Adventure Journal – Entry Date: December 2011
The Richardson Tribe has been to Maggie Valley several times over the past few years, but never in the winter when Cataloochee Ski Area was open. This Christmas, Santa brought the children gift certificates for ski school at Cataloochee, so we felt compelled to check it out. When visiting Maggie Valley in the past, we have always stayed at Stonebridge RV, so we booked their best creek-side site for the week leading up to the new year.
When we arrived at Stonebridge RV park (now owned by NASCAR), we were extremely disappointed in the seemingly poor condition of the park. It turns out, it pretty much shuts down for the winter. No laundry, no game room, inner roads blocked, and on this particular holiday week, the office was closed and no one was around. We couldn’t even get horseshoes for the awesome looking horseshoe pits. There was a tarp on the office’s roof, and there was a busted water pipe at one of the sites where the water ran all week. Rebecca spoke to the manager on the phone once, but he told her “Lady, I’m on vacation this week.” He never returned my call. So, here we are, six of us for six days, with tons winter clothes and no laundry room. Fortunately, Rebecca had over-packed, so we managed. In all fairness, campgrounds winterizing and shutting-down for the season is pretty common. However, prior to our visit, we were receiving daily emails advertising how wonderful the place is in the winter. We’ll have to reconsider where to stay on our next trip to Maggie Valley.
On our first full day in Maggie Valley, we thought we’d survey the situation at Cataloochee to determine when and where we needed to be the next morning to enroll the kids in ski school. Unfortunately, we were turned away a the base of the mountain because the ski area was filled to capacity. We were told to get there very early the next morning, and that’s just what we did.
The kids’ ski day was on the Friday before New Years Eve. Cataloochee Ski Area was packed with folks on holiday, but that didn’t hinder the fun. Even with the crowd of people, everything went off without a hitch. We had all the kids in some exceptional rental boots and skis in no time. Although Santa brought some silly ski hats, we put helmets on the kids. The helmets …