walt Damtoft and a host of other terrific volunteers who helped make the organization better because of their involvement. According to Karen Cragnolin, executive director of RiverLink, "Our legion of volunteers inspire us and challenge us with their engery and leadership. We could not do and accomplish so much with our small professional staff without our dedicated and long-term volunteer teams."

This year the RiverLink board is delighted to honor the following CriticaLinks 2013 for their work to improve the French Broad River and its watershed as a destination for everyone to live, work and play:

Ginny Hunneke
- Ginny is one of those quiet volunteers who takes on an idea, thinks outside the box and gets the job done. She never wants the limelight for what she has accomplished on behalf of French Broad River watershed revitalization efforts. She has been gifting RiverLink for decades with her work and her wisdom. Having run a business Ginny brought good old common sense to every task she undertook on RiverLink's behalf. Well over a decade ago Ginny became acting volunteer-volunteer coordinator, researched other organizations' manuals from around the country, developed a "best practices" manual for RiverLink staff and energized our volunteer efforts through her own "best practices." Ginny's efforts helped us get where we are today with over 1,700 volunteers. Most recently Ginny served on the Anything That Floats Boat Parade Committee and has been a significant volunteer and creative voice for RiverMusic in its formative stages. This year she created "thank-you" books for sponsors that captured the essence of RiverMusic in photos as a fun, river-oriented event for the family.

Suzanne Hudson
- Suzanne is a familiar face to many of the non-profits around town both as a donor and as a volunteer. She works hard at understanding a non-profit's specific mission statement and is always trying to help the non-profit meet and exceed expectations at its own program of work. For several years Suzanne helped fund RiverLink AmeriCorps positions. As a music lover she saw the need for a music event that would bring people to the river to experience the French Broad. Her help in inspiring RiverLink's RiverMusic as a series of free concerts in the heart of the urban riverfront cannot be over estimated.

W.D. Reed - W.D. is a "go to" type of guy. When just about any idea or project at RiverLink needs a volunteer, a worker, someone to help implement it and get it done - we all think, "Call W.D.!" When we needed construction help, he stepped up. When we needed help parking cars at RiverMusic, he stepped up. We needed an event videotaped, and W.D. was there to help. He is a native and a part of the Reed family that the Reed Creek Greenway is named for. W.D. has a BS, Construction Management and Business from Western Carolina University and 10 years of construction experience, and holds a Building General Contractor's License. He is co-owner of Old Friends Realty and Development Co. LLC.

Sharon and Vic Fahrer - We think of this couple as our two-for-one helpers. When we do a volunteer call and neither Sharon nor Vic responds immediately, we are pretty sure they are volunteering with one of our collaborating partners like the Preservation Society or the Montford Neighborhood Association. The Fahrers' impact on WNC is impressive. Sharon has become an expert local historian and created tours and interpretative panels about important people and places like the kiosks she did for us of Wilma Dykeman and her legacy that have helped bring history alive for children and adults of all ages. Sharon and Vic are often the last people to leave an event and are always willing to help take down a tent, or pack a car. One time we ran out of ice at RiverMusic and Vic jumped in his car and delivered it to the event and refused repayment.

Curt Crowhurst   You could call Curt a long time river lover. He served on the board of directors for the French Broad River Foundation back in the 1980s before the foundation was merged into RiverLink. For RiverLink he has been a hands-on volunteer, helping us set up and take down events, solicit event vendors from food trucks to arts and crafts vendors as well as serve on numerous committees where he always offers sage advice. Curt is always helping our small staff, and is one of the very last to go home no matter how late or how long events last because he is there to help us close down, pack, load and put away tents, coolers, chairs and whatever else was needed to make the event successful. If Curt is not at a RiverLink event helping us make it better, he is probably recreating out on the river -- fishing, camping, observing and reporting issues. Curt is a volunteer who understands the importance of a clean and vibrant river and is willing to spend a good deal of his free time helping to keep it clean and working with us to enable others to enjoy this incredible and historic resource.

Located in Asheville's River Arts District, RiverLink is a regional organization spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River watershed as a destination where everyone can work, live and play.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Paul Phillips Winner of 2013 Mountains-to-Sea Trail Photography Contest

"Lone Traveler", an evening view of Pilot Mountain State Park near Winston-Salem, won first place in the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (FMST) 2013 photography contest. Paul Phillips of King, NC is the photographer. The 1000-mile trail, which goes from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, runs through Pilot Mountain. For additional contest photography go to www.ncmst.org.   

"Lone Travelor" by NC photographer Paul Phillips

Carolina Christmas Concert by the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra

December 21  Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra presents “Carolina Christmas”   A holiday tradition for 16 years, the Hendersonville Smyphony Orchestra welcomes the return of the Hendersonville Children's Choir under the direction of Kristen Walter. Guest artists soprano Collette Boudreaux and tenor Scott Joiner lead a program of sacred and seasonal holiday favorites including the popular sing-a-long. There will be two performances: 3 PM and 7:30 PM. Admission is $35.00

Get a link for the Carolina Christmas Concert and nearby lodging, events and attractions on the Hendersonville NC Visitor Guide.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Black MountainArts Center Presents Rediscovering Christmas

December 19    Rediscovering Christmas   Jim and Carol Anderson return to the Black Mountain Arts Center with their popular show, "Rediscovering Christmas." The show presents a series of original vignettes that range from the comedic tale of two blue-collar shepherds who are in the right place at the right time on Christmas Eve, to a piece about dealing with in-laws at Christmas, to a scene with an irrepressible Jamaican Wiseman who retells the Christmas story like you've never heard it before, and a comedy called “Minnesota Ice Fishing.”

