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2020-21 Scheduled Season NOV 20 - MAR 21

Tribute to Grady Moretz

D. Grady Moretz, Jr., age 88, of Poplar Hill Drive, Boone, passed away Sunday morning, April 8, 2018 at his home. Born June 29, 1929 in Watauga County, he was a son of Dillard Grady Moretz, Sr. and Grace Rhyne Moretz. Grady was a lifelong member of Grace Lutheran Church. After attending UNC Chapel Hill, Mr. Moretz served a four-year tour in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict. He was a co-founder, owner and operator of Appalachian Ski Mtn. A noted civic leader, Mr. Moretz was involved in numerous community and professional organizations. He served on the Watauga County School Board during the successful bond referendum for consolidation of the local high schools into Watauga High School. He was a founding member of the Watauga Education Foundation, and a member of the Watauga County Hospital Board of Trustees before serving 40 years on the Blowing Rock Hospital Board, 20 years as chairman. He was president of the Boone Jaycees, during the building of the Boone Jaycees Park near Horn in the West, was a member of the Boone Tourism Development Authority soon after its inception, and was a founding member of ASU’s Appalachian Summer Festival.

Mr. Moretz was an organizing member and president of both the North Carolina Ski Areas Association and North Carolina High Country Host, and was instrumental in creating the 1981 North Carolina Skier Safety Act legislation. He was president of the Southeastern Ski Areas Association and represented the southeast region on the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Board of Directors, serving as an officer and a member of numerous committees. In 2005, he was the sole North American recipient of the NSAA Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was a die-hard Tarheel fan and was a proud supporter of ASU.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Reba Smith Moretz; son, Brad Moretz, wife Jennifer, and their children, Jensen and Avery Elizabeth Moretz, and daughter, Brenda Moretz Speckmann, husband, John, and their children, Wiley and Sophie Speckmann, all of Blowing Rock.


App Ski Mtn.’s first Quad Chairlift Grand Opening. Grady (standing) with ASU Chancellor John Thomas, Grandfather Mountain founder Hugh Morton, Southern Division Ski Patrol Director Steve Benbow and Northwestern Bank President Alfred Adams.



Grady, with wife Reba receiving The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award from NC House Representative Cullie Tarleton.




Appalachian Ski Mtn. would like to invite any and all comments, stories, remembrances from people who had known Grady during his lifetime. Grady loved to tell stories. Please share your story about him with us. Thank you.


Tribute to Grady Moretz from David Jackson:

It snowed Monday morning. On the 9th of April. Even by High Country standards, that’s kind of late. Like many of you, I asked myself why…why won’t winter go away just yet.

Then a few hours later I learned that Grady Moretz passed away Sunday afternoon at his home, with his loving wife Reba by his side. It suddenly made perfect sense that Monday’s flurries were a farewell dusting to us all, from a man who made our enjoyment of these elements his life’s passion.

To say Grady Moretz was a giant in our community is like saying Woody Durham occasionally followed the Tar Heels. In fact, one of his many superlatives could have been, “High Country’s greatest Carolina Basketball Fan.” He would sit up nights in the Snow Club lounge, often with snow guns blasting outside the window, watching his beloved Tar Heels play. By the look on his face, you knew how the Heels had fared. There was nothing like a Grady Moretz smile after a Tar Heel win!

Grady was born in Boone, made his life in Boone, cut his business teeth in Deep Gap, and eventually became one of the pioneers of tourism in our area. He took pride in his role in the family lumber business. The name V.L. Moretz and Son still sits on the outside of the old yard in Deep Gap decades after the business closed its doors. With a good life ahead of him, Grady took a risk in investing in the ski industry, at a time when there was no artificial snow making, barely a lodge to speak of, and no guaranteed customer base to build from in the early years. Boy, did that risk ever pay off!

Five decades later, not only is Appalachian Ski Mountain one of the landmark tourism draws of the region, but it’s family atmosphere is an attractive draw to well over a million visitors since the first skier cut tracks on the hillside between Boone and Blowing Rock. Families learn to ski at Appalachian Ski Mountain. Everything about one’s initial experience on the mountain was designed to create enjoyment. As a young kid I learned to ski on those slopes. I fell a lot that first day, but the food was great, and my ski instructor was friendly and patient. I had a blast and my parents kept bringing me back. So many of us have a similar story.

