Sugar Mountain Resort in North Carolina traditionally celebrates winter with SugarFest, two days of early season fun, set this year for Dec. 11-12.

The mountain opens for skiing and riding around Thanksgiving, depending on weather conditions, but SugarFest is the first big winter festival.

This year's SugarFest coincides with Sugar's 17th annual Adult Preseason Ski Clinic, headlined by Olympians Diann Roffe and Krista Schmidinger, and 2010 U.S. national Super G champion Keely Kelleher.

Salomon, Volkl, Nordica, Burton, Head, Never Summer, K2, Atomic, Dynastar, Rossignol, Ride, Line, Fisher, and Forum will be there with brand new ski and snowboard equipment for people to try 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days.

Olympian Paul Wylie will showcase his figure skating talent and then run an on-ice skating clinic and a meet-and-greet session at 3 p.m. Sunday on Sugar's ice rink.

Sugar's Tubing Park will be open if the weather cooperates.

Other activities also are planned, including a snowball eating contest at 3 p.m. Saturday, where contestants have two minutes to eat as many tasty snowball look-a-likes as their stomach can stomach; and a fireworks display at 5:45 p.m. Saturday; bluegrass music from Boss Hawg 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday; the Edge of the World/Burton Rail Jam at noon on Sunday; and an ice sculpture competition.

SugarFest is sponsored by the Village of Sugar Mountain Tourism Development Authority and hosted by Sugar Mountain Resort.

Lodges in the village are offering discounted rates for accommodations.

More information. Or call 800-784-2768.