Beech Mountain's slick slopes and snowy trails give its customers a thrilling powder experience with the claim of eastern North America's highest ski resort, which sits 5,506 feet above sea level. The resort features beginner Play Yard areas, intermediate slopes and advanced skier tracks, including the White Lightning and Southern Star. After shredding blankets of frozen rain, patrons can peruse the souvenir shop or enjoy a fresh coffee at the café, warming tummies while taunting yetis that are too large to hold espresso mugs. For those who are sans skis, Beech Mountain's rental shop stocks everything needed to blissfully coast into the great white beyond.
At the Color My Spirit Run, colored powder rains down on participants as they jog toward the finish line, brightening their clothes. The event is more than a run, though—participants also dance to live music, and kids frolic in a bounce house.
When rock-climbing couple Christy and Scott Thrift got engaged, Christy was dangling off the side of Stone Mountain. The same adventurous spirit that elevated their engagement informs their married life, which they spend running their wilderness guiding service, Thrifty Adventures. While some of the duo’s trips require previous outdoor experience, most welcome all participants, and range from ice climbing adventures to rock climbing and backpacking trips. Along the way, Scott and Christy teach safety basics, climbing techniques, and strategies for preserving natural surroundings, such as refraining from nibbling on the mountain.
Breaking away from a pack of speeding racehorses or breaking a bucking bronco may be the first guesses a casual onlooker would consider when pondering the origins of the name Break-Away Farm. But the name actually refers to the farm’s owners—Mark and Mary Lou Greenwall, formerly of Cleveland Park Stables—who, in 2005, decided to break off the beaten path and start their own equestrian business. Members of USEF, UPHA, and ASAC, the husband-and-wife team oversees the day-to-day operation of their 16-acre homestead, which is complete with a climate-controlled indoor facility and an outdoor arena. The well-appointed grounds set the stage for safe horseback-riding lessons for students of all ability levels, comprised of training regimens tailored to each rider.