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts includes live theatre, classes and an exhibition art and crafts gallery. The Center is located in the renovated Old City Hall at 225 West State Street in historic downtown Black Mountain NC. The Center offers Special Events as well as changing Gallery Shows.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Nutcracker Ballet in Asheville

December 18- 20    The Nutcracker Ballet   Asheville's Classical Ballet Conservatory breathes new life into every child's favorite holiday tradition, emphasizing elegant ballet on a mysterious December's eve. Share an affordable family holiday experience with the Ballet Conservatory of Asheville performed at the Diana Wortham Theatre.

The Ballet Conservatory of Asheville (BCA) offers dance programs for children, teens/adults, and pre-professionals. These programs include classes in nearly all major dance forms, including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, broadway jazz, hip-hop, and modern. Students will learn good technique, proper class etiquette and enjoy the wonderful world of dance. The Conservancy produces the Nutcracker each year and a Spring ballet. The ballets are performed at Asheville's Diana Wortham Theatre, widely considered to be one of the finest dance venues in the U.S. The summer programs include open classes and workshops plus a month-long, all-day ballet training intensive.

Monday, December 16, 2013

An Old Fashioned Christmas at The Smith-McDowell House in Asheville

November 20 – January 5 Holidays at The Smith-McDowell House   Celebrate Christmas the old-fashioned way. The Smith-McDowell House Museum's time-line of authentically decorated period rooms showcase the evolution of Christmas celebrations and decorations.

This yearly exhibit, began in 1981, is a tradition for many regional families and tour groups. The mansion and local history museum will again be authentically decorated with fresh trees, garlands, ornaments and toys of the Victorian Period. Seven period rooms will be decked out with gold, silver and glassware from the Museum's permanent collections.

The Smith McDowell House, located on the campus of A-B Tech, was the former residence of mayors and Vanderbuilt friends and is now a restored history museum. It is Asheville's oldest surviving home, a National Register property and a living memorial to 19th century life in Asheville. The Museum offers a variety of exhibits from civil war and railroad history to Indian and mountain geography influences.  There are also educational programs both planned and on an event basis.

The Smith-McDowell House is located at 283 Victoria Road in Asheville, NC

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas on the Mountain at The Thomas Wolfe Memorial

December 21, 6 PM and 7:30 PM Christmas on the Mountain at The Thomas Wolfe Memorial Site  Experience the wonder of Appalachian storytelling with balladeer and folklorist Shelia Kay Adams. Participants will be filled with the holiday spirit after listening to her humorous and sentimental stories of ‘Old Christmas' in Madison County. Sheila K. will also play her banjo and sing mountain tunes. Space is limited so call to reserve tickets. ($10.00)

The Thomas Wolf Memorial Site is Wolfe's mother's boardinghouse in Asheville, North Carolina, now one of literature's most famous landmarks. Located at 52 N Market Street in downtown Asheville. 

Get a link for Christmas on the Mountain, The Thomas Wolfe Memorial and other Asheville attractions on the Asheville NC Visitor Guide. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas in Blowing Rock this Weekend

December 13-15    Christmas in Blowing Rock   Patterned after the Andy Williams and Bing Crosby TV specials of the 60s and 70s, complete with women in beautiful dresses, men in tuxedos, a kids chorus, silly comedy skits and lots of singing and dancing, Christmas in Blowing Rock shows have become one of the most popular traditions in the village.

This year's show will be a "greatest hits" version of all past Christmas in Blowing Rock productions. Admission: Tickets- $15 Adult, $8 Kids (16 & under). Held at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium, 160 Sunset Drive. Performed by the area's affordable professional theatre company, Ensemble Stage.

Get links for complete visitor information on the Blowing Rock NC Guide. 

Support Little Tennessee Land Trust

Submitted by LTLT (Little Tennessee Land Trust), 557 E. Main Street, Franklin NC

In this season of giving, consider an end-of-year gift to help LTLT expand conservation in the headwaters of the Southern Blue Ridge.  Read details about current and upcoming projects below. Your end-of-year gift supports the continuation or completion of many of these projects in 2014.

Land Protection
By New Year's Eve LTLT will add another 39 acres and another half-mile of Little Tennessee River frontage to the North Carolina Needmore State Game Lands.

In addition we have three other land protection projects scheduled for completion by year's end that will add over 500 additional acres to our conservation record. These projects have significant value for conservation: one lies along the Appalachian Trail and another fronts 2800 feet of Nantahala River.
Streambank and Forest Restoration
LTLT's Citizen Science programs reach more than 1500 people per year. This includes stream biomonitoring, bird monitoring and numerous educational programs for students and community members. With an $84,000 annual budget cost, these monitoring and education efforts depend predominately upon funding from individual supporters.
Looking Ahead
The new year will bring a host of new projects and the opportunity to conserve and protect hundreds more acres of land and miles of streambank. One new LTLT initiative in 2014 will be taking inventory of the native brook trout population on private lands in the Little Tennessee and Tuckasegee watershed.

