Thursday, December 12, 2013

Youth Sledding Hill on Beech is Open Daily All Winter

Press Release
by Craig Distl

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 & 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 they're available for rent and 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:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beech Mountain Resort Opens November 29

File Photo

We are at 12 degrees at 8:30 a.m. with snow flurries, putting us in the mood for playing in the snow and getting those crystal clear mountain views.  It is a magical time that we only see about 3 months out of the year and look forward to it returning this year.

Beech Mountain Resort has been gearing up to this season by testing their 40 pole cat snow guns and already have snow building up in preparation for their opening day ... November 29, 2013; the day after Thanksgiving!

Don't have Thanksgiving plans yet?  Want to plan a short time away to enjoy what only the High Country can provide?  Come to Beech Mountain for a few days, a few weeks or whatever time you have to experience the wonders of our area.  To get you in the mood, watch the winter video of our area.

Looking forward to seeing you on Beech Mountain - the coolest town around.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bar None: Beech Mountain Resort Unveils Highest Ski Bar in East

Press Release
Craig Distl

In addition to skiing Eastern America's highest slopes, visitors to Beech Mountain Resort can now enjoy the highest ski bar in the East.

This winter marks the debut of "5,506" - a glass roundhouse named for Beech Mountain's superlative elevation.

The facility was built by Umbrella Bars USA of Vermont and offers food and beverage service in heated comfort surrounded by glass panels. Furthermore, "5,506" sits on a new observation deck which is ideal for relaxing with friends and enjoying the view.

"The cool thing is that it provides a break for skiers and snowboarders to rest at the top of the mountain and get a completely different perspective on skiing in North Carolina than what has been offered in the past," said Ryan Costin, the resort's general manager.

The new facility allows patrons to take off their equipment and enjoy food and drinks inside the bar or at outside tables. It includes restrooms, which should be a big hit.

"This concept is not uncommon in the industry, but hasn't been pursued much in North Carolina and the Southeast," Costin said. "It's generated a buzz. Everybody wanted to know what was going on at the top of the mountain."

Beech Mountain has also increased its snowmaking ability by adding 12 new SMI Super PoleCat snow guns, upping the resort's arsenal to 40 of the super high-tech guns. They work in conjunction with dozens of smaller guns to cover the slopes more effectively than ever before.

"It has shortened our window to produce snow by almost 50 percent from where we were 4-5 years ago," said Costin. "We are able to open terrain at a quicker pace than we ever have."

Those snowmaking upgrades will especially benefit the Oz slope on the mountain's back side. There are now four PoleCats in place on the west-facing Oz run, a favorite of many skiers.

Another big change for the 2013-14 season is the streamlining of operating hours. BMR eliminated its daily session break, keeping the slopes open in the transition from day to night. "It gives us a consistent ski day with no break," said Costin.

New operating hours are 9am to 9pm, Monday thru Thursday; and 9am to 10pm Fridays, Saturdays and holidays.

For more info, visit:, or call (800) 438-2093.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall in the High Country ... a Beech Mountain favorite

It is Fall in the high country area of the North Carolina mountains that we call home.  My favorite time of year!  The air gets cooler, vistas become clearer and the pace of life settles down enough to be able to enjoy it all.  Our native creatures on Beech Mountain also seem to prefer this time of year, with less traffic and people milling around the mountain and taking more time to forage for food while it is still abundant and the snows have not yet made it harder to find it.  The buck deer, in particular, are showing up more often as the rutting season approaches.  This is the time of year we see the largest of the bucks, chasing the does through our yard and all over the rest of the mountain, to sustain their herd.  

The grouse also can be seen and heard, sifting through the now dried leaves and calling out to others with their distinctive cry that only our ravens have been able to duplicate.

Quite opposite of what you would expect, as we approach Thanksgiving, the turkey seem to be showing up in larger numbers than any other time of the year.  We have a white one in our neighborhood that shows up with a group of about 21 and will even form their own group to march down our street as if they are rehearsing for an upcoming holiday parade.

I would like to thank my friend, Kim Barley, for providing me with these 
exceptional pictures of our local black bears.  

