If you're like me, February and early March here in the low lands consists of a long wait for the cold and drizzle that typifies late winter in North Carolina to end and finally make way for Spring. If you have some free time to get away, how about trading in your time at home with the chilly drizzle of February and early March in the lowlands for the more inspiring NC weather that can be found only in the higher altitudes of Beech Mountain? With the daytime temperatures only occasionally topping the 40 degree Fahrenheit mark, precipitation up there sure is a lot prettier . . . and a lot more fun, when you are just around the corner from Ski Beech.
Speaking of Ski Beech and March, this year is a really good time to try this family-friendly skiing resort out. Forecasts for snow are looking very promising for the remainder of the season, and the Resort is offering really great discounts on lift tickets in February & March. Also, I was reading a very interesting article by Sam Calhoun in the latest issue of High Country Magazine (You can read it online too at http://www.highcountrypress.com/hcmag/, btw.) about the two Lecka brothers, snow groomers par excellence from Breckenridge, Colorado, who joined the Ski Beech staff this winter. This story is one of many illustrating a Ski Beech Renaissance. Their great end-of-season deals, along with all the improvements that have been made to the Resort, make for a great opportunity to enjoy a last-minute Winter vacation before soggy Spring takes the stage.
Not being a skiier myself, though, I like to head up the mountain at this time of year in order to enjoy the more rarified beauties of a frozen High Country. Absent the Summer haze that softens the contours and colors of our famous Blue Ridge vistas, during the late Winter months on Beech the air can attain a crystalline clarity, at times treating visitors to views many miles further into the distance than is possible in warmer seasons. Even when the landscape lacks snow, the time is ripe for even those who dabble in hiking to enjoy easily passable trails, and to relish the serene hush of the woods, with miles of starkly revealed mountainsides standing regal and dignified under a glittering layer of hoar frost.
Call me crazy, but a couple of nights snuggled in front of the fire with sound of bone chilling wind driving snow sideways, plastering tree trunks and outside walls with spikey whiteness, is a truly enjoyable way to spend an evening with the family - TV off, voices low, and all ears open. A chance to truly appreciate the roof over our heads and the warmth of the hearth, while listening to Mother Nature outside, doing her level best to remind us of what little pipsqueaks we truly are. Magic.