The success of this project and others will depend on the support of donors like you.

To renew your membership or donate to LTLT click here or call  828-524-2711
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Beech Mountain Opens Sled Hill for Kids

December 12, 2013 -  A kid-favorite winter attraction in the North Carolina mountains has opened for the 2013-14 season.  Beech Mountain's youth sledding hill offers a wonderland of fun daily for children 12 and under. Located next to the town's visitors center, the hill provides good sledding conditions with a combination of natural and man-made snow.

The free sled run is operated by Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Department seven days a week
(weather permitting) with safety personnel on duty. A loud speaker plays music and hot chocolate is available at nearby restaurants.

Plastic sleds are required. Families may bring their own, or sleds are available for rent or purchase at nearby stores on the mountain.

"The sledding hill is a great option for families with younger children who aren't ready for skiing or snowboarding yet, but still want to play in the snow," says Amy Morrison of the Beech Mountain Tourism Development Authority. "We get calls starting in September asking when the sledding hill is going to open. People plan their vacations knowing that they can use the hill. It's quite a popular attraction every winter."

And it's not just kids who love the hill. Parents like the heated restrooms and lobby in the adjacent visitors center, which offers complimentary Wi-Fi service. They've even been known to share a sled with the kids, sometimes for hours at a time.

Beech Mountain, at an elevation of 5,506 feet, is the highest town in Eastern America with an average annual snowfall of 84.6 inches. And when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, powder is available from a snow gun purchased exclusively for the sledding hill.

Hours of operation are: 1 to 5 PM weekdays; and 9 AM to 5 PM on weekends and holidays. The sledding hill stays open through late February or early March, depending on the weather. Real-time sledding hill conditions are available by calling the visitors center toll-free at (800) 468-5506. Additional info is at: www.beechmtn.com.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Don't miss the final week of the Polar Express at The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

November 8 - December 29   The Polar Express at The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad   Journey to the North Pole via the Polar Express to pick up Santa all the while enjoying caroling, cookies, and cocoa - and for those who truly believe; a silver bell just like in the book. Kids of all ages will believe in the magic of the Holiday season.

With only a few weeks left of  THE POLAR EXPRESS season, tickets are going fast. Don't miss the last few dates to book your seat on board this magical train ride. Jere's what some of this year's riders are saying:

Just when I think you can't top yourselves, you do! This was the BEST train ride we've had ever (and the others have been GREAT!) Our Chefs were amazing!! Singing, dancing, visiting with each child! It was so wonderful and magical! We loved every minute! Can't wait for next year! -Lara S.

First time riding on The Polar Express in the Smoky Mountains in Bryson City! I'm not sure who had more fun though! My great nephew or me! Such a great time and I would recommend this to anyone! Thank you for a wonderful day of FUN! -The Thomas Family

We have made this one if our holiday traditions. It is so much fun! - Randolph T

Our ride exceeded our expectations and was amazing! The waitresses outdid themselves with dancing and singing for the entire song and they invited kids up to dance in the aisles with them and this was a huge hit! Yes, it was worth it!
Get links for local lodging and visitor information on the Bryson City NC Guide. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Olympic Ice Skater a Highlight of this year's Annual SugerFest on Sugar Mountain

December 13 - 15    SugarFest at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort   1992 Olympic Figure Skating Silver Medalist Paul Wylie will dazzle onlookers with an amazing ice show followed by an on ice skating clinic, a meet and greet session and a chance to hold a real, Olympic silver medal. 

Consumer ski/snowboard equipment demos, live North Carolina bluegrass music by Boss Hawg, fireworks, appearances by Sweetie and Sugar Bear, and lodging specials are some of the SugarFest events and activities. Keep up your energy at the hot chocolate and whip cream bar,  soup safari or with North Carolina BBQ. 

Sugar Mountain Resort offers skiing, boarding, tubing and skating in winter months and golf, hiking and lift rides during warmer seasons. Located in the Village of Sugar Mountain on the outskirts of Banner Elk NC Sugar Mountain is the largest NC ski area with twenty slopes and trails spread over 115 skiable acres for all levels of skiing and snowboarding. There are seven lifts - including one triple, four doubles and two surface lifts. 

The 700 foot long tubing lanes are serviced by a Magic Carpet lift, all located on the Sugar Mountain golf course. The Resort includes a 10,000 square foot refrigerated outdoor ice skating rink and a Base Lodge with ticket sales, equipment rentals, cafeterias, lounge, sports shop. Ski and snowboard lessons are available for all ages including the Sugar Bear Ski School for ages 5-10.

Temperatures are dropping this week and snowmaking is in process with excellent conditions predicted for this year's SugarFest activities.

Get a link for Sugar Mountain Resort and other NC Ski Slopes on the NC Ski Resort Guide.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Stories of Mountain Folk for the Week of !2/7/13

Stories of Mountain Folk is a weekly podcast produced by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia and archived at Western Carolina University.

December7, 2013:

Storytelling: Amy shares her “Love of Dogs” as she recounts a lifetime of dog stories. Background music: “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” with acoustic guitar.

