BEECH MOUNTAIN, N.C. - With a new calendar year here and cold weather in the forecast, many people elect to put off vacations until spring break. But those people are missing out on skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice-skating, a brewery and more just up the road.
"Beech Mountain is the highest incorporated town east of the Rockies," former Beech Mountain Mayor Fred Pfohl told wsbtv.com's Nelson Hicks. "Our elevation at the highest point is 5,506 (feet). Because of that elevation, it makes us unique in a lot of ways. That's why there's a ski resort on top of Beech Mountain."
Pfohl started working in Beech Mountain 47 years ago. He opened Fred's General Mercantile, a quaint shop with a little bit of everything, including a restaurant, in 1979 and was the first elected mayor of the town back in 1981. He served for eight years.
Beech Mountain Resort includes 17 trails across 95 ski-able acres. There's an 830-foot vertical drop and the mountain includes three green trails, seven blues, four black diamonds and a couple of freestyle hills.
"Just looking for a good weekend getaway and we had a couple of birthdays to celebrate with the family and came up to teach them how to ski,' Greg Wrenn said. Wrenn is from Dalton and has visited the area before.
While Wrenn was helping his family perfect the art of skiing, there's a ski school at Beech Mountain to help those just getting started, too.
The ski season runs from last November to late March each year. And while Mother Nature typically dishes out over 7 feet of snow in the area each season, the snowmaking machines handle the rest. So no matter the pursuit, be it taking a leisurely ski down the mountain or doing tricks off the ramps on a snowboard, there's plenty of snow to accommodate.
"A lot of fun, a lot of things to do, no shortage of activities, a lot of active people doing a lot of fun things," is how Kent Goode described the area. Goode, a former Marietta resident, said he first started coming to Beech Mountain in 1968. And he's been coming back ever since. That makes Goode one of Beech Mountain's first visitors as the 2017-2018 ski season marks the resort's 50th anniversary.
Most people visit for the skiing and snowboarding, but there are plenty of other activities for anyone in the family who doesn't ski. There's ice skating on the 7,000 square-foot ice-skating ring and tubing at the mountain on the 750-foot, eight lane track. There's a free sledding hill in town for kids and there are plenty of beer options for adults.
"We have the Beech Mountain Brewing Company, we own and operate our own brewery," Taila Freeman from Beech Mountain Resort said. "We also have the Beech Tree Bar and Grille. We have shops, coffee shops, dining, basically, the whole shabang. If you're a skier, we've got it for you. If you're not a skier, there's plenty to do. And we certainly have a lot of events, live music and activities for the whole family."
The brewery features a seven-barrel system and the 5506' Skybar on top of Beech Mountain offers a scenic spot to sample one or two.
Other offerings in the area include a dozen quaint restaurants; enjoy a drink at the outdoor fire bar at Mile High Tavern, a scrumptious Southern dish at Beech Mountain Grille, or grab some pizza and dessert at the Famous Brick Oven Restaurant.
And when the weather turns warm, the fun doesn't end. There's mountain biking down Beech Mountain, disc golf, hiking and the brewery remains open.
The area offers a totally '80s ski weekend in late February and 30 days of organized family activities every June.
WSBTV.com visited Beech Mountain on a trip provided to members of the media by Beech Mountain Tourism Development Authority (TDA) and Beech Mountain Resort. The trip was provided for those interested in reviewing the area.
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