Ski season begins in time for Thanksgiving

SUGAR MOUNTAIN, NC (WBTV) - The warm fall weather across the Carolinas made a sharp turn towards winter over the weekend. That was good news for the North Carolina ski industry.

Snow making began at all the resorts early Sunday and by Monday Catalootchee Resort and Sugar Mountain had opened their slopes.

"We are excited to be open before Thanksgiving," said Kim Jochl at Sugar Mountain Resort.

A solid base of snow extended from the top of the mountain on down with some natural snow whitening up the side hills nearby.

"This is awesome" said one of the first skiers of the season.

Officials are hoping the weather will stay consistent this year so the resorts can stay open all the way through March. Sugar Mountain alone, including food services, will have close to 600 people earning paychecks this season.

The economic effect extends beyond the resorts. Everything from convenience stores to restaurants, ski shops and more benefit from the influx of winter tourists.

"It's great for the economy," said Jochl.

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