Appalachian Ski Mtn. had its beginning December 4, 1968, when Grady Moretz and four other partners purchased the area from the Northwestern Bank at foreclosure at a public auction. Built six years earlier by Mr. M.E. Thalheimer of Selma, Alabama, the ski area was known as Blowing Rock Ski Lodge, Inc. Blowing Rock Ski Lodge was a public, stock owned company and first opened in the winter of 1962-63. It was the first ski area in Northwestern North Carolina and the second oldest ski area in the State, Cataloochee having opened the previous winter.
Originally the area consisted of a 12,000 square foot base lodge and three slopes serviced by two rope tows and a T-bar.
In the summer of 1969, Appalachian Ski Mtn. replaced the rope tow on Strudel with its first chairlift, a double. Three years later in the summer of 1972, the T-bar on Big Appal was replaced with a second chairlift. The area continued to make improvements every year. Among these improvements were several additions to the lodge that enlarged the rental department, ski shop and the restaurant, added a new first-aid room and ski patrol room, more office space, and a gift shop. Other improvements included the first airless snowmaking in North Carolina, a new sewage treatment plant, several new slopes, new compressor house, four Ingersoll Rand screw air compressors, an enlarged snowmaking water reservoir, and, in 1985, a new LMC groomer and tiller.
In the winter of 1969-70, Jack Lester of Charlotte and Atlanta, and Jim Cottrell of Boone formed the French-Swiss Ski College and began one of the first extensive college accredited programs for skiing.
In the early 1970’s, they brought a number of celebrities to Appalachian Ski Mtn., including Olympic gold medalist Jean Claude Killy, astronaut Charles Duke, and the Rossignol Racing Team.
In 1984, the biggest expansion in the history of the area took place when a Doppelmayr quad chairlift was installed and 6,000 square feet was added to the lodge. This was the first quad chair lift in North Carolina. The Moretz family acquired sole ownership of Appalachian Ski Mtn. in 1986.
In 1992, the second double chairlift installed in 1972 was replaced with a new Doppelmayr double chairlift, and in 1993 a computerized snowmaking pumping system was installed. In 1994, Appalachian replaced its first double chairlift with a second Doppelmayr quad chairlift, added a new intermediate slope (Appaljack), and installed a refrigerated outdoor ice skating arena and skate rental building.
Appalachian Ski Mtn. has expanded to twelve slopes including two terrain parks serviced by one double chairlift, two quad chairlifts, two conveyor lifts (new in 2010) and one handle-pull lift. The base lodge now covers 46,000 square feet, is smoke free, and has complimentary WIFI in the restaurant.
For more information on ASM’s history, see these comprehensive editorial stories
- High Country Magazine — “A Half Century of High Country Skiing” — View Article
- Carolina Mountain Life — “Southern Skiing’s Forgotten Man” — Download PDF