With the greatest amount of snowmaking pump capacity per acre of any ski resort in the Southeast region, Appalachian Ski Mtn. is primed to bring plenty of joy and recreational opportunities to winter sports enthusiasts.
ASM’s snowmaking abilities start with a $2 million investment in snowmaking automation, snow guns, pumping capacity and increased water storage. With the addition of a new Pisten Bully 400 snow grooming machine to ASM’s existing fleet of grooming equipment, the resort offers its guests the best possible snow surface.
Appalachian Ski Mtn. features a dozen slopes for skiers of all ages and abilities. At one-half mile, the resort’s longest run is Orchard Run. “Ski Wee” and “Cruiser Camp” programs are taught on beginner terrain for skiers ages 4-10 and snowboarders ages 7-12, but more difficult slopes include Hard Core, Thin Slice, Upper Big Appal, Lower Big Appal, and Strudel in addition to Orchard Run.
By “thinking outside the box” and planning, the COVID-19 pandemic hardly fazed ASM during the 2020-21 ski season. According to ASM General Manager Brad Moretz, the pressures for social distancing pushed the resort to rethink its business model and how it serves customers.
In addition to installing several plexiglass protective screens to keep guests and employees safe while inside the lodge by reducing the potential spread of the virus should anyone be a carrier, the resort added outdoor seating for as many as 400 guests in select areas around the lodge, allowing for social distancing while eating or enjoying “down time” outdoors.
Perhaps the most innovative steps taken by ASM, though, included requiring reservations and timeslot-based ticket pickup.
“Reservations are required for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, equipment rental and season memberships. Clothing rental, nursery (childcare), park passes and parking are now also available on the online platform. This provides our guests with the most time on the slopes and minimal time in the lodge,” said ASM Marketing Manager Drew Stanley.
Moretz said that the timeslot ticketing dramatically reduced congestion last season, spreading out the times when skiers, snowboarders and ice skaters arrived.
“Every person gets a specific, reserved five-minute time slot for ticket pickup at the cashier booth. This cutting-edge time slot system expedites your lodge experience and maximizes your time on the snow,” said Stanley. “This timeslot system dovetails perfectly with our renowned Flex Ticket, so no matter what time slot is selected, your session starts when your ticket is issued. Guests are asked not to enter the lodge more than five minutes before their scheduled pickup time.”
What is new at ASM begins when you arrive at the front gateway, where a smooth entry experience awaits, compliments of a new gatehouse that includes a large covered entryway to protect visitors from the elements.
“There are also two lanes to help better manage traffic,” said Stanley.
For nearly as long as Appalachian Ski Mtn. has been operating, French Swiss Ski College has served as a complementary service to help skiers and snowboarders develop their skills with professional instruction. Typically, the instructional packages include the slope ticket, equipment rental, helmet rental and group instruction. Private lessons are also available. Classes have limited availability and reservations are required.
Since 1969, French Swiss Ski College has provided instruction for more than one million people.
As safety precautions, face coverings are required at all indoor locations with no exceptions for guests 2 years old and older. The face coverings should cover the nose and mouth at all times in these situations and are expected to be worn any time that social distancing is not being practiced on the property.
A little-known fact outside of Blowing Rock: Current U.S. Ski & Snowboarding team member Luke Winkelmann got his start at Appalachian Ski Mtn. as a 6-year-old!
For more information about special events, lessons or lift tickets, visit https://appskimtn.com/.