NC company plans indoor skiing
Global warming and temperatures better suited to sunning than skiing may not mean a thing to a new ski area planned west of Asheville.
Canton Wintersports Center at Westmoreland Resorts in Canton promises five slopes ranging from 900 to 3,100 feet in length, six triple chairlifts and a 900-foot vertical drop -- all under an 80-acre roof. The project would cost about $700 million.
Indoor skiing: it's not just for Japan and Dubai anymore.
"It'll be a massive indoor ski resort that will have alpine runs for skiers and a double diamond run for adrenaline junkies," owner Steve Westmoreland said in a news release. "For snowboarders, we'll have a half-pipe, a super pipe and a mogul run."
But, wait, there's more.
The resort would also have a winter sports stadium, a 480-foot ice-climbing wall (billed as the world's largest artificial wall) and cross-country skiing "through a submarine tunnel connecting all tourism attractions onsite."
The area could open as soon as 2009.
Apparently, the dome is no fluke. Another indoor ski area -- this one costing $1 billion and covering a million square feet -- is planned for North Georgia's Dawson County. Mount Pegasus' developers claim that it would be the world's largest ski area under glass.
Does the prospect of year-round skiing under controlled conditions worry neighboring ski areas?
Tony Wadell, general manager at Cataloochee Ski Area just west of Canton, doesn't see it as an immediate threat. "We think if it is going to happen it's a long way down the road," says Wadell, who has been monitoring the development.
And if it is built? The more the merrier, he says.
"I'm of the opinion that the more ski areas we have, the better off we are." He pauses, then adds, "Provided they're run well."