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Talia Freeman, marketing director for Beech Mountain Resort: “I really care about the resort,
the town and the people and, at such a young age, I feel really fortunate, passionate about our
becoming even more successful. I want everyone to see what I see; we have a great mountain
and community.”



Originally published: 2011-12-10 12:25:56
Last modified: 2011-12-10 12:26:25

Living the Dream: Following the new road to success

Justin Grimes / (averyjournalist@gmail.com)

Old timers like me remember well the early days at Beech Mountain Resort: The après-ski in Red Baron Lounge, shoulder to shoulder crowds mulling around the quaint village in winter and Land of OZ in summer. One of my college friends played Dorothy in the early 1970s and my girlfriend’s family had a home on the slopes we frequented, giving me a nostalgic and vested feeling about the place.

Today, a new generation of leaders continues the dream, bringing with them new ideas, concepts and a major infusion of improvements.

And in a conversation with one of the new generation, the voice of the resort, Marketing Director Talia Freeman, I got the sensation that the joy of the ‘yellow brick road’ I recall and the discovery of new experiences live just under the surface, and the many recent changes and enhancements awaiting visitors to the mountain are just the beginning of a transformational journey. 

“We changed the name from Ski Beech to Beech Mountain Resort so people will better understand that we are a four-season resort,” Freeman said. “This year, we had our largest summer event hosting USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships. It was so exciting and successful; over 1,000 spectators where here.

“After graduating from Lees-McRae, I worked in events management before joining the staff at Beech in 2006,” Freeman, 27, said. “This was the first event I remember where I didn’t receive a single complaint.”

When talking with Freeman, one can’t miss the vocal reflections and enthusiastic cadence of a person intent on putting the best foot forward – content in having a position that allows them the opportunity to do so.

“I think a lot of people have jobs, but this job consumes me,” Freeman shared. “I really care about the resort, the town and the people and, at such a young age, I feel really fortunate, passionate about our becoming even more successful.

“I want everyone to see what I see; we have a great mountain and community.”

Freeman went on to say that she owes a lot to the local media, “They have been very supportive and positive to me since I began. I’ve learned a lot by trial and error.”

Wanting to get more locals and young people involved is a primary goal of Freeman and she has two new programs that she hopes will forward her ambition. She has been working with Lees-McRae initiating a new intern program, and in January, the mountain will launch a learn-to-ski/ride challenge targeted to area residents, including students.

“I’ve been helping out with local fundraisers. I’m really trying to make more affordable opportunities for our local students to get involved,” Freeman continued.

This summer, the mountain increased both its snowmaking capacity and terrain – more than doubling its training area and adding 10 SMI Automated Polecats. Freeman recently had an opportunity to witness the impact of the new snowmaking machines.

“By chance, I got to see firsthand what those new guns can do. I had car trouble back in the last snowstorm. I was close to the snowmaking center so I hung out there for hours watching the operation while waiting for my car. I was amazed. The amount of snow those new polecats put out is incredible. Conditions on the slopes this year should surpass anything in past seasons.”

According to local reports, attendance at Beech Mountain Resort’s opening weekend surprised those who annually ski and ride there on opening day. The crowd was the largest in recent memory, a good sign that the resort’s renaissance is gathering steam and all the new generation’s hard work and ingenuity will pay future dividends to our entire High Country region.

“We can’t take our resorts for granted,” Freeman said. “They mean so much to our local economy. We get lots of dollars from tourism. I feel super blessed and happy to be here; I’m really lucky.”