Mill Ridge

Near Boone, North Carolina

Mill Ridge was a small ski area off of Highway 105 between Boone and Linville, North Carolina. The area may have operated in the late 1970s and early 1980s. If you have any information or memories about Mill Ridge, please let us know.

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Reader Comments

Pete Montaldi
December 25, 2004
Information about Mill Ridge and the ghost ski areas of North Carolina can be found in The Mountain Times online at
May 24, 2005
Being a younger skiier I never got the chance to enjoy Mill Ridge while it was open for skiing. I did read the article in the Mountian Times while at work, and I thought I should check it out and walk a few of the trails. After I did, I reported back to a few friends that it looked like a blast but I wouldn't ski it with any less than 8" of snow on the ground. Luckly Mother Nature blessed us with 10" two days later. It is a beautiful trail system and an incredibly fun ski run. Most importantly be safe and use your head, but also remember that it is private property so get permission before going out there.
December 3, 2005
My grandparents have a house in Mill Ridge. We would go visit them up there, but at the time i was just a kid. I was only 10 when it closed, but I do remember it being alive with people. One of the runs, to the right if looking down the mountain, was across the street and down a long hill from the house. The lot my brother and i went through is still vacant. We would sit and watch skiiers fall as they got off the lift and throw snowballs at people who saw us hiding in the trees. Now 22, i was planning a ski trip and thought about the slopes at Mill Ridge, wishing they were still alive. I'll be going up there in a few weeks and hope to walk the slopes.
March 3, 2006
I learned to ski there back in the 80's. I even had a season pass one year. That was a record setting year for snowfall. Since we lived close, on those heavy snow days I would be the only one on the hill skiing waist deep powder. Those were the days.

I even met a girl on vacation one day that winter and had my first kiss on the slopes. Too bad they closed it down. I'd go back and ski again if I could.
March 29, 2006
awwww that's so sweet!! why did they close it down?
August 29, 2007
I also learned to ski at Mill Ridge. I was 8 years old so it was 1983. The last time I remember skiing there was 1990 season. One lift with an S turn at top and down the main slope you went. It was rarely crowded and a great place for beginners/intermediate skiers!
Tammy Jett
January 2, 2008
My husband and I loved to go there in the 80's. Me not being a great skier really loved the gentle slopes and the mobles when you got off of the lift. It was one ski slope that was not overcrowded and you got plenty of ski time. It was good for the inexperienced to intermediate skiers. I have so many good memories from my times there! It was a blast and we would still go there it it hadn't closed.
Reg Robinson
April 25, 2008
Fond Memories!

I bought Mill Ridge in the mid 70's and operated it for a number of years. It had operated several years prior to my purchase but I am not certain as to the date of its origin.

My family learned to ski at Mill Ridge but there never seemed to be enough free time for me to get the hang of it. On the few occasions I tried,I drew an audience of jeering,laughing ski bums so, in preservation of whatever dignity I could salvage, I discontinued my attempts. It was a grand time.

Mill Ridge Ski Mountain was a fun place to be and the atmosphere was always joyous. The people came to play and play they did! I remember an older gentleman who came on the weekends. He was always alone and he never had much to say to anyone. He just wanted to ski. He started in the morning and skied all day. He would take a break for lunch and then it was back to skiing. From time to time, he would lift a ski above the snow to rest a leg, then he would rest the other leg as he glided smoothly down the mountain, then he would ski..and ski...whistling or singing to the latest Bee Gees disco music coming from the PA system. It was as if he was on the clock. What an interesting fellow.

A brief and amusing (true)story shared by the staff during my tenure: A lady from Florida arrived with friends at Mill Ridge early in the morning on a wintery, cloudy day. There had not been a natural snowfall at that point of the season and she was amazed to see all of the man-made snow on the mountain. She engaged one of the snowmakers in conversation as he was entering the lodge at the end of his shift. She expressed her intrique and began asking questions as to the procedure of the snow-making operation. As they were talking, a natural snow fall began quite suddenly. She looked up..then looked at the workman in amazement and said, "there is some snow now. Are you making that?

