Tom Alexander purchased a piece of property in Haywood County in 1938. He believed the area would make a great ski slope. His plans were put on hold during the Second World War, but Alexander persevered. He opened a ski slope on December 21, 1961. It was North Carolina's first ski slope. Now there are ten slopes in North Carolina that serve over 338,000 skiers a year, all thanks to Tom Alexander and the Cataloochee Ski Ranch.