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No matter where you ski or ride, historic ski country lodging may not be far away. One of the most offbeat indicators of that is how many Southern Appalachian ski accommodations compare to the coolest historic places skiers check into up North and out West. A stay at the fanciest wont be cheap, but it wont be ordinary either.

Just take North Carolina’s High Country ski region, for instance, where the East’s highest peaks ripple the skyline and spectacular Grandfather Mountain signals an orographic uplift sufficient to net neighboring peaks 130”+ annual accumulations. Three major ski areas (Sugar Mountain Resort, Beech Mountain Resort, and Appalachian Ski Mountain) draw skiers from all over the nation’s most populous region and, surprising to many, help the South mint an abundance of new skiers.

Green Park Inn— Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Green Park Inn— Blowing Rock, North Carolina’s historic, rambling landmark is the contemporary of many Green and White Mountain hotels. Photo courtesy Green Park Inn.

Blowing Rocks Green Park Inn is an Historic Hotel of America monument to the rarefied summer climate that sparked early mountain tourism in the 1880s. The first folks fleeing baking lowland heat found summer weather comparable to New England’s cool. In 2021 the Green Park celebrated 130 years. Its just minutes from Appalachian Ski Mountain (which offers Green Park Ski and Stay” lodging packages).

The rambling white landmark was honored with the HHA’s 2015 Best Small Hotel Award. Its refurbished rooms, great atmosphere, and dining represent the pinnacle in historic hotel achievements.” The Green Parks Divide lounge (literally astride the Eastern Continental Divide) is a popular apres-ski watering hole.

Southerners who may never have stayed in a New England inn get a similar experience at the Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis (pron: croo-sis), close to Beech and Sugar Mountain. This is the states first rural National Historic District and includes the Mast Store, a sagging 1882 country store that Charles Kuralt called an American classic.

Sugar Mountain Summit -- Grandfather Mountain

Sugar Mountain Summit – Grandfather Mountain stands out dramatically from Sugar Mountain’s mile-high summit. Photo by Randy Johnson.

Mast Farm Inn, a hostelry 100-plus years ago, features an immaculate 1880s farmhouse, ancient log cabins and quaint guest houses dating back to the 1790s. Nearby Over Yonder is a gourmet southern eatery housed in a Civil War–era structure.

Historic lodging is found coming and going to ski country. Some folks pick Asheville, North Carolina as an urban base with two ski areas within an hour. The citys 1913 Grove Park Inn has a fireplace you’ll want to sleep in.

Virginias Homestead, 255 years old in 2021, is itself a ski area noted for the South’s first complete-coverage snowmaking system, an accomplishment that put Southern ski pioneer Sepp Kober in the National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

Historic ski lodging exists all over ski country. Durango, Colorado has the 1887 Strater Hotel. Jackson, Wyoming’s historic Wort Hotel wasn’t built till 1941. One of my favorite ski town hostelries is the 1889 Jerome in Aspen. And Oregon’s Timberline Lodge is both hotel and all-encompassing ski history experience.

Almost anywhere you go in America’s ski regions, time-transcending ski memories can be yours. Just pick the right place to hang your helmet.

One Comment

  1. My early memory of lodging for Killington in the mid 60’s is the Bardwell Hotel in down town Rutland VT. It was an old creepy hotel and abour a 25 minute drive to the mountain. The place closed down for several years and is now a senior citizen home.
    At that time I was with a group of instructors from a Brooklyn ski shop that ran bus trips to VT (Peak-Alta ski shop). Saturday night we drove up to the Wobbly but my fake ID did not impress the sharp eyes of the bounser and I could not get in. I wound up hitching a ride back to the Bardwell.

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