The people who visited Mill Ridge Ski Mountain made it the fun place it was. The facility wasn't much; just a chair lift, a few slopes, a rental section and a sandwich shop. The people brought the fun atmosphere with their joy and laughter. My three sons still recall fondly their experiences at Mill Ridge and I am sure there are thousands who have the same pleasant memories.
November 20, 2008
I skiied Mill Ridge once!! I am not a good skier, but I had SO much fun on the bunny slope. We were going up on the tow rope when a person in front of me fell, so they stopped the rope. Well a lady behind me decided this was a good time to squat down and fix something on her boot. As she was in the tuck position she started sliding backwards getting faster and faster as she went down the hill. She was screaming "how do I stop!" I was yelling just fall over, but she wouldn't do it. People were jumping to get out of her way, and all she could do is scream "how do I stop" I was laughing so hard I could hardly stand up myself. At the bottom finally two guys jumped on her and got her stopped. 26 years later....I'm still laughing. I've decided that the people on the bunny hills laugh alot more than the more experienced ones. Laughter IS the best memory to have.
November 13, 2009
I have one of the red ski lift chairs from Mill Ridge I am selling. If interested please call 407 491-1448
D. Barbeau
November 23, 2009
I worked at Hawksnest as the Rental dept. manager in 89-90 when Mill bump, as we called it closed. We bought a lot of their rental equipment and other useful stuff. Thats when John Reynolds owned the Nest. It did have the steepest run in the east, but it was only 10 yards vertical at most.
DCSki Reader
February 5, 2010
Wow so glad I found this, I learned to ski at mill ridge when I was 17, this was in 1987. My brother went to school at App state, so i would come up every weekend to ski.My love for Mill Ridge grew so that I joined the ski patrol and served at Mill Ridge for a number of years. Lou Pitts was the owner then, his Daughter Elizabeth and I became very close Friends. I made a lot of friends up there. I will never forget my days going up and down those slopes helping injured skiers and watching everyone enjoying life. Some of the best memories of my life. I hated the day that it closed.
DCSki Reader
February 5, 2010
Wow so glad I found this, I learned to ski at mill ridge when I was 17, this was in 1987. My brother went to school at App state, so i would come up every weekend to ski.My love for Mill Ridge grew so that I joined the ski patrol and served at Mill Ridge for a number of years. Lou Pitts was the owner then, his Daughter Elizabeth and I became very close Friends. I made a lot of friends up there. I will never forget my days going up and down those slopes helping injured skiers and watching everyone enjoying life. Some of the best memories of my life. I hated the day that it closed.
Elizabeth Pitts
February 11, 2010
To the post above this one -You go Mike!!!! I'm still looking for those old pics for FB!! LOL

My name is Elizabeth Pitts, and my Father, Lou Pitts, was the owner of Mill Ridge from the early 80's until it's close in the late 80's. Lou was an avid skier and a member of the National Ski Patrol since around the age of 18, and was actually awarded a 50 year lifetime acheivement award from the NSP. His love for skiing took him on vacation from the beaches and palm trees of South Florida where his coffee service and roasting business thrived to the smaller area of Boone, NC. where he found a ski resort for sale, known as "Mill Ridge" and bought it. Over the years, he made many upgrades and improvements steadily to the slope, turning it into a resort of family fun and entertainment. He expanded the lodge with a second level and picture windows to showcase the slopes at night with a full service restaurant, purchased new snow making equipment, and built a state of the art First Aid facility, nothing short of a small hospital, for the Ski Patrollers and people who were injured. Later, in the mid-80's Mr. Pitts also expanded the restaurant to include a bar with a stage for local performers and bands, along with video games that were 80's popular like Ms Pacman and Gallactica. His final contribution before it's close a few years later, was an amazing karaoke recording booth, much like an operation he saw in Nashville, so skiers and non-skiers alike could enjoy singing their favorite music and remembering their trip to Mill Ridge!
It was a smaller resort tucked off in the Mountains- it's claim to fame was the steepest slope of all the ski slopes in the region up there- but a short run, a "Double Black" Diamond slope, named appropriately "Go for it" -that was an intensive run in which not many dared to conquer. Mill Ridge had 5 "runs" total and was popular for its weekend fun crowds, church groups from Ft. Lauderdale, and night skiing to popular music that was speakered along the trails. After a couple of really bad winters of no snow, and warmer weather, Mr. Pitts had to throw in the towel and Mill Ridge closed. Sadly, no one else ever took the visionary interest in Mill Ridge again- like Mr. Pitts did. It was a beautfiful vacation spot, personalized and fun for all.
I have wonderful memories as a child and through my teen years of the "hot dog" days of fun and shredding the slopes with lots of awesome friends!My Dad just made it a fun place for everyone.. :)
April 16, 2010
It was in the early 80's that a NASA engineer I worked with told me about Mill Ridge. He was friends with the area sales rep in Banner Elk who sold the cabin lots that were just north of the ski slopes. My wife and I went up there and liked the area but she got pregnant and we never purchased a lot. The skiing was great and the people there were friendly.