Creative Corner: Doreyl welcomes Wesley Angel of Leicester, NC, who talks about his love of blacksmithing. Music: “John Henry” by the Valley River Boys from Stecoah, NC.

Stories of Mountain Folk: Amy’s guest is Boyd Daniel Lee from Franklin, NC, who tells the history of his family who originally homesteaded in Lake Toxaway, NC.  Music: "For the Beauty of the Earth" by the Butterpats.

Stories of the Cherokee: Robert continues his conversation with Kathryn Littlejohn, a storyteller from Cherokee, who shares a story of how legends came to be.  Music: “Beaver Dance” by Walker Calhoun, courtesy of Mountain Heritage Center. 

Down Another Road: Judy interviews her childhood friend, Kenny Buckner from Swannanoa, NC, who discusses the benefits of growing up in the mill community around Beacon Blanket Manufacturing in Swannanoa.  Music: “This is Home” by the Cockman Family.

Closing Song: "There’s a Star” by Terry Edwards.

To listen to Stories of Mountain Folk CLICK HERE.

NC Historic Site Vance Birthplace hosts Christmas Candlelight Tours

December 14   Vance Birthplace Christmas Candlelight Tours   Experience living history candlelight tours of the Vance Home from 4 - 7 PM. The tours will have a Christmas season theme and traditional music will be provided in the Visitor Center by Primrose. See the Vance family customs and rituals observed during the holiday season. 
The Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace is the restored pioneer childhood homestead of North Carolina's Civil War governor and re-constructionist senator. Nestled in the picturesque Reems Creek Valley below the mountains, just a few miles from Weaverville NC, the Vance Birthplace makes an excellent family outing to explore the old grounds, house, outbuildings, seasonal events and visitor center.

Get a link for the Christmas Candlelight Tours, The Vance Birthplace and other Weaverville visitor information on the Weaverville NC Guide.


Monday, December 9, 2013

First Ever Cataloochee Ski and Snowboard Swap in Maggie Valley this Weekend

December 14 - 15   Cataloochee Ski and Snowboard Swap   This is a first-time event. A great way to get rid of your older gear and make room for the new. The Swap will be held on Saturday from 8 AM-5 PM and Sunday from 8 AM-2 PM. Registration and equipment drop off will be on Friday, from 3 PM - 7 PM and again on Saturday morning from 7 AM-8 AM. Tags and seller instructions are available by contacting catskiswap@yahoo.com. 

Located in Maggie Valley NC, Cataloochee Ski Area is North Carolina's First Ski Slopes, and usually the first NC Ski Area to open for the season. Catalochee offers Smoky Mountain Skiing, Riding and Tubing with 16 lighted slopes including the Cat Cage Terrain Park. With a variety of terrain for beginners and experts alike and over 4,000 sets of snowsports equipment, the Cataloochee experience offers something for everyone.

100% snowmaking, 16 lighted slopes including 1 terrain park, 2 advanced, 5 intermediate and 6 beginner; 5 lifts including 1 triple chair lift, 1 quad chairlift, and 3 conveyor lifts. Enjoy 6 lanes of snowtubing fun at Tube World. PSIA school instruction is available. Intro to Skiing or Riding lesson is FREE with all ski and snowboard rentals any non-holiday Monday through Thursday.

Find lodging, restaurants and attractions convenient to Cataloochee at Maggie Valley NC, Waynesville NC and Lake Junaluska NC

Saturday, December 7, 2013

NC Christmas Trees offer "Choose and Cut" or Online Orders

"Choose and cut" your own Christmas Tree on a North Carolina Tree Farm. Growing and selling Christmas trees is a major industry in the North Carolina mountains. 1,600 growers produce an estimated 50 million Fraser fir Christmas trees on over 25,000 acres in North Carolina. The NC Christmas Tree business is ranked second in the nation in number of trees harvested annually.

Fraser Fir trees represent over 90% of all species grown in North Carolina. Approximately 19% of the Real Christmas Trees produced for the entire United States comes from North Carolina. 

"Choose and Cut" has become an increasingly popular concept, currently supplying 25% of all Christmas trees sold in NC.
North Carolina Fraser fir, Balsam fir, Scotch pine and Douglas-fir are among the longest lasting Christmas trees and remain fresh much longer than other species.

 Lodging and cabin rental specials are available for NC visitors to choose and cut their own Christmas tree.

Here's a list of NC Choose and Cut Christmas Tree Farms - get links for pricing and directions HERE.

