At 5475 feet above sea level, the leaves are starting to change. The Beech trees first moving from green to a light yellow. Fall is always an exciting time because winter is right around the corner! Fall is the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful mountains before the snow but to also get ready for the snow.
I had the pleasure of talking to the Fall Color Guy, Professor Howard Neufeld of Appalachian State University. I asked about our wet summer wondering if it will affect fall color. Dr. Neufeld said the amount of rain doesn’t affect fall color, that is an old wives tale. It’s the winds sweeping the leaves off the trees before we get to enjoy them. The perfect recipe for fall color involves partly sunny days and cool nights for color. You can check out his Facebook page @FallColorGuy for daily updates and a timeline for viewing or as we say, “leaf peeping” by elevation.
Fall also bring opportunities for prepping for winter. Ski resorts put a limited number of season passes on discount. Most pass costs are covered in under 15 days on the snow if calculating weekday rates! Imagine how much more you can do with a season pass! NCSki Association offers the Gold Pass for all North Carolina Ski Resorts. For more information on the Gold Pass visit http://www.goskinc.com/gold-card/
USASA - United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association has discounted memberships available through October 1st. This organization is for children and adults who like to compete. Normal membership is $100/athlete, the discounted rate is $85/per athlete. This organization hosts including Rail Jams, Slopestyle, and Boardercross.
Last year my two boys participated in this organization. The events were held at Applachian Ski Mountain, Beech Mountain Resort, Masanutten, and Ober Gatlinburg. Most of the athletes in the Southeast group qualified in their disciplines earning a trip to Copper Mountain for Nationals. It is exciting this year they secured Sugar Mountain Resort for the Slalom/Giant Slalom! Athletes gain experience in both ski and snowboard disciplines with this great race!
This is where the fun comes in. About 35 athletes went out west during spring break, aging from 8 to over 50! They competed in Boardercross, Rail Jam, and Slopestyle. Families traveled with them enjoying the perks of USASA Membership. Athletes competing in just one event were given a weeklong pass to Copper Mountain for only $327! Parents traveling with children were given discounted lift tickets of $68/day. We enjoyed discounted lodging and specials at area restaurants.
USASA Nationals was a great experience for my children. Nationals started with an opening ceremony that included all athletes and their families. Starting with an opening ceremony, events took place all over Copper Mountain. Children competed some days, played other days. Families took advantage of the discounted lift tickets spending time in the snow. Especially because it snowed almost every day!
If you have children that would like to compete during the winter season, take a look at USASA. It’s a fun organization that concludes with what both of my boys said was their “trip of a lifetime.” For more information visit www.usasa.org
Rates increase October 1st, so get your membership in early!