BLOWING ROCK — Skiers in Blowing Rock don’t usually take to the slopes with flags on their backs. But many Rotary Exchange students, living temporarily in Tennessee and North Carolina, celebrated world peace Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 with their colors flowing behind them.

Twenty students from eleven countries on five continents assembled in Blowing Rock to ski at Appalachian Ski Mountain, where they were generously hosted.

The Blowing Rock Conference Center provided housing. Rotarian Alice Salthouse, who organizes the local effort each year, provided snacks and supplies, with help from Rotarian Bill Leahey. The Mellow Mushroom fed the group with remarkable pizzas. Rotarian Jim Clabough and his wife Karen hosted a barbecue dinner on Saturday with fare provided by Woodland’s Barbeque.

Skiers got to know one another and feast on local specialties.

Rotarian Jim Zellner and his wife Joyce helped the visitors feel at home. Students and Rotarians exchanged hospitality and humor and the guests left with greater knowledge of the High Country and life in this part of the U. S.

Fred Reidinger, architect and Rotarian from Brevard, who coordinates student transportation to Blowing Rock, declared that this experience was even better than last year.

Skiers are part of Rotary Exchange, which brings students from different countries for extended visits in countries far away from their own. Students skiing in Blowing Rock had already spent time in High Country towns but not spent together.

Many had never seen snow, much less propelled themselves down snowy slopes.

The international ski exchange energizes the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock at a time of year when many people face the winter doldrums. Flags and students and skiing change all that and, thanks to young international visitors, Exchange students and Rotarians see a larger world beyond.

Once, George Washington admonished his countrymen “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” Rotary International continues this mission with its Rotary Exchange.

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