A White Christmas Tree Farm - Linville
Cartner Christmas Tree Farm - Newland
Christmas Corner - Pineola
Cool Springs Nursery - Boone
Elk River Evergreens - Elk Park
Evergreen Ridge Christmas Tree Farm - Newland
Lil' Grandfather Christmas Tree Farm - Laurel Springs
Little Switzerland Christmas Tree Farm - Little Switzerland
Long Ridge Nursery - Newland
Mistletoe Meadows - Laurel Springs
Mountain Advantage Tree & Landscape - Crumpler
Mountain Memories Tree Farm - Jefferson
R.C. Blackburn Nursery/Reindeer Crossing - Jefferson
Snow Creek Christmas Trees - Bakersville
Sugar Mountain Nursery & Landscape - Newland
Sugar Plum Farms - Plumtree
Sunnyside Tree Farm - Jefferson
The Great Fraser Fir Company - Linville
Tom Millers Tree Farm and Nursery - Laurel Springs
Top of the Mountain Christmas Trees - Glendale Springs
Touch of the Mountains - Elk Park Twin Oaks Christmas Tree Farm - Elk Park
West End Wreaths and Choose & Cut - West Jefferson

Can't get make a trip to the mountains but still want an NC Christmas tree? You may also order NC Christmas trees online direct from North Carolina Tree Farms:

Sugar Plum Tree Farm - North Carolina Fraser Fir Christmas trees, wreaths or decorations. Corporate orders welcome.
Appalachian Evergreens - Blue Ridge Mountain Fraser Firs, wreaths, centerpieces, garlands, Christmas CDs
Cartner Christmas Tree Farm - Fraser Fir Christmas Trees, wreaths and garlands
Cool Springs Nursery - Fraser Fir Christmas Trees, table top trees, wreaths, garlands
Top of the Mountain Christmas Trees - Premium grade Fraser Fir Christmas Trees, wreaths
Try-Lyn Plantation - Wreaths, greenery, swags and centerpieces 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire starts tomorrow at the Flat Rock Cinema

December 6, 2013 - The Flat Rock Cinema, 2700 Greenville Highway in Flat Rock NC - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire runs 12/6 -12 with show time 3:15 and 7 PM. This action, adventure SI-FI movie is rated PG13.

Directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a "Victor's Tour" of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) - a competition that could change Panem forever.

The Flat Rock Cinema is "your affordable, locally owned clean and friendly bistro cinema, featuring great food, cocktails and local brews." Tickets are $8 for all shows. Arrive 20-30 minutes early if you're planning on dining or have a group of 3 or more needing to sit together. Reservations are not required, but recommended for weekend openings. Seating begins 40 minutes prior to showtime.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Folk Art Center holds its Annual Christmas Crafts Sale

December  7 and 14    Guild Artist Holiday Sale    Held on two consecutive Saturdays at The Folk Art Center, Milepost 382 on The Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville. There will be a different group of craftspeople participating each Saturday. Find handcrafted jewelry, pottery, glass, fiber, wood and more by members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild with 10 - 50% off regular retail prices.

Over 50 artists will be participating over the course of the two sales, with a different group of artists each weekend. The annual holiday sale is an opportunity for artists to liquidate overstocks and 2013 items, try out new techniques, and sell studio seconds. And it provides buyers with exceptional Christmas and holiday gifts at the best prices of the year. 

Buying from artists supports the local economy and promotes the mission of the Southern Highland Craft Guild which is bringing together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the benefit of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation.The Southern Highland Craft Guild hosts daily craft demonstrations in the Folk Art Center lobby from March - December. Demonstration hours are 10 AM to 4 PM.  Visitors are invited to watch highly skilled craftspeople work and talk about their craft. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stories of Mountain Folk for the Week of 11/30/13

Stories of Mountain Folk is a weekly radio podcast sponsored by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia and archived in the library at Western Carolina University

Storytelling: Amy talks about “What Children See” and the tobacco trail in her family. Background music: “Mountain Woman Melody” by Ron Smith.

Creative Corner: Doreyl welcomes Norma Hendrix once more, who talks about the spirit of the fine arts, the students, and art teachers who make up Cullowhee Mountain Arts workshops. Music: “Here Comes the Sun” an “Acoustic Guitar” selection.

Stories of Mountain Folk: Amy’s guest is Patricia Hooper Cunningham from Cane Creek, her best friend when she was a teenager and lived nearby. They reminisce about their time together and what’s happened since.  Music: "Friends" by Keith Shuler.

Coming Around the Mountain: Sean continues his conversation with Aaron Marshall, Community Impact Award Winner from WCU. He shares his concept of service, individually and in the community.  Music: “The World’s Waiting for the Sunrise” by the Julie Nelms Band.

Stories of the Cherokee: Robert’s guest is Kathryn Littlejohn, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, who talks about her family's holiday celebrations, and what it was like growing up on the Qualla Boundary.  Music: “Cherokee” a selection featuring the Native American Flute.

Closing Song: "Old Friend ” by Terry Edwards.

Listen to this week's Stories of Mountain Folk HERE


Monday, December 2, 2013

See Santa Claus Climb the Chimney in Chimney Rock State Park

December 7   Santa on the Chimney    How is Santa able to climb down millions of chimneys around the world in a single night? He practices, of course. Witness Santa’s daring stunt as he practices on one of the world’s largest chimneys in Chimney Rock State Park (315 feet tall).

Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy live holiday music, complimentary hot cocoa, cookies and kids’ activities and see live critters. See why Chimney Rock was named one of “10 great places to catch up with Santa” by USA Today,

New this year:
Win a Free Climb with Santa’s Elves! Each day, one lucky guest will win FREE two-hour rock climbing lessons for two with Santa’s professional helpers, Fox Mountain Guides. You must be present to win the drawing. Learn more about rock climbing in Chimney Rock with Fox Mountain Guides.

