The building of Sugar Top became the most controversial living quarters in the history of North Carolina, and because of this, the Avery County Board of Commissioners passed a moratorium in March of 1983 on all High Rise construction in the county, in anticipation of a State Ridge Law. That Ridge Law made Sugar Top the last of it’s kind to be built on the ridge of a mountain, and that law was made even before the building was occupied. However, all 320 units were planned and designed well before the battle for the statewide ridge top development regulation began in the legislature. Therefore, Sugar Top is exempt from the law’s provisions. The exclusivity that the Ridge Law gave Sugar Top had proven to be a boon for the developers.
Sugar Top Lodging as we know her, was about to grow into the proud strong fortress that she is today. She started her life with three huge concrete and steel structures, already 10 stories high, one at each end of the building and the third on in the middle. These structures held the staircases, and were the end markings for all 320 condos to be attached together to form the 10 story High Rise. The entire building is a magnificent structure of steel and concrete, and completely fire proof. The huge round columns that are quite prominent everywhere, are steel and concrete. There are several hundred such columns, and they go down deep into the mountain sixty, one hundred, and more feet to insure how sturdy she is.
In addition to skiing, the area offers other sporting activities such as golf, white water rafting, horse back riding, and hiking and bike trails. Banner Elk is home to Lees-McRae College’s Summer Theatre program, the Natural History Museum located at the top of Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.