After hearing about the demise of the ski slopes, I'm saddened but also glad that I didn't purchase a lot there.
December 27, 2010
My parents had a house in Mill Ridge in the early eighties. My freinds and I learned to ski on the hill. As teenagers, we had a blast. One run was called "Go for it", a black diamond that was supposed to be the steepest slope in the east. I can still see my dad crashing below the lift tower in my mind. I am sorry it is no more but the memories are timeless.
October 14, 2011
Mill Ridge is still a resort in the NC mountains. Trails are now in the place of the old ski slope and there is a new lodge in the process of renovation. Ski slopes are near by, cabin rentals are available and all seasons are beautiful! The website for Mill Ridge Resort is
Barbara Ferris
August 27, 2012
I actually lived in one of the roundettes at Mill Ridge in the late 70's. I tried skiing the "bowl" that's what we called it then and that promptly ended my skiing career. I loved the tow rope and the casualness of the place. So sorry to hear that skiing is now a thing of the past, but happy that it is surving in another way.
John Wright
December 22, 2012
I am 43 years old and I can't really remember not being able to ski but I can remember the first time I went. My father grew up in Johnson County Tn. nearer to Bristol, Va./Tn. than to Boone, NC but when he was a kid you could still ride the Tweetsie from Johnson City, Tn. into Boone. I grew up between Bristol and Abingdon,Va. 32 miles as the "crow flies" from Beech Mtn but at least 65 miles by car. That 65 miles is really about 90 min. drive time and though the roads are better that time hasn't changed much since the early 1970's. When I was in Kindergarten I figured out that I did not like school much so I remember events like not having to go to school. Calculating back twelve years from 1986-87 I came up with the school year 1974-75 and I remember vividly leaving the house before sun up and my Dad saying we weren't going to school that day. We arrived at Sugar Mountain to find the place packed and my parents decided to go else where. We ended up at Mill Ridge where my older brother and I skied for the first time. The Boots at that time were still largely made of leather but they were buckle-ups and a majority of rental equipment had Spademan clamp on bindings. My Dad had a pair of 225 cm Kneissl race skis with Dolomite lace up leathers and geze bear traps. I don't remember him skiing on them ever but I'm sure he did at Appalachian Ski Mtn. and maybe Seven Devils, Beech Mtn., or Hound Ears. He seemed to know enough about these places at the time to know they would be packed too if Sugar was. So we ended up at Mill Ridge for the day and we went there a few times after that as well. I wish it was still open so I could take my kids there! Guess Beech or Sugar will have to do!
Buck Smith
February 2, 2013
I built the Mill Ridge ski slope in 1968 or 1969 and left the area shortly after. I,m an old man now, but memories are great. Many contemporaries have passed away. I also did the initial planning and construction at Beech. I remember well clearing the woods for the slopes. I also built the road up beech.
Betty Smith
February 2, 2013
And I am the proud woman who watched it being built and waited for the wedding day to arrive
when Mill Ridge could be left alone long enough
for us to be married. And I still miss NC and the mountains.
Alex Howard
February 21, 2013
Since 2005, We are the proud owners of Two Rock Treehouse on Hemlock Road. Our all season rental cabin is minutes from the Old Ski Slopes and red chairlift. The Slopes are now trails that are covered in wildflowers in the spring and summer. In the snow season, we grab our sledding disk and head to the trails without leaving our community. If you are interested in renting our cabin, contact Alexandra at Id 930061 or Id 380294

Michael Ball
June 18, 2013
I remember the day well, October 1970. I got a call from Buck Smith the original developer of Mill Ridge. I had met Buck a year earlier in the U.S. Virgin Islands where I was teaching flying. Buck worked for the Carolina Caribbean Corp the developer of Beech MT.
"Hey Mike how would like to come down to North Carolina and run my new ski area".
"Why not I replied"
So I said good by to the mountains of Vermont where I taught skiing and spent one of the best years of life helping get Mill Ridge started. Buck nicknamed the area Snow Mass at Foscoe.
I was in Greensboro the other day and drove up to Boone just to see what had happened to the area I was amazed at what exists there now. Thanks Buck for giving me the chance to share your dream.

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