SUGAR MOUNTAIN – Lots of folks around Chapel Hill, Orange County and the Triangle love to ski.  Many of you grew-up around ski slopes, and this time of year gets that urge started to go skiing.

Here in North Carolina, the ski season is officially underway.  Sugar Mountain Ski Resort opened about a week ago for its 34 season of operation.

Kim Jochl of Sugar Mountain tells WCHL that as the temperature drops…skiers from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and all over head to North Carolina’s High Country.

“The majority of skiers come from the state of North Carolina—about 40 percent,” Jochl says. “But the other 60 percent are made up of people coming from Tennessee, Georgia, a huge clientele from Florida, and we even get folks as far out as Texas, Louisiana, and we’ve had people from Ohio and even some come down from Virginia.”

Jochl says North Carolina’s ski industry affects all corners of the state, from ski equipment purchases at your local sports shop, all the way to the gas you spend going to the slopes. She says this is a 146-million dollar annual impact on the Tar Heel state’s economy.

“Lodging accommodations—the nightly rate,” Jochl says.  “Any shopping or souvenirs or gift shopping they do…any retail shopping they do.  Any entertainment, if they go to the movies or go to Grandfather Mountain, just down the street or to the shops along the Parkway.  Transportation…rental cars, gasoline and any other spending, as well, is figured into that 131-dollars-and-70-cents per person that gets spent…average spent for a person that comes to North Carolina for a ski trip. “

There are a total of six full-time ski venues in North Carolina.