This season is still in the middle of the best skiing winter has to offer, but [R18R, Appalachian Ski Mtn.] operators are making plans for next winter that include the longest scheduled season ever for any North Carolina resort.

General Manager Brad Moretz said Appalachian will operate from Nov. 20, 2009 to April 11, 2010. That's the Friday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after Easter Sunday.

"We recognize that Easter is an important family holiday and want to accommodate vacationing families throughout the Southeast region," Moretz said. "We believe this will be the longest scheduled ski and snowboard season in the 48-year history of North Carolina skiing. "

He said the plan for a season of this length is a result of Appalachian's annual commitment to improvements in its snowmaking capability. Appalachian will continue to make snow through the week after Easter 2010 to offer its guests the best quality experience and snow surface possible.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. has the greatest snowmaking capacity per acre of any ski area in the Southeast region, Moretz said.

Meanwhile for the rest of this season, Appalachian's season membership rates drop in stages. For example, adult rates are $292 through Feb. 28, a 35 percent drop, and $270 after March 1, a 40 percent drop.

Any Appalachian Ski Mtn. member also receives 50 percent off ski tickets at Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va. Appalachian's last scheduled day of skiing this season is Sunday, March 29. Knock on wood, but it seems like an easy target to reach with this season's snowpack.