Learn more about Chimney Rock State Park
and Chimney Rock NC HERE

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Annual Christmas Light Show a Spectatular Display

November 28 - January 1   High Country Lights   Northwest North Carolina's premier animated light show features over 100,000 lights choreographed to your favorite Christmas tunes on 96.5 FM. This free light show, hosted by Glade Creek Volunteer Fire Department, can be seen nightly starting at 6 PM Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. 6374 Glade Valley Road, Ennice NC. 

This remarkable light display has been the winner of "Best Animated" on the Tacky Light Tour for the last two years and promised to be no less spectacular for 2013. With 1000s of blinking lights the display uses LED technology on a large scale producing dynamic colors and using 80% less electricity.

Planning and preparation takes place all year long for this 100% volunteer, privately funded event. All donations made by appreciative viewers go to the local fire department for the support of community needs.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tree Fest and Christmas Miniatures Art Exhibit Begins Today in West Jefferson

November 25 - December 27    Tree Fest and Christmas Miniatures Art Exhibit    Beautifully decorated trees with handcrafted ornaments, holiday crafts, gift items and miniature paintings and photography. The gallery shop is also full of handmade ornaments available for purchase. An
Artist reception will be held December 6 from 5-8 PM.

The Ashe County Arts Council sponsors local arts and crafts events throughout the year including both visual arts and performing arts.

Get a link for the Tree Fest, the Ashe County Arts Council and other local event, attractions and lodging on the West Jefferson NC Guide.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Grove Park Inn Hosts Thanksgiving Celebration

November 26 - December 28   Thanksgiving Celebration at the Grove Park Inn   Enjoy elegant and lavish buffets in addition to The Macy's Day parade and football games on the big screen, plus live music throughout the resort.

Other weekend activities include The National Gingerbread House Competition™ display, the traditional tree-lighting ceremony and even a visit from Santa.  Bring your family and friends and enjoy a truly classic holiday weekend at The Omni Grove Park Inn.

The Omni Grove Park Inn includes a renowned spa, scenic golf course, sports complex with pool, tennis, racquetball, training. Onsite restaurants, lounge, bars. A large variety of rooms and suites, varying stages of updates with some original Inn antiques.  See current BEST rates with lowest rate guarantee or book online now  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waynesville Holiday Open House

November 24   Holiday Open House   Spend the afternoon enjoying the sights, scents and sounds as the holiday season begins in festively decorated shops and galleries. Enjoy holiday music offered by area Church groups and elementary school choruses. Visit with Santa as he strolls the sidewalks and sample tasty refreshments offered by the local bed & breakfasts on the Cookie Tour.

Get links for complete visitor information on the Waynesville NC Guide 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Santa's Gift Shop and Food Drive in Franklin

November 29 -30  Macon County CareNet has joined with Santa's Gift Shop for a food drive to help replenish the stock at the CareNet Food Pantry. The Drive will be held at the annual Santa's Gift Shop at the Macon County Community Facilities Building on Hwy 441 S (Georgia Rd) in Franklin NC.  $1.00 admission OR 1 non-perishable food item to be donated to CareNet.

Santa’s Gift Shop is MV Craft Shows Christmas themed show. Come get in the Christmas shopping mood with  festive decorations, music and a jolly atmosphere. In addition to their usual great crafts, the vendors will also display Christmas themed crafts such as decorations, clothing, baked goods and lots of great gifts. Santa himself will also be present to visit with kids of all ages.

CareNet was founded in 1988 by a group of local people who attended different churches but wanted to come together to form an alliance between their churches and other groups who provided assistance to the community. Their goal was to better serve the community in times of crisis and to do so by working from one central location.

Since then CareNet has opened a thrift store, in 1997, to aid in the funding of their services and has also created more than 10 programs to help the local community.

Get links for lodging, attractions and local information on the Franklin NC Guide.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Small Business Saturday in Saluda

November 30 -  The 4th Annual Saluda Small Business Saturday.  This year's event, falls between black Friday and cyber Monday on Thanksgiving weekend. Created in 2009 to recognize small businesses as the heart of the American economy,  Small Business Saturday has become a boon to independent retailers. Last year over 100 million consumers came together in cities across the country to "shop small" and celebrate all that small local businesses do for their communities.

Saluda NC perfectly represents "small town USA"
with a Main Street comprised entirely of small independent businesses. "Just like good wine reflects the flavor of the grapes in the region where they are grown, local small businesses reflect the beauty and character of their communities. By supporting our individual entrepreneurs, we maintain and enhance the beauty and unique characteristics of our community and our quality of life. When we choose to buy our food from regional farmers and support local independent businesses over corporate conglomerates we contribute to the health of our community, and our world" said local art gallery owner Shelley DeKay of Heartwood Gallery.

Saluda's century-old buildings are now home to art studios and craft galleries, gift shops, wine shops, baked goods, restaurants and general merchandise. Whether you spend the day or the entire weekend you will refresh and renew in the comfort of the small town pleasures still alive - and well - and living in Saluda NC.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Grove Park Inn Hosts National Gingerbread House Competition

November 20 - January 2   The National Gingerbread House Competition and Display    Contestants from across the country bring their architectural masterpieces to The Grove Park Inn for display over the holidays. Delight in the imagination shown in these sugar-and-spice creations, strolling through the competition is a sure way to be swept up in the holiday spirit. 

