Shredding the slopes

Cataloochee enjoys busy season
By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Jan 29, 2014
Photo by: Jessi Stone Riley Hunter, of Cleveland, Georgia, practices his snowboarding skills at Cataloochee Ski Area.

Many businesses in Haywood often dread the slow winter months and the snow that keeps patrons away, but Cataloochee Ski Area welcomes the winter snow.

“We love the cold and snow,” said Cataloochee General Manager Chris Bates. “This kind of weather is great or business.”

While Cataloochee starts making snow in early November, or as soon as the temperature falls below freezing, the real snow only helps attract more skiers and snowboarders to the mountain.

“This season is going well,” Bates said. “It’s a little bit better than last year actually.”

Last year was the best year yet for Cataloochee because the ski area was able to stay open for 149 days. In 2011-12 the ski area was only open for 110 days. This year, Bates said the plan was to stay open until March 31, adding that their busiest time of year is from Christmas to the end of February.

The slopes were pretty busy on Tuesday with more than 2 inches of real snow on the ground and with 14-degree weather, but Bates said Cataloochee continues to make snow most nights to make sure there is enough. People come from all over to ski on the mountain slopes. Bates said the farthest someone has come this year was from South America.

The daytime ski hours are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and night skiing is from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Cataloochee has several slopes to accommodate different levels of skiers and snowboarders, including a beginning, intermediate and expert slopes. The ski area has a full-service rental department that offers more than 4,000 sets of ski and snowboard equipment plus a state-of-the-art boot drying system.

Lessons are available for first-time skiers. Rentals and chair lift tickets are also available at Cataloochee Ski & Sports Shop on Soco Road in Maggie Valley. Cataloochee also runs Tube World in Maggie Valley, located on Soco Road.

For more information, visit