Grady may also go down in the history books as one of the greatest storytellers in Watauga County history — North Carolina history for that matter. I remember once, at about 10 years old, getting a tour of the old water pump house from Grady in between ski sessions. He knew the make, manufacturer, delivery history, and install date on every bit of equipment from the door handle that led into the room to the last water line that led to the slopes. He told those stories like they were adventures — and they were to him — everything was a story told about he and his staff were able to make something better for their guests. That customer first legacy remains the bedrock of Appalachian Ski Mountain today.

Grady and his wife Reba are two of the most caring people you’d ever have the privilege to know. They cared so deeply for everyone that worked for them. They cared for the families that saw generations grow up on their slopes. They cared for their community by supporting the arts, non-profits, and anyone that might benefit from a little wisdom and experience gained by the Moretz family along the way.

Grady never talked about anything that he wasn’t committed to do. When a new project at the ski mountain panned out, a subtle wink and a “what do you think about that,” would often follow.

He was also incredibly loyal and would stand behind those that he pledged support to forever. After App State’s first National Championship, not long after a very difficult period for the program and its Head Coach, Jerry Moore, Grady was moved to tears at a breakfast to honor the coaching staff, because he was so happy that his friend had finished the job the way he knew he could all along. If Grady pledged his support to you…well you could just take that to the bank.

Grady was a tremendous businessman, he supported so many people and causes, and he cared so much for his community. But I’ll always remember Grady the family man. A man whose mouth would drop open and eyes light up anytime one of his grandchildren walked into a room. A man who made time for family dinner at the ski lodge, as many of them around the table as he could get, silencing radios phone calls for a few minutes just to have a meal like we are used to having at our homes. His wry smile was the same when he told a good joke, or perhaps just took one in. He could shoot you a look that said, “shape up,” just as easily as he could gaze a look of empathy at an old friend.

Grady Moretz was Boone..he embodied everything it meant to be a native of this great place. Treat people with respect, turn trust into loyalty, lend a helping hand, and love them like they’re yours. So many of us have benefited from this kind man and his amazing family over the years. We’ll miss him forever, but every time that first snowflake of the season falls or that first subzero morning comes, there will be a smile as bright as ever, way up above, that belongs to Grady Moretz as he watches over his life’s work and all of the people he graced over the years.



Tribute to Grady Moretz from Chris Larson WBTV



Appalachian Ski Mtn, celebrating 50 years with Grady Moretz

Appalachian Ski Mountain: Celebrating 50 Years from RossRowan on Vimeo.


The French Swiss Ski College at Appalachian Ski Mtn. has taught over 1 million people to ski & ride.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. was the first ski area south of the Potomac to offer night skiing (1964).

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has the greatest snowmaking capacity per acre in the Southeast region.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. strives to avoid snowmaking during skiing hours as much as possible.

ASM has skied through its scheduled closing day for the last 10 consecutive years. (The earliest scheduled closing has been the 4th Sunday in March.)

Appalachian Ski Mtn. can convert almost 49 million pounds of water to snow in a 24 hour period in outstanding snowmaking weather.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has the only Burton Progression Park south of Maryland.

ASM is one of 15 ski areas throughout North America, Europe, and Asia selected by Burton Snowboards to offer a Burton Progression Park.

Burton is the leading snowboard manufacturer in the world, with more than double the market share of any other snowboard manufacturer.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has a 2500 sq ft clothing rental center with jacket, bib, glove, goggle, and helmet rentals.

Midnight Blast Weekends are offered every Friday and Saturday night from January 3rd through March 1st.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s Midnight Blast Weekends are the only late-night skiing sessions in the Southeast region.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the only resort in North Carolina that offers an all nights-only season pass.

In 2008-09, Appalachian Ski Mtn. had both terrain parks open by its 3rd day of skiing.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. will start making snow the first substantial cold spell after October 31st.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has opened during the week prior to Thanksgiving for seven of the last eight years.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has reinvested over 3 million dollars in snowmaking and other improvements over the last 3 years.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the closest ski area in the Southeast to Charlotte, NC. (79 linear miles according to Google Earth).

Appalachian Ski Mtn. usually grooms all of its slopes every day.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. rebuilds one of its terrain parks at least every other week.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the only ski area in the Southeast that has automatic load gates on each of its chairlifts.

The Appalachian Ski Patrol requires a volunteer commitment of 12 days per patroller per season.

In 2008, Appalachian Ski Patrol Director Joe Donadio was the National Ski Patrol Representative of the Year.

In 2008, Appalachian Ski Patroller Chris Martin was the National Pro Patroller of the Year.

French Swiss Ski College President Jim Cottrell has been the director of the ski school since the first Nixon administration (1969).

