Starting back in the late 1970’s up until the mid 1980’s Ski Sapphire Valley was operated by a local entrepreneur by the name of Jim Monteith. Jim brought Ski Sapphire Valley into the 20th century obtaining or making new snow making equipment and procuring the ski areas first snow groomer!
In the late 1970s Jim had acquired all the equipment that makes up a rope tow lift from another Western North Carolina ski area.
There is much more to Jim's story and the ski business in WNC which we will publish at a later date.
Several hundred feet were cleared at the top of the current main Ski Sapphire Valley slope, snow making ‘plumbing’ was installed and then a very creative and steep rope tow lift completed the new Black Diamond rated slope.
Given the steepness of the run it was never groomed, and the slope provided a great mogul challenge! It was short but very steep and again, with all the moguls offered the better skier a nice experience.
Did you know: Before there was the Frozen Falls Tube Park was a great Blue Square rated ski slope?
The remains of the rope tow shelter is about 30 yards away from the top of the current ski lift!
This shelter is easy to find. There are remains of the safety gates and rope system but you have to look close. Anything else of value like the snow making valves and quick connect system were removed and reused.
Looking inside you will still see what is left of the lift components mounted to a concrete pad as well as the electrical connections.
This article will be copied over the The [Sapphire Valley Historical Society] website soon. Visit this site for images of the first run at Ski Sapphire as well as the original construction images.