The bears have been very prevalent all year this year and many have sighted them all over the mountain.  For those who have not, I'm sure most have seen evidence of their visits in the form of overturned trash bins and trashed strewn across streets, yards and up/down into the woods.  Another reminder to those who live, visit or frequent our area to PLEASE be careful in how you dispose of trash, food and drinks on Beech Mountain.  Bears WILL get into ANYTHING if there is food and/or drink of any kind within the space.  Most of the time it is a trash bin that someone has put trash in for pickup the next morning (or days away from the next trash pickup day).  PLEASE NOTE:  if you are putting out trash for collection, please do not do so until the morning of trash pickup.  That may require you to set your alarm to get it out but it will lessen the likelihood that a bear will get into the bin,... AND THEY WILL GET INTO IT..., before our waste management people do.  Anyone familiar with our bears and their appetites will tell you if a bear on Beech Mountain wants to get to the food contained within anything, it WILL get in.  That includes vehicles.  There have been at least two pickup trucks that were scratched up by bears that wanted the trash and, in one case, recycled oil that was in the process of being transported to the proper location.  There were also a few vehicles that were left partially open with food or drinks in them and a bear did great damage to those vehicles to get at the source.  Although I have not heard of any vehicles that had food or drink left in that were locked up tight getting broken into, it is a good practice to remove anything from a vehicle that may attract bears.  This is especially true of truck beds, open Jeeps and vehicles with soft cover roofs.

Come visit Beech Mountain to enjoy all of the many wonders we have to offer, including watching the deer, grouse, bear, bunnies, fox, groundhog, turkey, the many varieties of birds and all animals.  Bike, hike, take in the huge views only available at 3200' - 5506' and enjoy our many restaurants and shopping.  There is a lot to see so plan on staying at least overnight to get the greatest experience.  We look forward to seeing you and meeting our new friends.  Don't forget to wave to us...we are very friendly folk and welcome you with open arms.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Press Release
by Mary Alice Holley, BC/DC Ideas
Eligible Private Landowners Will Have Opportunities to Receive Financial Incentives by Participating in Program

Audubon North Carolina (ANC) will soon reach out to 77 private landowners across Avery County to encourage them to protect and restore priority bird habitats, while simultaneously helping landowners enhance their property in cost-effective and sustainable ways. ANC staff will work to educate landowners on what they can do to enhance their land for Golden-winged Warblers, and work to enroll them in incentive programs with partner programs.
Western North Carolina, because of its elevational range and forested landscape, is an important destination for Golden-winged Warblers to nest each year. The warbler has been petitioned for listing as an endangered species due to its rapid range-wide decline, making the nesting areas in North Carolina crucial for protection and ongoing maintenance.  Audubon has mapped privately owned land in Western North Carolina that contains preferred habitats for the species, in hopes of working with eligible landowners to protect and maintain the area for long-term sustainability. Landowners who meet certain criteria to participate in the program will be notified with a letter from an ANC representative in the next few weeks.   
“As the bird people for our state, ANC has crafted an approach to forest management that protects and restores habitats for birds, while simultaneously helping landowners enhance their property in cost-effective ways,” says Audubon Conservation Biologist Erin McCombs

Erin.McCombs.jpg“We are excited to develop these partnerships with local communities and their citizens across Western North Carolina in an effort to sustain the Golden-winged Warbler and North Carolina’s beautiful landscapes.”

The program will offer training opportunities, management plans and demonstration sites in order to work with private landowners to support environmentally sound practices, especially those that benefit native birds. Landowners who have been identified will receive a letter in the mail in the coming weeks detailing how they can learn more about participating in the program, and how they can receive land management support that will create these specialized habitats. For more information about Audubon North Carolina and the working lands initiative visit our webpage.
About Audubon North Carolina
With a century of conservation history in North Carolina, Audubon strives to conserve and restore the habitats we share with all wildlife, focusing on the needs of birds.Audubon North Carolina achieves its mission through a blend of science-based research and conservation, education and outreach, and advocacy. Audubon North Carolina has offices in Corolla, Boone, Wilmington and Chapel Hill.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Top-5 Artist Randy Houser Headlines Beech Music Fest, Sept. 8

News Release
by Craig Distl

Randy Houser, a rising star in country music, headlines the inaugural Mile High Music Fest on Sunday, September 8th, at Beech Mountain Resort.

Houser is one of three acts performing at the first-year festival, which will transform the slopes of the ski resort into a natural amphitheater capable of seating several thousand people.

Organizers expect a big turnout because Houser is assured of rolling into Beech Mountain next month with one of the top singles and top albums on the Billboard country music charts.

His current hit, "Runnin' Outta Moonlight," is No. 3 on the latest country singles chart and received the most airplay last week of any country single in the U.S. It is the second Top-10 hit on the album, How Country Feels, which has been on the charts for 27 weeks and peaked at No. 3.

Houser, a Nashville resident and Mississippi native, is no stranger to the top of the charts. His 2008 debut album produced two Top-20 singles, while his second album, released in 2009, climbed all the way to No. 8 on the album charts.

