Eric Church Recalls Getting Fired From A Ski Resort In College After Someone Got Hurt Because Of Him

Eric Church country music
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I think it all worked out for Eric Church anyways…

But this is a great story.

In a feature with Country Weekly magazine around the time of the release of his second studio album Carolina in 2009, Eric recalled all the jobs he had in college and leading up to his graduation and subsequent move to Nashville in pursuit of a country music career.

He says that while attending college at Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina (he graduated in 2000), he worked in the cafeteria, cleaned bathrooms, and eventually got a job at one of the local ski resorts, Appalachian Ski Mountain, where he adjusted skis.

Though apparently, that was pretty short-lived, because one night I guess he didn’t quite do it properly, and some guy ended up hurting himself coming down the mountain because his ski didn’t release… Eric says the guy “twisted his leg” and they traced it back to him.

So yeah, that was pretty much the end of that:

“In college I worked in the cafeteria. Then I cleaned bathrooms. Then I went from cleaning bathrooms to adjusting skis.

And my career doin’ that ended when one night I ended up hurtin’ some guy (he laughs) who was comin’ down the mountain. I had done it wrong and his ski didn’t release. It ended up twistin’ his leg and they traced it back to me.

Hope he’s doin’ well now. So that was the end of Appalachian Ski Mountain. After that I started playing shows.”

I learned to ski on that mountain, and I have to say, the ski releasing is pretty imperative as I’ve had one or two tumbles (okay maybe a few more than that…) that probably could’ve been a lot worse had they not popped off properly.

But like I said, in the long run, it worked out.

And it doesn’t sound like the injury was too severe, and if that wouldn’t have happened, who knows how long it would’ve been until Eric started his college band The Mountain Boys. They became a popular act in Western North Carolina, and the rest, as they say, is history.

In the interview, Eric also talked about the inspiration behind “Carolina” and how it came to him after a show in Charlotte many years ago:

“I actually started that song one night [after] we had played Charlotte. And we didn’t have time to go home. We had to leave Charlotte and play something near Nashville the next day.

I hadn’t been home in a long time, and we passed the exit on this bus that would take me home… and we couldn’t take it. We had to go on back to Nashville.”

He continued:

“It’s a real… melancholy, tough feeling. It’s homesickness; it’s a lot of things. Your life has kind of got in the way of bein’ able to do some things you want to do.

I grabbed the guitar and immediately in my mind went to where I call home. A lot of people think that’s Granite, and I love Granite Falls, I’m from there… very proud to be from there.

My family’s there. But home for me is 100 acres that was my grandpa’s land. It still is home.”

Turn it up…


Eric Church Recalls Pulling All-Nighters At Waffle House After Gigs In College: “Hash Brown & Ketchup Stains On The Paper”

When Eric Church said “I like my country rockin’, how ’bout you?” he meant it.

You may recall he was infamously kicked off the Rascal Flatts tour in 2006 for playing too loud and going over his allotted set time, which proved to be a great thing for him in the long run of his career.

And actually, unbeknownst to practically everyone at the time, that was nothing out of the ordinary for the then-rising country music superstar.

Not too far down the road from where he recorded his 2021 Heart & Soul triple album, a delicious place called Woodlands Barbeque used to be a local favorite of locals in the High Country.

It was a completely wood-paneled, rustic, no-frills, and of course home to some damn good Carolina barbeque. It’s hard to imagine now that he got his start at a small, unassuming barbeque joint nestled in the vast Blue Ridge Mountains, but he did.

And in typical Church fashion, the wait staff would have to run him off during his sets because people would stay too long at their tables watching him.

More customer equals more tips… it’s not hard to see why they didn’t like it. Personally, I cannot imagine a better meal than pulled-pork with a side of Eric Church crushing an acoustic version of “These Boots.”

Because of his natural talent and incomparable ability to entertain, Eric secured his first regular gig playing there by the summer of his junior year of college. Luke Combs also played there on Sundays back in his college days, cutting his teeth on the same bar circuit as his musical hero did years prior.

It wasn’t long after all that when Eric, his late brother, his roommate, and another guitarist formed a band called The Mountain Boys, and Eric and company were playing various bars and restaurants around the same small town of Boone, North Carolina, while he attended college at Appalachian State University.

The rest is history… and as the story goes, Eric took his father up on the deal they’d made that his dad would fund his first year in Nashville so long as Eric graduated college first.

In a 2013 interview with Appalachian Today, Eric detailed the struggle in finding balance holding up his end of the bargain:

“There were a lot of nights when I’d be driving up the mountain at 4 a.m. when I had an 8 o‘clock class.

I remember writing papers and homework at the 24-hour Waffle House on (Hwy.) 321 in Lenoir, then coming into class with hash brown and ketchup stains on the paper.

I’d still not been to bed, and the professors knew what I was doing. It about killed me, but it’s fun to look back on now.”

Eric still goes back to his home state as often as he can, and was even honored with the prestigious North Carolina Award last year by Governor Roy Cooper because of his outstanding contributions to the state.

He’s certainly come a long way from turning in papers with ketchup stains from the Waffle House…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock