Run for the Hills with Beech Mountain's
Cool 5 Race Weekend, June 10-11, 2016
From a five-mile run to the top of the mountain to a kids’ Popsicle relay and a “walk and wag” for your four-legged friends, A Cool 5 Weekend on Beech Mountain offers races for the entire family June 10-11.
In its ninth year, the event includes five races and associated activities.
The signature run is the five-mile trek Saturday morning on a challenging course to the summit with 360-degree mountain views. A 1.5-mile fun run/walk and 1.5-mile “walk and wag” also take place Saturday morning.
“It’s a great way for runners across the Southeast to escape the heat of early summer,” says Kate Gavenus, tourism director for Beech Mountain. “Our elevation of 5,506 feet ensures cooler temperatures. And being a resort town, we have much to offer runners and their families.”
Friday events include a free Popsicle relay for kids and a Buck-A-Thon fundraiser where runners/walkers collect a dollar for every lap completed around the Buckeye Recreation Center track. Friday’s fun also includes A Taste of Beech, with local restaurants providing menu samples. The tasting event is free to race participants and only $5 for others.
“It’s a great way to pick your restaurant for Saturday night’s dinner,” Gavenus says.
All event proceeds benefit the Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Department.
“The participants can be competitive, but it’s all about a good time,” says Sean Royall, parks and recreation director. “A lot of residents and visitors come and run because they know they’re helping the town they live in or vacation in.”
One special edition this year will be a moment of remembrance for Margaret Hagerty, who participated in the previous eight Cool 5 Weekends. The world-record-setting marathon runner passed away about a month after participating in last year’s event at age 92.
Advanced adult registration is $25 for the five-mile run, and $20 for the fun run and “walk and wag.” Prices increase $5 for same-day registration. Children 12 and younger can register for any race for $10.
To learn more and register to run, visit www.ACool5Race.com or call (828) 387-3003.
Renovated Emerald Outback Trails Set for
a Grand Re-Opening, June 6-7, 2015
The Emerald Outback at Beech Mountain hosts a grand re-opening celebration the weekend of June 6-7.
The multi-purpose trail system recently underwent an extensive renovation and redesign geared toward both hikers and bikers. It now offers a greater variety of trails for all ages and skill levels, while still maintaining challenging terrain that made it popular with serious outdoor enthusiasts.
This celebration includes two full days of activities, including fun for the whole family as part of Beech Mountain's Family Fun Month festivities.
All activities begin at Beech Mountain's Visitors Center: 403 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, NC 28604.
Demo bikes will be provided by Magic Cycles and Boone Bike. There will also be a Kiddie Bike Corral for children 10 and younger. Free clinics are offered each day covering hiking and biking topics of interest.
There will also be guided hikes and bike rides for all skill levels. Find great food and drink specials at local restaurants, and Saturday night enjoy a band and bonfire.
For details, click the image above or view the schedule below. Questions? Call the Beech Parks & Rec Department at 828-387-3003.
Grand Re-Opening Schedule of Events
Saturday, June 6th
11:30–2:00 pm Lunch break
Sunday, June 7th
Beech to Host Collegiate Mountain Biking National Championships, Oct. 24-26, 2014
The nation’s top college mountain bikers will converge on Beech Mountain Oct. 24-26, 2014, for USA Cycling’s Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships.
This is the second straight year Beech has hosted the championships, which feature more than 70 schools and 300 riders battling for national titles in six disciplines.
Fort Lewis College of Colorado returns as defending team champion in Division I and Brevard College returns as defending champion in Division II. Local teams expected to contend in Division I are Lees-McRae College and Appalachian State.
"It’s a great opportunity for fans who enjoy competition, who enjoy cycling, to watch some of the best riders compete in mountain biking," said Lees-McRae head coach Tim Hall, whose team finished third in 2013. "It’s not like any other race during the year. You’ve got the best riders and the best teams going for the most coveted prize."
Holding the championships two straight years is quite an honor for Beech Mountain. The town and the ski resort have invested significantly in their mountain biking trail systems in recent years, giving the area two quality mountain bike parks.
"It’s our intention to be among the best mountain biking destination on the East Coast, and getting selected to host the collegiate national championships is a good indication of how far we’ve come," said Talia Freeman, event coordinator for Beech Mountain Resort. "It allows us to showcase the beauty and incredible terrain Beech mountain has to offer."
Teams will begin arriving in Beech Mountain during the week, with open practices and a riders meeting on Thursday, Oct. 23.
The first races will be held between 8:00-11:00 a.m. Friday morning. Saturday’s races take place between 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., while Sunday’s races begin at 11:00 a.m. and last until early afternoon. All races are free and open to the public.
"This is a very exciting event to watch, and one of the most fun events I’ve ever produced," Freeman said. "It is family-friendly and spectator-friendly."
For details and race schedules, visit: www.usacycling.org/2014/collegiate-mtb-nationals.
Lodging and other visitor info is available by calling (800) 468-5506.
BMR's Lift Service Now Provides
Summer Access to the Emerald Outback
Skiing and snowboarding are no longer the only outdoor pursuits at Beech Mountain Resort.
The 100-acre facility, located high in the Blue Ridge, shifted its summer focus to mountain biking with the June 2013 debut of the Beech Mountain Resort Bike Park.