There is no admission charge to view the entries to the National Gingerbread House Competition. In addition to the gingerbread display, see the beautiful holiday decorations throughout the Grove Park Inn and warm by the giant fireplaces in the grand lobby. Pick up a map in the lobby to find the various areas where the gingerbread entries are displayed.

The Omni Grove Park Inn includes a renowned spa, scenic golf course, sports complex with pool, tennis, racquetball, training. Onsite restaurants, lounge, bars. A large variety of rooms and suites, varying stages of updates with some original Inn antiques.  See current BEST rates with lowest rate guarantee or book online now  

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown Presents a Disney Favorite

November 15 - 24   Disney's Mulan Jr   at the Playhouse Downtown, 125 S Main Street in historic Hendersonville NC. Join the YouTheatre students as they present a heartwarming celebration of culture, honor and a fighting spirit.

Based on the hit Disney movie and set in ancient China, this story of adventure, courage and bravery is one for all ages. The story begins as Mulan’s big day with the village Matchmaker is wrecked by her nervousness, thereby dishonoring her family. When her Father, Fa Zhou, is unexpectedly called to the army, Mulan’s adventure begins.

Get links for complete local information on the Hendersonville NC Visitor Guide

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stories of Mountain Folk for the week of 11-9-13

Stories of Mountain Folk is a weekly podcast produced by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia and archived in the Hunter Library Digital Collection at Western Carolina University.
November 9, 2013 -

Storytelling: In her story “The Second Floor Attic,” Amy shares a story about her family when they lived at the old Hooper House on Chastine Road in Tuckasegee in the ‘50s. Background music: “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” by Chet Atkins

Creative Corner: Doreyl’s guest is Tim Muth from the Green Energy Park in Dillsboro who tells about what they do at the park, and about exercising the creative spirit.  Music: “Little Dew Drop” by the Butterpats.

Stories of Mountain Folk: Once more Amy welcomes Marcella Huguelet of Sylva, who in this interview tells some humorous stories about her legendary uncle—Doctor John Painter (Doc Painter) of Sylva.  Music: "Angels Unaware" by The Cockman Family.

Stories of the Cherokee: Robert’s guest is Brandon Stephens (who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee) who talks about his experiences as a Cherokee Indian growing up in Jackson County.  Music: “Ant Dance” by Bo Taylor.

Closing Song: "The Whup of Love” by the Andy Statman Band.

To Listen to this week's Stories of Mountain Folk, CLICK HERE

Holiday Events: Murphy Hometown Christmas

November 15 - 16   Murphy Hometown Christmas Celebration  The Celebration begins at 6 PM with a tree lighting ceremony, music and entertainment. Shopping day will be Saturday, November 16th, complete with Santa strolling around town and merchants offering incentives to shoppers such as sales, snacks, etc.

Murphy North Carolina, the county seat of Cherokee County, has the distinction of being known as both the first and last town in North Carolina, depending on which way you're going, of course. Murphy began as an Indian trading post called Huntersville, then Huntington, and finally was named after Archibald D. Murphy, who was a state senator and an advocate of education in Western North Carolina.

Cherokee County, is a special place in the southwestern corner of North Carolina where the forested mountains touch the sky, the lakes sparkle, the air is crisp and clean, and the charm of small town America still exists. Learn more about Murphy NC HERE.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

North Carolina Author Jean Frady Book Signing

November 24, 2 PM - 4 PM at the Tuckasegee Baptist Church Fellowship Hall in Tuckasegee, NC  Jean Frady will sign copies of her new book, “Going Home—Living in Green Pastures”.
In 2011 Jean Frady sat down to write the story of her life at the age of 84,  “God Will Make A Way.” At that point, Jean’s husband, Cecil, was 83. Living in Tuckasegee, North Carolina the two had spent many years of life together. When Jean started the book, she had a deep desire to finish the book as soon as possible, for Cecil was very ill, and he desired to see the book completed. She also intended to give the book to her children for Christmas.

Just in time for the holidays, the book came out, and Jean’s first book signing was conducted in January, 2012 at the Tuckasegee Baptist Church in the small community of Tuckasegee. Throngs of people came,and all of the books were sold, plus. A smiling Cecil was there to see the happiness on Jean’s face. What a glorious thing! From that time on until he passed away in July 2012, he always kept her book next to his Bible.

And now, in her new book, “Going Home—Living in Green Pastures,” Jean is sharing her tribute to a husband and minister who was not only God’s man, but the people’s man...a man who loved above all else. Her second book signing, this one for the new book, will once again be held at the Tuckasegee Baptist Church Fellowship Hall in Tuckasegee, NC, on Sunday afternoon, November 24, 2013, from 2—4pm. Refreshments will be served. 

-submitted by Amy Ammons Garza

Holiday Events: Annual Holiday Parade in West Jefferson

November 16   Annual Holiday Parade   This year's theme is "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow." Locals Bands, Dance Groups, Churches, Businesses, Fire/Rescue Trucks, Police Cars & more participate in the Parade each year. Santa will be there as well! Come be part of this annual community event to kick off the Holidays.

