The North Carolina area's French-Swiss Ski College has put more than a million skiers and riders on the slopes.

Instructors at Appalachian Ski Mountain have taught U.S. Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs, West Pointers, Marines and Secret Service Agents, thousands of disabled athletes, and hundreds of thousands of new skiers and snowboarders from the Deep South who have never seen snow.

The school's instructors have learned the value of a solid foundation in skiing and snowboarding, having watched too many people get off to a bad start on their own or with well-meaning friends, never to return.

The French-Swiss Ski College offers group lessons for skiers and riders of all levels, age six and up, in groups of no more than 10. The college also has private lessons, and SKIwee classes.

Appalachian's ski school staff says it takes three times for most people to become comfortable and to feel in control on steeper terrain. That's why they urge new skiers and riders to take a series of at least three lessons.

They say the first lesson helps give a sense of balance; the second lesson moves onto intermediate terrain; and the third develops comfort on that terrain.

Appalachian has 10 slopes, the longest a half-mile long, two terrain parks with 13 rails and eight boxes, a vertical drop of 365 feet, and two quad chairs, a double, and two surface lifts. All terrain is lighted for night skiing.