Pros: Well-groomed, wider trails, good facilities, very clean/updated, ski school
Cons: poor rental equipment for kids, uncomfortable chair servicing Lower Shawneehaw
This review is for the one day I did at Beech mountain. It occurred in mid-January about three days following 5" of natural snow and colder temps to keep the snow around.
Many positives at Beech, just a couple of negatives only.
I was impressed with the drive up to Beech. Actually had a little ski village of shops that was clean and up to date. Obviously not on the scale of out West, but neither is the mountain and they do a very nice job with what they have.
Once I parked at Beech I was equally impressed with how great of shape everything is in. They obviously have done some renovating and updating and it shows. The buildings are nice, as is the ski school. The registration was in an adjacent building to the ski school, which was a huge open space with lots of freshly painted cubbies, painted walls, and a little kitchen area for the staff to use.
The newly built all-enclosed Yurt structure is very nice. This bar at the top of the mountain is made of glass and wood and has heaters inside. They serve their locally brewed beers, hot chocolate, chips, and some assorted candy bars. There is an adjacent structure that serves quick grill food. My daughter got a 1/4 lb Nathan's all beef hot dog that was good. Unfortunately I cannot comment on the actual dining lodge at the bottom because I did not go in it. It looked very nice though...
There were two old and clunky chairs that I rode, one which was very short servicing the green terrain, and one servicing the easier blue Lower Sharneehaw. The one servicing the blue was quite uncomfortable as it had the vinyl bars running across the seat to sit on as opposed to a solid structure. BUT, the other chairs that I rode were nice. The high-speed lift going to the summit was a nice chair as was the chair servicing Oz. So once you get off the easier terrain at Beech the lifts are good.
The terrain was in great shape. The trails were nicely groomed and wide. Maybe not quite as long as the trails at nearby Sugar mountain, but in my opinion the width and good grooming more than make up for the slightly shorter trails. The staff at Beech really do a good job with the grooming. I cannot comment on the harder trails at Beech because I was unable to ski them (was with my daughter and we only did Oz and Upper Shawneehaw one time). From what I saw they looked good. The terrain park was very accessible, had a variety of jump features/heights, and was well-maintained.
My overall impression of lift operator attitude was that they were wither reasonably happy to be at work or were trained to have a smile on their face. The one time my daughter needed assistance at the top of the lift they were extremely helpful.
I cannot comment on their snowmaking operation as the machines were not going during my mini-trip. As I mentioned though the grooming was great.
Locker cost is $5 for a small and $10 for a large for the day. These lockers are right by the base of the mountain and are conveniently located. Unless you have a huge bag, the small is sufficient to hold your footwear and other miscellaneous items.
I did a separate review for Sugar, but since these are in the same area I will say that if I had to pick one resort, I prefer Beech.