Since the 1960s, snow sports have become an important aspect of outdoor activities in the higher elevations of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Winter weather is more variable and unreliable in these mountains than in the mountains in New England or out West. But the introduction of snowmaking machines in the 1950s has made it possible most years to ski or snowboard at Appalachian resorts from Thanksgiving into March. Appalachian resorts cater to weekend and night skiers, and they offer mostly beginner- and intermediate-level runs. West Virginia has the largest Southern ski resorts and the most reliable snow depths, followed by Western North Carolina. While downhill skiing still attracts the most visitors, growing numbers come to enjoy snowboarding, snow tubing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Digital Heritage Moments are produced at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. To learn more, visit digitalheritage.org. You may also hear Digital Heritage Moments each weekday on radio stations WKSF-FM, WWCU-FM, WMXF-AM, WPEK-AM and WWNC-AM.