I’ve been wanting to highlight this cool chick for several months, but I wanted to wait for the PERFECT time, and I declare this to be it ;-). With this long holiday weekend I know so many Smarties hitting the slopes with their families – you might even remember my post from earlier in the week about how we survived a family-of-six ski trip. Well, our survival depended a lot on this week’s Smarty Mom. Her advice, knowledge, and patience with my many, many, MANY texts enabled us to have an awesome skiing experience.
Meet Shawn Williams. You might’ve heard her name from our Smarty fashion giveaways – she’s a stylist with La Senorita Jolie (one of our fave lines!). But, you might be surprised to know that this Charlotte mama plays a key role in one of North Carolina’s most popular ski resorts – Beech Mountain Ski Resort. Read on to hear more about her story and how she juggles a demanding career AND four boys (five if you include her hubby ;-)).
Shawn’s one of the most hardworking moms I know, her one-liners will have you cackling, and she’s got supermodel hair. That’s right – she’s the whole package.
Smarties, meet Shawn!
Smarty Mom: Shawn Williams
Smarty Mom Stats:
Married to: Matt Williams married for 12 years (but we started dating in high school)
Children: Conner 9, Ben 6, Davis 5, Jack 3 (4 on 2/8)
Years in Charlotte: Born and raised- crazy I know!
Hometown: The Queen City
Alma Mater: NC State – WOLFPACK!
Tell us a little bit about your family’s history with Beech Mountain Ski Resort. It sounds crazy to say that I live in Charlotte and work for a ski resort, but I do. My grandfather got into the resort business before I was born and acquired Beech Mountain in 1986, so I grew up around it. Six years ago, we made some big changes – my Dad remained President, but myself and both my brothers became heavily involved in the day-to-day management/operations.
What’s your role in the business? It’s a small business, so we all wear a lot of “hats”. I handle the bulk of the HR and Finance related items, but also manage the Retail Sales component of the resort. But wherever we are needed, we jump in!
What are some things that make Beech Mountain Ski Resort different? First, a little known fact – Beech is the highest elevation ski resort on the East Coast (at 5,506 ft). Over the past several seasons, we’ve invested heavily in our snow making operations and infrastructure to try to provide the best possible product on the mountain for our customers. There can be a lot of variation in North Carolina winters, so we have upgraded our snow making capabilities to an amazing level. We are now able to cover the mountain with snow in record time. Of course, Mother Nature helps too, with an average of roughly 85 inches of natural snow each year! We have 95 skiable acres, the only high speed quad chairlift in North Carolina, 7 total lifts, 16 total ski trails, 2 terrain parks, and an ice skating rink. A few other new additions – our own onsite brewery – Beech Mountain Brewing Company and our newly opened Sky Bar called 5506′ at the top of the mountain.
What are some tips for parents who might be ready to expose their kids to skiing or snowboarding? Definitely sign up for Ski School! As a mom of 4, I’ve seen firsthand how it can be intimidating for the kids on their first time out. Fortunately, our Ski School staff is amazing and makes the kids feel safe, comfortable and have fun.
Beech Mountain has lots of ways for kids AND parents to feel more comfortable on skis or snowboards. Tell us a little about the lessons and camps you offer.
We have so many options for ALL ages to get out and get on skis! No one should ever be afraid to take a lesson – seriously. Our group and private lessons are great for anyone and all ages but for kids, I always recommend Ski School. We have a great Ski School with options starting at 3 years old! Snow Kamp is for ages 3-5 and First Traxx for ages 6-14. Both programs run 9am-3pm, include gear, lift tickets, instruction and lunch. Snow Kamp is a little lighter on the instruction and mixes in a bunch of playtime to make sure the little guys ease into their experience. First Traxx steps up the instruction a bit and the kids are grouped based on experience/ability (but still with plenty of breaks to come in and warm up). For the snowboarders, we have a brand new Burton Learn to Ride program – a full day program for ages 6 and up, which includes new Burton gear, lift tickets, instruction and lunch. Honestly, all of these options are great!
We LOVE going to Beech Mountain in the summer, too!! What kinds of things can families do up there when there’s all grass and no snow? Going to the mountains in the summer is awesome- escaping 95+ temps here in Charlotte can be so nice! In the summer the resort offers mountain biking, scenic lift rides, the brewery, and disc golf. But you can hike, play putt-putt, fish, rafting, tube, golf- seriously I could go on but people need to know how nice it is to get to a higher elevation!
Family’s favorite outdoor activity to do together (that’s not skiing! ;-))? If you asked Matt and the boys, they’d say hunting, but I’m assuming you’re looking for something we ALL like to do. When the boys are old enough that Matt can take all 4 hunting and I can get a little quiet time alone, then maybe I’ll say hunting too. But for now, Lake Livin’, we had a blast up at Lake Norman the past few summers. It’s hard for us to get too far away from skiing, so of course the boys love to water ski and tube.
Favorite place to eat out with the kids? Nakato – the kids LOVE it!
Favorite date night spot? What’s a “date night”? With 4 kids and our schedules, that’s become a tall order. But when we do escape, we’ve been on an Indian kick lately with Copper, followed by a few drinks and desert at Foxcroft Wine Bar. I mean, have you tried the donuts?!?!
Idea of a perfect day? I love being in the mountains with my crew. Ideal day would be about 40, sunny, everyone skiing, and when we are done sit by a fire and unwind! Well, I would have a glass of wine or 2 and we can call it a day.
Best part of being a mom to ALL boys? Wow- this is hard…I mean honestly I never saw this wild life coming and it has brought me more joy than I could have asked for. My boys are seriously awesome and I am just going to say that when everyone told me “boys love their mama” they were right. I mean I could go on and on about my boys, but my 4 little wingmen make me a better person!
Your secret to keeping your sanity when juggling it ALL?
Am I? Well, that is good to know! Just like all moms, I have good and bad days, and some days are just ok. But the amazing days when it all comes together, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be able to juggle this crazy life. An amazing husband, four wild boys that I adore, a job that I love, an incredible family, and a support system that makes it all work! How lucky am I? I mean seriously, how could I not be happy with all that I have? I am just trying to keep perspective, there will be days where I am not on my A-game but I hope the days that I am shine through!