AVERY COUNTY — The advent to the winter sports season is officially under way, and snow facilities are beginning to open for the season. Winter in Avery County receives a large visitor draw from all over the East Coast, and Avery has the facilities to back it up.

With two major ski resorts, multiple tubing areas, snowshoeing, an alpine coaster and popular winter viewing areas on the mountain, the High Country has the ability to attract substantial crowds. With frozen precipitation on the horizon, winter sport enthusiasts are gearing up at the local ski shops and prepping for the official openings of all facilities.

Sugar Mountain Resort has already opened its season, welcoming patrons on November 15 for the formal 50th anniversary of the resort. With even cooler temperatures yet to come, the generous snowmaking capacities of the resort will mix with the natural snow to provide a significant slope tread for skiers and snowboarders.

One of the premiere events for the region is Sugar Mountain Resort’s SugarFest, which takes place Dec. 10 to 12. Lift ticket purchasers will be able to enjoy a weekend of live music, food, drinks, fireworks and a slew of ski and snowboard demos. Viewing and testing the latest gear is a real treat for winter hobbyists in order to pick out the best equipment for optimal response and performance.

A New Year’s Eve celebration will also be held at Sugar Mountain Resort. It will feature a complimentary alpine torch light parade at 11:45 p.m. and a fireworks show at midnight. Indoor festivities will take place from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. featuring live music by The Rockabilly’s.

Sugar Mountain Resort plans to operate at full capacity this year and will highlight all of the fun and challenging runs that visitors and locals have come to appreciate and admire. SMR offers lodging, rentals, shuttles, dining and all the other necessities for a great winter weekend.

Beech Mountain Resort is on a short countdown to opening day, which is slated to begin Friday, Nov. 26. Beech Mountain Resort has implemented several upgrades for the 2021-22 ski season to allow plenty of space for guests to enjoy the great outdoors, whether on the slopes or not.

Beech Mountain Resort has upgraded a few features to the delight of skiers and snowboarders. New upgrades to the snow machines will provide enhanced snow and more snow, adding to the already great array of slopes. The resort has also added new LED lighting fixtures all around the mountain which increases visibility for those who enjoy night riding.

Renovations to the village area at the base of the mountain will offer an ambient atmosphere for those not participating or just taking a break in between runs. BMR has been striving over the past few seasons to reinforce the quality of its slopes and the distinction of the total resort.

Beech Mountain Brewing Company will continue to operate as a gathering point for winter sports enthusiasts, offering live music weekends throughout the season along with their own special brews that accentuate the Appalachian Mountain flavor.

The resort will also have a New Year’s Eve event with complimentary fireworks slopeside. Beech will also continue its weekday night skiing specials running from January 3 to March 10, 2022.

For those who do not wish to participate in the fast-paced mountain slalom that the resorts have to offer, the High Country also contains sledding and tubing adventures for all ages.

HawksNest Snow Tubing will officially open on Friday, Nov. 26. The tubing park, which originally started as a ski mountain, became a fully operated tubing and zipline park in 1996. Located in Seven Devils, HawksNest is a large-capacity tubing slope with 30 lanes and a moving carpet lifter. Visitors are encouraged to buy and reserve tickets online.

Also just across a county line is the popular Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park, a family friendly tube park with an uphill conveyor belt. Jonas Ridge plans to open slightly later in the year in comparison to the other attractions, with an opening date of December 20. Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing tickets and reservations are currently available and ready for purchase on the business’s website.

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