When the invitation to snow ski at Beech Mountain arrived, I couldn’t wait to share it with my 6-year-old daughter. I was thrilled to have an opportunity to expose her to snow skiing. Living in the North Georgia mountains, we have the occasional snow, sometimes even enough for some sledding. But you won’t find anyone snow skiing any time soon. So we happily accepted the invite, and soon headed north on our mother-daughter adventure.
Upon arriving in Beech Mountain–the highest town in Eastern America at 5,506 feet above sea level–we checked in at the Pinnacle Inn Resort, a condominium rental community. Our condo was a spacious two-bedroom unit with a full kitchen, dining area and living area (with fireplace), plus a balcony. It was more than enough for just the two of us.
That evening we had dinner at the nearby Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria & Pasta. My daughter and I shared a pizza with the best crust I’ve had in years. The restaurant is within walking distance of the Pinnacle Inn Resort, provided weather conditions allow. The path is pretty dark at night, so I would bypass walking after the sun goes down.
The following morning we were up and ready to make our way to Beech Mountain Resort, where we fueled up with a hot breakfast at the resort’s View Haus Cafeteria. Afterward, we headed to gear up with ski and boot rentals followed by a stop in at the ski school office, where we signed up for a ski lesson (FYI, January is Learn to Ski month. Visitors to Beech Mountain Resort can purchase a Learn to Ski Package for $45. Good through Jan. 31 for beginners ages 8 and older, it includes a weekday lift ticket, equipment rental, helmet and a first-time beginner lesson. Sign up for the Skiing 101 package for $101, and get lodging, too!)
Back outside, we soon met up with Troy, our ski instructor, on the ski school field. In short order, he had my daughter and I working on the two basics of snow skiing: parallel skis, or “French fries,” for skiing, and wedged skis, or “pizza.” Having had a couple of ski lessons a few years earlier, the basics came back to me pretty quickly. My daughter caught on just as fast. We both had a learning curve, though, when it came to mastering the “J” bar, which takes skiers back to the top of the small hill we were on. Thankfully, Troy was really patient with my daughter, and he walked along with her until she got the hang of it.
Toward the end of our lesson, Troy had us working on left and right turns as we descended the ski school slope. Again, my daughter did very well; I was so pleased with her progress. Unfortunately, once the lesson ended, she was ready to move on to yet another new experience: ice skating.
Located below the ski slopes in Beech Tree Village, a 7,000-square-foot outdoor rink welcomes skaters to take a spin on the ice. After lacing up my daughter’s skates, she didn’t hesitate to start experimenting and exploring the ice. She just took off. And she crossed the ice. For a few feet. Then the inevitable happened. She fell.
She quickly picked herself up and took off again. I told her to slow down, that slow and steady was the way to acclimate to the skates and learn how to skate. She responded with, “Look! I’m doing it!” before taking off again. It was all I could to do keep up with her. Although she fell time and again, she picked herself up and kept right on going. Thankfully, for me, we vacated the ice after about 30 minutes so we could meet our group for lunch.
We made our way to the resort’s Beech Tree Bar & Grille, a comfortable restaurant with a sports-bar feel to it, but more family-friendly. The menu features appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, salads and more, including a kids menu. It offered a nice respite from a morning of activity.
Once lunch was over, we headed for the Beech Mountain youth sledding hill. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as conditions allow, this sled run is specifically for children age 12 and younger. Adults can sled with their children, but not individually. Therefore, you must talk your kids into letting you ride with them because this is one not-to-miss FREE activity. My daughter and I had a blast flying down the hill, and we didn’t even mind the mild climb back to the top to do it again. One note: Only plastic sleds are permitted, so plan accordingly.
Our day wrapped up with a group dinner catered by Famous Fast Eddie’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs and Deli. Now, I am not one to do much with my hot dog. Just a little strip of ketchup, a little strip of mustard, and I’m good to go. But I did give in and have Eddie put a pickle across the top. Turned out to be a great decision, because it was delicious.
My daughter is equally stingy with her hot dog, usually opting for plain all the way. However, she did surprise me by having Eddie add shredded cheese to her hot dogs. That’s right. “Dogs.” She ate four! And she wasn’t the only one going back for more. Several members of our group opted for seconds of Eddie’s hot dogs, many with traditional Chicago-style favorites like green relish, sport peppers, sauerkraut and coleslaw served up on poppy seed buns.
Finally, at the end of a very active day, we headed off to bed. The next morning, we hated to say goodbye, so we went for one last sledding run. Unfortunately, our time came to an end, and we headed back down the mountain and turned toward home. We’re already planning a return trip.
Disclosure: Karon and her daughter visited the town of Beech Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort as a guest of the Town of Beech Mountain. All opinions expressed herein are entirely those of the author.