Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, N.C., has invested more than $1.2 million in capital improvements over the summer, as it enters its 49th year of operation.

The list of improvements includes upgrades in snowmaking and grooming, the key ingredients in creating reliable trail surfaces.

Cataloochee bought two new Pisten Bully snow groomers.

The resort also installed 13,000 feet of new snowmaking pipeline, and replaced 24 snowmaking guns with automatic fan guns and installed a six-stick automatic snowgun system on the Alley Cat Racing Trail.

The new fan guns are all automatic, making for faster startup as temperatures drop into snowmaking range, and more efficient use of compressed air to transform water into snow.

Cataloochee GM Chris Bates said, "We continue to expand our snowmaking system which allows us to utilize these early colder temperatures and allow us to open as early as we can."

The resort  also added a second terrain park with four new snow guns.

Cataloochee also upgraded its rental equipment, with the replacement of all adult boots and 700 adult skis in its main rental shop.

Cataloochee has 14 slopes - including two new trails, a quad chair, a triple, a double and two conveyors, a vertical drop of 740 feet, 25 acres of skiable terrain with 100 percent snowmaking coverage, and 10 slopes lighted for night skiing.

More information. Or call 800-768-0285.