Life at Mountain Air near Asheville, N.C., has proven so picturesque and inviting that many members and their families now find themselves enjoying the high life 12 months a year.
BURNSVILLE, N.C. (MARCH 2013) – The most storied private golf course communities are located near mountains, oceans, lakes or deserts — and the reason is clear. Whether full-time or seasonal residents, members look beyond golf to a full array of recreational opportunities providing a total experience for their families.
That’s what makes Mountain Air so special. With the 6,784-foot peak of Mount Mitchell punctuating the eastern horizon, Mountain Air appears to literally float in the clouds. With all its homes and activities pristinely perched nearly a mile above sea level, atop Slickrock Mountain, Mountain Air provides its residents the most scenic long-range views and the coolest summer temperatures in the Western North Carolina mountains.
Yet, the winter months around Mountain Air are temperate enough and the community is perpetually bustling with activity. Which is why, now — for a growing portion of members who live there year-round or drive or fly up nearly every weekend — home is truly where the mountain is.
About one-quarter of the Mountain Air members fly their own planes directly into the community’s 2,875-foot paved, private runway at 4,400 feet above sea level. For those who arrive by car, a recently renovated four-lane highway makes the ride from Asheville short and gorgeous. Then, the 2,000-foot climb from Mountain Air’s front gate to its mountaintop clubhouse allows just the right amount of time for the worries of the world below to melt away.
As with most mountain communities, the season runs from the end of May until the end of October. Yet, Mountain Air Country Club General Manager Andy Singleton said during winter months the club holds a Dinner Social every Friday night — when anyone who is on the mountain is invited. “Typically 30-60 people attend,” said Singleton. “We get lots of regular weekend traffic during the winter. About 75-100 members will visit during any weekend.”
Peter and Katherine Royen have become fixtures at the Friday night dinners since relocating to Mountain Air from Toledo, Ohio in October 2008 — comfortably enjoying Mountain Air’s mile-high majesty as opposed to very flat Toledo.
The couple, both retired doctors, are involved in all aspects of Mountain Air yet rotate activities with the seasons. Peter hits the fitness center twice a week all winter but rarely in the summer, when he plays a lot of golf. If the winter weather allows, of course, he is either on the golf course or hitting balls in the heated bays.
In addition, Mountain Air has earned a reputation for serving some of the best food in western North Carolina. The community holds about 300 special events a year with names such as “Salamander Safari” and “Gourmet Golf,” where chefs are stationed on various tee boxes around the golf course and tuxedoed waiters serve the golfers a culinary course of their meal. Mountain Air Country Club features a dynamic Scott Pool designed golf course that plunges an astounding 900 feet in just 11 holes, but golf is just one of the many reasons people choose Mountain Air.
“Mountain Air is probably as family oriented as any community out there,” said Singleton. “We have a resident naturalist and numerous completely different activities offered year-round. We have an excellent therapist, heated swimming pool and hot tub, a good inter-looping trail system for hiking and our organic garden has been a real community builder. There’s something for everybody. You certainly don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy or be part of the community.”