Joining Houser at the Mile High Music Fest are two high-energy bands well known to followers of Americana and bluegrass - Donna the Buffalo and Sons of Bluegrass.

Donna the Buffalo is a five-person band fronted by Tara Nevins. The band has been at it since 1989, providing their followers - nicknamed The Herd - with feel-good, groove-oriented music all up and down the East Coast. The New York band features a soulful and electric Americana sound infused with elements of zydeco, rock, folk, reggae and country.

Sons of Bluegrass, heralded as one of the best up-and-coming bluegrass groups in the country, is comprised entirely of majors from the four-year bluegrass music program at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., just over the mountain from Beech.

Tickets for the Mile High Music Fest, presented by the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce, are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate and available at

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Come Fly a Kite During 11th Annual Festival on Sept. 1

Press Release
by Craig Distl

            BEECH MOUNTAIN, N.C. – It’s easy as pie to fly a kite a mile high this Labor Day weekend on Beech Mountain – all you need is a couple hundred feet of string.
            The 11th annual Mile High Kite Festival takes place Sunday, Sept. 1, in the Beech town meadow. Located at more than 5,000 feet in elevation, the high-altitude meadow makes it easy for children of all ages to sail their kites up to a mile above sea level.

            The festival includes kite-flying music and announcing provided by Terry Murray and Will Smoot of the Richmond Air Force Kite Club from Virginia. Prizes will be awarded for the biggest kite, smallest kite and best decorated kite.
            Meanwhile, all festival participants receive an official certificate from town mayor Rick Owen that proclaims: “I flew a kite a mile high on Beech Mountain.”
            Don’t have a kite? Fret not. There will be kites for sale, and the first 300 kids (12 and under) receive a free one. Folks who have kites are welcome to bring their own.
            Other activities include races with kids pulling parachute kites, face painting, and a variety of craft and food vendors.

            Ample room is available for everyone, plus there’s a reserved field for demos from the Wings Across Carolina Kiting and Okra Society (WACKOS) and the Richmond Air Force.
            “We like to float the idea to come up and make a weekend of it,” says event organizer Calder Smoot. “Folks can bring their dogs and enter them in our annual dog show Saturday, and then attend an all-ages street dance Saturday night before enjoying the Sunday kite festival.”
            The festival is sponsored by the Beech Mountain Chamber and the two kite clubs. Hours for the Mile High Kite Festival are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there’s no charge for admission.
            Dog lovers should make plans to attend BJ’s Dog Show, named for long-time town employee B.J. Hughes. The show is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Bark Park, adjacent to the town meadow. Entry fee is $20 for one dog and $30 for two dogs, with spectators admitted free.

            There will be certificates and prizes for winning dogs, while all furry friends receive a ribbon of participation.

            For information, call the Beech Mountain Visitors Center at (800) 468-5506.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Magic Cycles Opens New Location at Beech to Provide Bike Rentals

Press Release
by Craig Distl

To fulfill the need for bike rentals at Beech Mountain Resort’s new mountain bike park, Boone-based Magic Cycles has opened a shop in the ski village.

Michael Boone, owner of Magic Cycles, jumped at the opportunity to expand to Beech Mountain this summer when he learned the resort would provide regular lift access to its new downhill trails, and to the town’s Emerald Outback trails.

“We’ve been anxious for somebody to open a bike park at one of the ski slopes and Beech Mountain really made the commitment to outfit their lift and build trails,” said Boone, who opened his shop in downtown Boone in 1993. “We’ve seen the need for that for quite some time.”

Since early June, Magic Cycles’ satellite location has operated from leased space at Ski Beech Sports at the base of the trails. Riders may rent downhill or cross country bikes, depending on which trail system they plan to ride. They can also rent helmets and body armor, while buying lift passes at Ski Beech Sports.

“I just ordered seven more bikes recently and we will probably double the size of our rental fleet next year,” Boone said. “Business has gotten better and better every weekend. I think by the end of summer we’ll see a big demand from visitors coming to ride the trails.”

Boone said his primary customers so far have been cyclists who’ve ridden cross-country trails before and are excited to take the chairlift up and try downhill trails.

“I’m thrilled with the quality of the trails. The trail builders are out there adding new stuff weekly,” explained Boone. “They have done a good job developing something for the beginner and intermediate riders, as well as the advanced and pro riders.”

Boone is also excited about further development of the Emerald Outback trails, which are maintained by the Town of Beech Mountain. The town recently received a grant to improve and expand the Emerald Outback.

