alpine skiing

A quick guide to hitting the slopes in the High Country

It definitely feels a lot like winter! Or should we say looks a lot like winter? Over the weekend winter storm Diego dropped nearly two feet of snow on the high country in less than 24 hours. I think we actually managed to break a few winter weather records. Jim Cantore, from the Weather Channel, even made an appearance in Boone, NC just to cover the storm! Now that Diego has passed the roads are clear, yet massive mounds of snow still flank the sidewalks and blanket the mountains. All the fresh powder made conditions just right for skiing and snowboarding. Which got us thinking… when did winter sports become so popular in the mountains of western North Carolina? So we did a little digging, we learned a few things, and then we put together a quick guide to hitting the slopes in the high country. Read on to learn more.

When did skiing and snowboarding become popular in western NC?

Winter sports date back to the early 1950s in the mountains of western North Carolina. During those days, Boone and surrounding areas saw more snow on average each year than we do now. In fact, so much snow fell in the high country that there were even a few companies that would take you out snowshoeing or cross country skiing! Unfortunately, these days we don’t get quite enough snow to support entire businesses dedicated to leading regular cross country ski treks. Needless to say, we do get enough snow to support a thriving alpine skiing and snowboarding industry!


With the help of snow-making, we get just enough snow each year to keep our slopes blanketed from roughly November to March. Of course, some years the season starts earlier, and some years it lasts a little longer. It’s all weather dependent. It wasn’t until the ‘60s that the industry really took off, and there’s no denying that it’s made a positive impact on our economy ever since. It’s even grown to include things like ice-skating and snow tubing!


Where to ski, snowboard, or snow tube in Boone, NC?

Appalachian Ski Mountain is roughly 18 minutes (6 miles) from The Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge.

Sugar Mountain is roughly 24 minutes (14 miles) from The Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge.

Beech Mountain is roughly 42 minutes (22 miles) from The Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge.

Hawksnest Snow Tubing is roughly 25 minutes (13 miles) from The Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge.

Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park is roughly 35 minutes (23 miles) from The Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge.

How to make the most out of your winter getaway!

1. Dress right!

There’s nothing worse than being unprepared for the elements. Make sure to layer up. It’s going to be a lot colder than you think when you get out on the slopes. Worried that you don’t have the right gear? Many of our ski resorts have on site shops where you can rent or purchase gear. You can also check out some local offerings in Footsloggers or Mast General Store, both located in downtown Boone, NC. Because trust me, you will find use for that nice pair of socks you invest in throughout the rest of winter… on the slopes and off the slopes!


2. Eat lots of good food!

There’s no reason why you can’t fuel up properly before hitting the slopes. There are plenty of wonderful restaurants throughout the high country. No matter where your final destination is, you’re sure to find something great along the way. One of our favorite places to grab a bite and a beer after a chilly day on the slopes is Coyote Kitchen. Ask for their housemade hot sauces – they’re sure to warm you up!


3. Choose a cozy “home-base.”

Of course we want you to stay with us at The Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge! At the end a long day you’ll receive a warm welcome when you walk into our lobby, you’ll slip past the crackling fire…maybe you’ll head to the bar and grab a hot toddy. You’ll take the elevator up to your room, then you’ll take a steamy, hot shower… or maybe you’ll soak in the elegant clawfoot foot tub in Suite 12. Perhaps you’ll request a diffuser, and a custom essential oil blend will help you relax. Then you’ll climb into bed, slipping between silky white sheets. You’ll wake up the next morning invigorated – ready to do it all over again!


Book a winter getaway at the Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge!

We hope you make it up the mountain at least once this winter to experience the magic of snow in the high country. Whether you do all the winter sports, or whether you prefer to sit back and sip hot cocoa by a roaring fire, there’s just something so special about snow this time of year. And we’re so glad it’s still sticking around!

Can’t wait for the Horton to open? Well, we can’t wait either…trust me! In the meantime, sign up for our email list so that you can stay in the loop. Plus you’ll be the first to hear about all sorts of exclusive offers and special packages… there may even be a snow package in the works! Even though we haven’t declared an exact grand opening date, we ARE accepting reservations for 2019! Click here to book now, and plan your late winter getaway today.

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