Johnny Goin, longtime manager of Wolf Ridge Ski Resort in Mars Hill, expects big crowds this weekend.
“It’s been a tough road so far,” Goin said. “Especially for Christmas. Christmas generally represents 30 to 35% of our activity for the year. But this year, there was no Christmas affair. It was just too hot and the resort remained closed.
“It can mean up to half a million dollars or more to us,” Goin said. “When it comes to ski seasons in the South, no matter what you do, once you’ve lost it you can’t get it back.
Mid-March is usually the last month. But Goin is thankful for the four to five inch layer on the tracks across the resort right now.
“It helps freeze the ground, which will make it easier for us to blow snow on it. “
Wolf Ridge staff check the snow machines. They will be running them at full throttle late Monday after the winds have calmed down to accumulate snow.
“We have cabins near the slopes,” said Connie Carver of Wolf Mountain Realty as she took cabin reservations on Monday.
But Carver said cabin rentals were well booked in December, even with the ski resort closed. Carver said many Floridians book cabins for getaways and do so a year in advance to plan their North Carolina mountain vacation.
“We actually had some of the best feedback we’ve ever had,” she said. “There was snow on the tube tracks, they hiked and stuff.”
The ski area in rural Madison County looked like a Monday storybook with a blanket of snow. The hope for Johnny Goin, who has helped and overseen operations at Laurel Ridge since 1976, is for cold temperatures to stay in the mountains for the next three months to keep snow on the ground and ski enthusiasts ahead.