"That will make those trails a destination. They’re a little rooty for your beginning rider, but when they get some of that cleared out, it will become a destination for riders in the Southeast,” said Boone. “To be able to offer cross country riding up at that elevation is something I think will really explode. A lot of people from down off the mountain are going to find their way up here in the summer months when it’s so hot in Charlotte and everywhere else.”

Magic Cycles on Beech Mountain is open every FridaySaturday and Sunday through September. Hours are: Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and weekends from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For bike rentals or more info, call (828) 387-2733 or click on the Magic Cycles at Beech Mountain link.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

XTERRA North Carolina Series Comes to Beech July 27

Press Release
Contributed by Craig Distl

Trail runners of all ages and abilities are invited to Beech Mountain on Saturday, July 27th, for the XTERRA North Carolina 15K/5K Trail Run.

This is a great off-road running experience for any runner wishing to "ditch the city" and traverse a mountaintop of single track and double track trails.

Although the race starts on pavement the town of Beech Mountain, it quickly heads off road and into the woods. The course is comprised of varied terrain, including: rolling hills, uphill climbs, rooty forests and some technical sections.

The race is organized by Dirty Spokes Productions of Dacula, Ga., Dirty Spokes produces trail races, mountain bike races and off-road duathlons across the Southeast.

The top three overall male and female finishers at Beech will receive medals and prizes.

Medals will also be awarded in the following male and female age divisions: 14-under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, and 70-and-up.

Entry fee for the 15K is $35 per person through July 18; and $40 from July 19-26. Race day entry is $45.

Entry fee for the 5K is $25 per person through July 18; and $30 from July 19-26. Race day registration is $45.

Beech Mountain is a ski resort town, so plenty of lodging is available. Additionally, runners and their families are eligible for a 15 percent discount on lodging at Pinnacle Inn Resort.

For complete race details, visit For lodging info, call (800) 468-5506.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bark Park Cleanup Day

This Sunday, June 30th, is a volunteer work day to cleanup the Bark Park, beginning at 11:00 a.m.  Bring gloves and hand tools.  There are a lot of rocks that are getting in the way of the lawn mowers.  Also, there is dirt to be spread and seeds to be planted.  Give as little or as much time as you can to help this non-profit park, which benefits all of the visitors to, and residents of, Beech Mountain.

A few people have worked hard to get this park what it is today and is in a beautiful location.  Let's help them keep it that way.  Come on out and have some fun for a very worthy cause!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Emerald Outback to Host USA 10km Trail Championships

News Release
Submitted by Craig Distl

The USA 10km Trail Championships will be held on Beech Mountain's Emerald Outback trail system this June 29.

These national championships, officially sanctioned by USA Track & Field, move to Beech Mountain this summer after a four-year stint in Laurel Springs, N.C. The races are designed to challenge the country's best 10-kilometer trail runners in a variety of age groups.

Race director Jason Bryant of Mountain Goat Racing in Elkin, N.C., chose the Emerald Outback for its topography, elevation (5,400 feet) and unique terrain. He believes the trail system will be an excellent proving ground for determining the top runners in the nation.

"Running - like life - should be about a challenge," Bryant said. "And that's what this race is. It's a chance to challenge yourself in a beautiful mountain setting."

The championships are open to all male and female distance runners. Champions in the men's open division and women's open division each receive $800 in prize money. Winners will also be crowned in several men's and women's age divisions, as well as in team competitions.

"One of the things I love about this event is it attracts every type of athlete," said Bryant. "It has elite-level athletes and also athletes who only run races on occasion. It also attracts those runners who compete in specific age groups."

Because the championships are open to all, they occasionally produce surprise winners. Last year the men's champ was Durham's David Roche, an unknown on the national trail running scene. Two years ago, the women's title went to Ester Erb of Blowing Rock, an underdog who registered the morning of the event.

"It's a chance for a national championship. A lot of people want that title," Bryant said. "We have people travel from all over the country. It definitely carries prestige."

The championships begin at 9:00 a.m. on June 29. Entry fee is $35 per person until May 31, and $40 through June 15. Runners and their families are encouraged to take advantage of lodging specials on Beech Mountain, as well as activities available to guests in the resort town.

"There's great lodging on Beech for runners and spectators, as well as restaurants and plenty of hiking and things to do," Bryant said. "It's an ideal location for an event like this."

For race details and online registration, go to:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Winding Down the Season on Beech

As they say, all good things must come to an end.  The good thing about a great ski season coming to an end on Beech Mountain is that we can now gear up to a great summer season here.