General Manager Brad Moretz learned to ski at ASM on wooden skis with screwed-in metal edges, cable bindings, and lace-up boots on a rope-tow.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s switchboard is answered by a live person 24 hours a day during ski season.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. employs approximately 300 people during ski season. The French Swiss Ski College employs an additional 90 people.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has been owned and managed by the Moretz family for the past 25 years.

Every Appalachian Ski Mtn. staff member is interviewed and individually selected by one of the owners.

55 to 65 percent of Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s staff returns each season.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has 10 to 15 applicants for each new staff member hired.

Every staff member at Appalachian Ski Mtn. is paid more than the federal minimum wage.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. offers a high performance twin-tip rental.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the only ski area in the Southeast region that offers terrain park instruction.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s base lodge has free wireless internet.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is within a 10 mile drive to over 50 restaurants, more than any other ski area in the Eastern United States.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. opened as Blowing Rock Ski Lodge in 1962.

In 1962, only one motel in Blowing Rock stayed open during the winter.

The Appalachian Ski Mtn. grooming staff has a combined 71 years of experience.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has held a closing day pond skimming and costume contest since 2003.

On a night with excellent snowmaking conditions, ASM's snowmaking staff can make 3 to 6 feet of snow.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has 22 RV electrical hookups in its public parking area.

French Swiss Ski College instructors must go through 50 hours of training before teaching their first lesson.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. once had a t-bar where the #2 Chairlift is located.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s double chairlift is used for wedding ceremonies during the off-season.

Most of Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s terrain park features are custom fabricated on-site.

On a busy day, 22 staff members will expedite guests through the equipment rental process.

Appalachian's Alpine Ski Shop buys more inventory from Burton Snowboards than any other ski industry manufacturer.

In 2005, after 44 years in the ski business, ASM President Grady Moretz was the North American recipient of the NSAA Lifetime Achievement Award.

The lift operations staff builds a real wood fire in the dining room fireplace almost every morning.

On New Year's Eve, Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s restaurant serves filet mignon.

For the 2013-14 ski season, Appalachian Ski Mtn. will offer over 50 unique terrain park features.

In an average year, Appalachian Ski Mtn. will make snow approximately 500 hours. (Most of this is during non-skiing hours).

Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s snowmaking system converts an estimated 75 million gallons of water to snow during a ski season.

The Alpine Ski Shop at Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the oldest ski shop in North Carolina.

In 1999, Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s first terrain park feature was an 8' long double barrel rail made from PVC pipe.

3-time Olympic Gold Medalist Jean Claude Killy made three promotional appearances at Appalachian Ski Mtn. during the 1970's.

All of Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s chairlifts have pads on the chair seats and backs.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s original base lodge was 12,000 square feet. The base lodge today is over 47,000 square feet.

The Appal Jam Terrain Park was named by Monty Dunlap in an internet naming contest in the summer of 2006.

The slope names have an apple/Appal(achian) theme as the property was an apple orchard prior to becoming a ski area.

Local professor Eric DeGroat suggested the name "Appalachian" due to the association of this region. The mountain was already referred to by the locals as "Ski Mtn."

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has several ski-in/ski-out slopeside rental chalets which are rented to vacationers year-round.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the only North Carolina ski area that books customized packages with local lodging facilities.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s reservations staff personally visits each room type in the 12 facilities offered in ski & stay packages.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has the only snowboard-width stonegrinder and wet belt sander at a North Carolina ski resort.

All of the walkways (350') around the perimeter of Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s base lodge are heated with hot water radiant-heat piping.

The music on the slopes and in Appalachian Ski Mtn.'s base lodge is provided by Sirius Satellite Radio.

The snowmaking reservoir at Appalachian Ski Mtn. is 40 feet deep.

The Restaurant at Appalachian Ski Mtn. has a homemade desert special every day.

There are two sets of automatic doors at the main entrance to the Appalachian Ski Mtn. base lodge.

The Appalachian Ski Mtn. entrance road is a state road maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is six miles from Boone and two miles from Blowing Rock.

The second-story deck, facing the slopes on Appalachian Ski Mtn's base lodge, has 19 picnic tables which will seat 152 people.

In 2007, Appalachian Ski Mtn. installed the largest snowmaking pumping station constructed in America that year.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the only ski area in North Carolina with a zamboni to cut the ice floor on its ice skating rink.

Anyone renting our Burton LTR snowboard equipment can purchase a group lesson with a low 4:1 student to instructor ratio.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the only North Carolina Ski Area that offers a Flex Ticket that begins when you buy it.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. is the only resort in the North Carolina High Country with 2 conveyor lifts.

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