Learn more about West Jefferson NC HERE.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Flat Rock Playhouse Presents Disney's Mulan Jr

November 15 - 24   Disney's Mulan Jr   at the Playhouse Downtown. Join the Flat Rock Playhouse YouTheatre students as they present a heartwarming celebration of culture, honor and a fighting spirit.

Based on the hit Disney movie and set in ancient China, this story of adventure, courage and bravery is one for all ages. The story begins as Mulan’s big day with the village Matchmaker is wrecked by her nervousness, thereby dishonoring her family. When her Father, Fa Zhou, is unexpectedly called to the army, Mulan’s adventure begins.

Get a link for Disney's Mulan Jr and other local  events and information on the Hendersonville NC Guide.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Veterans Day Weekend events in the Mountains

Date: November 8 - December 29
Event: The Polar Express at The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Journey to the North Pole via the Polar Express to pick up Santa all the while enjoying caroling, cookies, and cocoa - and for those who truly believe; a silver bell just like in the book. Kids of all ages will believe in the magic of ...read more or get a link

Date: November 9 - January 4, 2014
Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore Explore Biltmore House during holiday evenings when candles and fireplaces fill the grand home with a warm glow, accenting delicate ornaments and priceless treasures with metallic shine and sparkle, and music warms the heart. Your evening admission includes: a Reserved evening visit of Biltmore House, Daytime access to Biltmore Gardens and...read more or get a link

November 9
Event: Black Cat Station Open House
Black Cat Station is home of a large "H.O." Scale Model Railroad operating many trains at one time. The facility also hosts many cultural events and private parties. 10 AM - 2 PM. 
Date: November 9
Tryon Beer Fest -
Tap into Tryon Held from noon until 8 PM in the Tryon Depot Plaza. Enjoy a variety of the finest craft beers from around the country, including some local ones. An array of ‘craft’ beers will be chilled, ready for sampling. Full servings of beer will be available for sale. Authentic German fare will be available from Occasions Catering including Kielbasas, Bratwurst, Bavarian sauerkraut, and
...read more or get a link 

November 9
Event: End of Harvest Barn Dance at Leatherwood Mountains
Local bands will come to Leatherwood Mountains to play NC contra music. The covered pavilion will be set up for an evening of dancing. Cover charge $10 with a can of food for the hungry, $15 if you don’t contribute food. All donations will go to...read more or get a link

Date: November 9
Event: Community Bonfire
Held at 8 PM at the Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria. Come cozy up around the fire as you roast s’mores, drink cider and cocoa and sing along to the rhythm of the guitar string. Free food, beverages, and music ...read more or get a link

November 9 - 10
Event: Foothills Holiday Arts and Craft Show
The area’s best talent will be showcased for two days of art and crafts including oil, pastel and watercolor paintings, drawings, wood and metal works, textile arts, jewelry and much more. Commercial vendors are not allowed at this event. You’ll find regional ...read more or get a link

November 9 - 10
Event: River Arts District Studio Stroll
The first, largest, and most walkable tour of working artists' studios in the region, the River Arts District Studio Stroll takes place in 19 historic buildings along the French Broad River. There will be artists' demonstrations and hands-on activities throughout ...read more or get a link

November 11
Event: Veteran's Day Parade
11 AM in downtown Franklin.  ...read more or get a link

November 11
NC City: Columbus
Veteran's Day Celebration 2NC Mounted Infantry pays tribute to Veterans with a Parade and Service....read more or get a link

Find more NC mountain events and festivals
on the Events Calendar

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Holiday Event:Annual Van Wingerden Open House

November 9   Van Wingerden International Open House   From 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM you'll find acres of poinsettias in full bloom with employees on hand to share how the plants are grown using environmental friendly technology as well as answer your questions.

The greenhouses are located on Highway 191 (Haywood Road) in Mills River NC. See the ocean of Christmas Poinsettias and other flowering plants before they are shipped to retail stores for the holidays. There will also be live music, educational displays, and refreshments. 

Mills River is located between Asheville and Hendersonville

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Beech Mountain Resort Prepares for Ski Season

New for Beech Mountain's 2013-14 Ski Season will be 12 new SMI Super PoleCat snow guns, upping their system to 40 total SMI guns. This gives Beech Mountain the most sophisticated snow making system available today. The addition is part of on-going efforts to expand and upgrade snow making capabilities and will provide the capability to produce more snow than ever before, and produce it more efficiently. The end result is a more enjoyable experience for skiers and snowboarders.

Another new feature at Beech Mountain is the spectacular skybar, providing food and beverage service at the top of the mountain. This newly-constructed facility has been named "5506", paying tribute to the elevation that gives Beech Mountain the title of highest ski area in eastern America. Step off the chairlift and into a cozy, glass roundhouse, where you can enjoy food, drinks and snacks in comfort. Be sure to check out the large deck, with beautiful panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

One of the key operational improvements at Beech Mountain is the streamlining of hours of operation. Skiers and snowboarders will now be able to enjoy the slopes on a continuous basis from daytime to night time without sessions breaks. Sunday through Thursday, the resort's operating hours will be 9 AM-9 PM with no session break. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, the resort will operate from 9 AM to 10 PM with no session break. The streamlined hours allow a longer and more enjoyable experience for our customers.

Get a link for more details about Beech Mountain Resort on the NC Ski Resort Guide