Taken 3-14-2013

We received another 1" of light, fluffy snow yesterday.  The ski slopes are in prime condition for skiing and snow boarding, as well as making use of the skating rink at Beech Mountain Resort.  For those who have yet to experience skiing at the highest ski resort east of the Rocky Mountains, make time to come up before the resort closes for the 2012-2013 season.  In fact, the snow season has been so good this year that the businesses on Beech Mountain have been able to remain open longer than normal.  Restaurants, shopping, ski rentals, game rooms, real estate offices and more are all open and doing well.  We hope to see those who want to wind out the winter season with us come visit soon.



With the Bark Park (small and large dog corrals), kite festival, craft fair, fishing derby for the kids, annual July pig roast, hiking, biking, Buckeye Lake Recreation Area, Autumn at Oz (come meet Dorothy and Toto), community yard sale and nearby attractions of Grandfather Mountain, Tweetsie Railroad, Woolly Worm Festival and many, many other activities, events and things to do, Beech Mountain is a great place to make your destination and place to rest your head.

April is normally a slower time for us so that we can transition, clean, spruce up and prepare for our summer residents and guests.  The Beech Mountain Club (optional membership for owners of qualified properties) will also be getting ready to open the golf course, tennis courts, cafes and other various amenities.  As usual, lots of activities are being planned so make sure you stay in touch with our websites, webcams and our Chamber of Commerce on what is going on at any given time.  If you need a list of popular sites to visit, try these:

Beech Mountain Parkway:  See road conditions, traffic on BMP (links to other Beech Mountain, Banner Elk and surrounding area cams are also on this site...scroll down for list)

Beech Mountain Chamber:  Accomodations, restaurants, shops, etc., which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
     Rentals:  Vacation rentals

Come visit Beech Mountain, and don't be surprised when you arrive here that we smile and wave to you.  We're like that...we love meeting new friends.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beech Mountain Bark Park...Loved by all in any season

The Beech Mountain Bark Park was spear headed by a couple of our local resident 'puppy moms' a couple of years ago.  Nancy Brunzos and Jill Ezell started talking to the powers that be at Town of Beech Mountain,  Beech Mountain Club members, friends, family, other dog owners, residents and businesses.

Holleigh enjoys running after balls
The pavilion is a great place for owners to watch

The efforts of Nancy and Jill, along with their recruits, were well paid by establishing the park on property donated and maintained by the Town.  Funds were raised to create two fenced for small dogs and one for large dogs.  There is water and bags for cleaning up after the dogs, as well as a pavilion, walking track around the fenced areas, an arbor entrance and a sculpture of a dog.  Many private dollars and man hours were invested by many people to establish the park as it is today.  Whether it is summer or winter, the dogs love to run and play and the owners are very appreciative to have a place to let them have that opportunity.

The large dog park

Great old tree, boulders and bushes are in the park

Access to the park is across from Town Hall down the gravel road between The Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria and Action Realty.

For more information on the park or to donate for its continued improvement and maintenance, please contact Nancy Brunzos at

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carolina Ghostbusters to Appear at Retro Ski Weekend

Press Release
By Craig Distl
The second annual Totally 80's Retro Ski Weekend, which takes placeFeb. 22-24, includes multiple appearances by the Carolina Ghostbusters.

The Charlotte-based Ghostbusters will be in Beech Mountain all weekend with Ecto-1, an authentic replica of the famed Ectomobile from the Ghostbusters movie.
They will make a Friday evening appearance at Famous Fast Eddies deli and bar, before moving to the ski village at Beech Mountain Resort for Saturday and Sunday.

The Ghostbusters will also judge Saturday night's 80's Apparel Contest at the resort's Beech Tree Lodge. The contest winner receives a $500 cash prize.

"We're always excited at the ways the decade of the 1980's comes back, and the different places we get to go to," says Doc Geressy, captain of Carolina Ghostbusters. "Beech Mountain's retro 80's weekend is one more cool thing on our list."

People who attend the Ghostbusters appearances are encouraged to bring cameras so they can pose for photos with the crew and Ecto-1.

"There are a lot of Ectomobiles across the country, but probably only six or seven of the older style Ectos like ours. We're very lucky to have one," Geressy says. "People
will be able to get their picture made with one of the most iconic movie cars in all of cinema."

In addition to making promotional appearances, the Carolina Ghostbusters are actually paranormal investigators. Joining Geressy at Beech will be team member Cheralyn
Lambeth, a long-time investigator of the paranormal and author of "Ghosts of Greater Charlotte."

"We'll be posing for pictures and have all kinds of different equipment from the movie," says Geressy. "Folks will be able to see the proton packs, the ghost trap, and we'll be in our official jumpsuits."

For info on the Ghostbusters appearances at Beech's retro weekend, who you gonna call? Try(800) 468-5506, or go to: