Slopes crowded for holiday week with more cold and snow on the w - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Slopes crowded for holiday week with more cold and snow on the way

BLOWING ROCK, NC (WBTV) -

Thousands of skiers filled the slopes at Appalachian Ski Resort in Blowing Rock Monday, as well as resorts across the North Carolina Mountains.

"This is a big week for us," said Brad Moretz at Appalachian. "People are out of school, people are out of work and many come here to have fun." 

The ski industry has an economic impact of close to $150,000,000 a year, say state officials.

The week between Christmas and New Year's day is the busiest, though the Martin Luther King Holiday weekend and the President's Weekend breaks also show strong numbers.

The key to it all, though, is having snow on the slopes. "Last year we didn't get open until three days before the Christmas break," said Moretz.

Even so, holiday sales last year were strong. This year, could be even stronger, he thinks, because the slopes have been open since before Thanksgiving and there has been enough cold weather to put several feet of snow on the slopes.

Appalachian and most other resorts hope to stay open well into March, weather permitting. More cold weather is expected after New Year's Day as well as some snow flurries.

That, said Moretz, could help lure even more people to the ski areas this coming weekend.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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