Asheville’s back on the international stage with the return of a world-class tennis event whose new name aligns it with a global icon who has dedicated her life to fighting injustice, inequality and discrimination in all forms. The United States’ Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas (formerly the Fed Cup) will take place April 15-16, 2022, at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, playing host for the third time in five years. The competition will be a qualifying matchup versus Ukraine. Asheville will become the second U.S. city in history to be selected to host the event three times. In recent years, Asheville has landed such quality athletic competitions as the Maui Invitational, the Southern Conference and Big South basketball championships, the inaugural Asheville Championship, iconic outdoor events like Haute Route and Spartan Race, as well as extreme trail races such as the Black Mountain Marathon and Mount Mitchell Challenge.
- A Blue Ridge Base for Elite Female Athletes: Outdoor adventure in the Blue Ridge is fit for all abilities, but the region is a playground for world-class athletes, too. Jennifer Pharr Davis is one of them. She’s a 2012 “National Geographic Adventurer of the Year” and broke long-distance hiking records on the Appalachian Trail — 2,100 miles in 46 days. Learn a bit of her trekking craft by taking a customized trip suitable for novices or groups with Davis’ business, Blue Ridge Hiking Company, which has a storefront in downtown Asheville. Runners and bikers can venture up the hills and trails that are the training routes of champions like ultra-running distance champion Anne Lundblad and hometown hero cyclist Lauren Tamayo, a 2012 London Olympics silver medalist. And, get your yin and yang in order on a stand-up paddle board (“SUP”) yoga session or learn whitewater basics from a former champion, Canadian kayak team member and founder of Girls at Play, Anna Levesque. Most recently, Lily Williams, a 27-year-old Asheville resident, earned a gold medal for the women’s team pursuit event at the 2020 track cycling World Championships and a bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Want more 2022 news? Click here to view 22 (and then some!) transformational travel stories for the year ahead. Beyond the “what’s new” factor are the ever-inspiring histories, untold stories and trailblazers leading the way in this lively mountain city.