Ski Sapphire Valley:   In 1964, 10 years after the Howerdd family developed Sapphire Valley Resort, Mr. and Mrs. Gene Howerdd, Jr.  brought southern skiing to the Cashiers- Sapphire Valley area!

After several years of travelling over to Cataloochee Ski Area, Gene became convinced that Sapphire Valley could support a ski area. Construction of the ski area began in early 1964 along with the Hogback Lake residential area. 

“To encourage real estate sales,  buyers received a free membership to the newly built ski area that provided unlimited skiing for the first several years” Gene stated. 

Those early Ski Sapphire members also received a set of custom skis complete with their names engraved in them. Last fall the Sapphire Valley Historical Society was fortunate to be given the first set of skis issued in 1964! A new owner of a house on Hogback Lake found a set of old skis in his basement which happened to be owned by an original Ski Sapphire Valley member.  Hearing about the Society’s search for historical artifacts, he donated them.

In a presentation that took place just before the Great Outhouse Races Saturday, Mr. and Mrs. Howerdd presented the skis to the Sapphire Valley Master Association in celebration of Ski Sapphire Valley’s 50th anniversary. 

Pictured here, right to left, Rick Stargel, Pres. Sapphire Valley Historical Society, Gene Howerdd, Marty Howerdd, and Walt Green, Pres. Sapphire Valley Master Association.

The skis will be mounted, and, along with other historical images and artifacts, hang in the ‘Historical Hall’ in Sapphire Valley’s Community Center.

The History of Sapphire Valley

Sapphire VAlley Historical Society


Ski Sapphire Valley

Press Release: 


As seen the the Cashiers Crossroads Chronicle February 25 issue.


Visit the paper online here.