And the best part for Emerald Outback fans is the resort's lift service for the downhill trails also provides access to the trails in the Emerald Outback.
Lift service is available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June through September. In addition to the Emerald Outback, it provides access to 10 downhill trails routed along the ski slopes.
Cyclists can take the lift, which is fitted with special bike trays, to the top and pedal eight miles of cross-country trails in the Emerald Outback, then check out the downhill trails at the resort.
Resort general manager Ryan Costin said the park’s opening is another phase in a long-term plan to transform the resort into a multi-season destination.
“Our vision is to provide a variety of excellent trails so mountain bikers can enjoy the facility in summer like skiers do in winter,” said Costin. “Every year we want to continue to develop the trails and expand our network.”
Mountain bikers of all abilities will find runs to their liking. There are two beginner trails, three intermediate trails, three advanced trails, and two expert trails.
And Magic Cycles of Boone operates a rental shop in the ski village for bikes, helmets and gear.
There’s also a new 18-hole disc golf course – accessed via the chairlift – that works its way down the slopes. Scenic chairlift rides are another option, and folks can stop by the Beech Tree Bar and Grille for meals, snacks and refreshments, or go shopping at Ski Beech Sports.
Hours of operation are: noon to 6 p.m. on Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.
Lift tickets prices are $10 for a single ride, $30 for an all-day pass, or $200 for a season pass. Bike rentals range from $45 to $85, depending on day and time.
Miles of Fall Hiking & Biking Trails on BeechWhile some prefer viewing the splendid colors of autumn by car, the Town of Beech Mountain offers a more interactive way to see the leaves.
The town maintains more than 30 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails at 5,000 feet elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These trails range from easy to strenuous, thus ensuring a variety of folks can enjoy fall foliage on foot.
Beech Mountain provides a detailed hiking map for 22 miles of trails winding in and out of the town limits. Additionally, a separate map is available for eight-plus miles of new trails near the mountain's summit. Those trails are part of the Emerald Outback adventure trail park, which attracts a broad mix of hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners.
"All trails are town maintained and we've really focused on the trails and reworking a lot of spots that needed attention," said Fred Pfohl of the Beech Mountain recreation advisory committee. "There's a lot of breathtaking scenery all around as you hike. We have trails that are solely in the woods and others which are on the edge and afford great views."
The local tourism office has put together hiking and biking packages this fall to make it easier to enjoy what's expected to be a vibrant autumn for color. The $159 packages provide two nights lodging for two people. They also include hiking trail maps, biking maps, fitness center passes, mini-golf for two, and a wine tasting for two at Banner Elk Winery.
"Our fall color season usually starts the last week of September and runs through about the third or fourth week of October," said Pfohl. "Deer and wild turkeys are plentiful, and bird watching is good, too. It's just a pretty time of year to be out of doors in the mountains."
All of the town's hiking and biking maps are available at the Beech Mountain Visitors Center, 403-A Beech Mountain Parkway.
More info is available by calling (800) 468-5506, or visiting: www.BeechMtn.com.
Trail Park Elevates Beech's Status as a Top-Notch Outdoor Destination
The recent debut of the Emerald Outback at Beech Mountain will go a long way toward making the Town of Beech Mountain a destination for serious outdoor enthusiasts.
The Emerald Outback provides more than 8 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and trail running. Emerald Outback is situated near the top of Beech's 5,506-foot pinnacle, with the majority of trails rated as intermediate or advanced.
"What we're trying to do is make Beech Mountain a really good destination for hiking and mountain biking," says Fred Pfohl, chairman of the Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation committee. "You're talking about some of the highest mountain biking trails on the East Coast, and awesome hiking, especially in summer on a ridge above 5,000 feet with nice breezes."
Pfohl sees an even bigger potential for trail runners once the park's second and third phases are finished. At that point, the trail network will stretch to more than 25 miles.
"By the time we're done, we could have a trail marathon," Pfohl says. "There's a lot of excitement. We're just trying to build on it."
The park was the vision of Daniel Scagnelli, director of the recreation department. Scagnelli spearheaded efforts to build the trails by uniting his department, the Town of Beech Mountain, and even the golf maintenance crew at Beech Mountain Club.
Most trail work was donated by volunteers of those organizations, along with local citizens and sports teams from nearby Lees-McRae College and Appalachian State University.
"The trails were developed and designed by bikers, hikers and runners," says Scagnelli. "When you have those type folks designing the trails, you achieve the greatest reward. Our other main priority was developing sustainable trails with little to no impact on the environment, the natural habitats of animals, or the flora. We're conscious of where the trails are built and how they are built."
Businesses are getting involved by arranging bike rentals, while area cycling shops are offering guided rides on the Emerald Outback.
"Beech Mountain has always been about the outdoors. That's what people think about when vacationing here - the great beauty and wonderful outdoor things," says Calder Smoot, chairman of the Beech Mountain Tourism Development Authority. "So I think the opportunity is huge because this adds to our outdoor venue with a great series of hiking and biking trails."
Candi McClamma of Archers Mountain Inn believes the park will also attract elite mountain bikers and trail runners in search of high-elevation training, in the same way Lance Armstrong trained on Beech Mountain prior to winning his first Tour de France title in 1999.
"I think the Adventure Trail Park will draw athletes looking to step up for a challenge," McClamma says. "To be able to train at this altitude in the Southeast is an enormous benefit."
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