Boone Area Boarding:
The Place to Learn—Or Launch!
The Boone area is a hotbed of boarding and has been since the sport started.
Just ask former pro snowboarder JJ Collier. As a 16-year old in 1988, the Banner Elk rider took first place in the Junior Moguls at the 5th US Open of Snowboarding. The win shocked Burton Snowboards' owner Jake Burton—who had just sent JJ’s board to the Boone Area to be a prize in the South’s first snowboard race! Collier won it days before—then took it to Vermont to beat 67 riders from around the nation!
“We were lucky in the High Country,” JJ says. “Beech Mountain allowed snowboarding with an open arms policy. Back then, even Stratton (home of Burton Snowboards) was restricting it.”
Today Boone Area boarders have three great mountains and six awesome terrain parks to choose from. Check out our video above of Boone Area Boarding!
Appalachian Ski Mtn.
With three parks—AppalTop, AppalJam, and AppalJack—and up to 60 features to select from, Appalachian Ski Mtn. is a magnet for Boone Area boarders. In December 2012, this classic resort is 50 years old!
The parks are perfect places to learn, get better, meet friends, or make new ones. There’s a cool community among App boarders that’s hard to beat. A creative crew of terrain park feature builders pride themselves on custom terrain and great artwork (check out their blog). There are frequent competitions and exciting special events (among them, Fresh Friday, where riders have a new feature to hit and prizes to win, Ladies Park Night, just for girls and women, and the Shred for the Cup series).
The French-Swiss Ski College at Appalachian Ski Mtn. takes beginners step-by-step from standing up to freestyle moves in the terrain parks. The resort is an official Burton Learn to Ride Center and a Burton Freestyle Center, and both designations come with special programs, including a 4 to 1 student to instructor ratio in lessons and special boards to make learning easier.
AppalTop Terrain Park is the only Burton Progression Park south of Maryland. The park’s low-key terrain features shorten the learning curve and make it easy to master tricks. AppalJam, and AppalJack, the upper level parks, require a new, easy-to-acquire Terrain Park Pass—get started online and watch a great safety video. Appalachian Ski Mtn. just purchased a new "Park Bully" groomer to place features and shape snow in its parks.
Beech Mountain Resort
Beech Mountain Resort also has instruction and two terrain parks with up to 28 features. Meadows Park is for beginners, and the new Powder Bowl Park serves advanced boarders. Both parks are accessible from the Lower Shawneehaw chairlift. Beech hosts all the races for the Edge of the World Boardercross Series as well as an annual Rail Jam.
Sugar Mountain Resort
Sugar’s terrain park occupies an entire slope with a dedicated surface lift that really lets boarders focus on the features. Combine that with long easy terrain for beginners taking lessons, a mile-and-a-half run from the summit, and astounding steeps, and Sugar rounds out a Boone Area boarding experience that rivals options anywhere in the East.
Collier Called It
No one illustrates that better than High Country boarder JJ Collier. He rode for years as an elite pro at the US Open, earning 3rd and 4th Place in halfpipe in 1995 and 1996, and 2nd overall halfpipe champion on the U.S. Pro Snowboard Tour in 1997 and 1998.
Now a top designer of snowsports apparel—first for Salomon, in France, then Ralph Lauren Polo, then Spyder skiwear—Collier sums it up. “The Boone area was into boarding at the beginning—and it’s still growing the sport.”