Sugar Mountain, Banner Elk, North Carolina
Located 2 miles east of Banner Elk in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sugar Mountain Resort (North Carolina’s largest ski area) boasts 1,155 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 1,200 feet. This popular resort offers roughly 5 miles of skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing areas, including 20 ski trails (15 of which are lighted for night skiing) and multiple tubing runs. There are four double chairlifts, including two of the longest in North Carolina, one triple chairlift, one T-bar, one handle tow, and two magic carpets.
With just as many skiable acres as some resorts in New England, and various lodging and dining options nearby, Sugar Mountain is a must-go weekend trip for southern skiers.
Appalachian Ski Mtn., Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Located in quaint Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Ski Mtn. was the first ski area in northwestern North Carolina (then called Blowing Rock Ski Lodge). This family-oriented resort features 10 slopes accessed by two quad chairlifts, one double chairlift, one conveyor lift, and one handle pull lift. The longest run, Orchard Run, winds a half-mile down the mountain. Kids can test their skills on three terrain parks, serviced by three separate lifts, and the 6,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink and night skiing provide hours of fun for the whole family. Appalachian Ski Mtn. offers fun events like a Ladies Park Night and even hosts a USASA-sanctioned boardercross and skiercross competition.
Cataloochee Ski Area, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
Easily reached from I-40, Cataloochee Ski Area is located in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Here, skiers and snowboarders can choose from 18 slopes and trails with a 44 percent beginner, 39 percent intermediate, and 17 percent advanced to expert mix. The five lifts include one double, a triple, a quad, and two moving carpet surface lifts. Cat Cage Terrain Park is filled with fun jumps, rails, and boxes for snowboarders and skiers alike. Nearby Tube World (also run by the resort) offers one-hour sessions on their groomed tubing hill serviced by a magic carpet service lift.
Beech Mountain Resort, Beech Mountain, North Carolina
At 5,506 feet above sea level, Beech Mountain Resort is the highest ski resort in eastern North America (a claim that surpasses all of Vermont’s world-class resorts). This private development started hosting skiers in the mid-1960s and now includes 17 trails serviced by nine lifts, a terrain park, complete with rails, boxes, tubes, and a rope tow, and a 7,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink. A charming Alpine-style village sits at the mountain’s base, complete with an on-site brewery, Beech Mountain Brewing Co., as well as a two-story lodge, rental and souvenir shops, and an outdoor fire pit.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, Mars Hill, North Carolina
Rounding out North Carolina’s ski meccas is Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, located only 30 minutes from the college town of Asheville, North Carolina. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort offers skiers and riders 14 runs serviced by two quad chairlifts, two double chairlifts, and one surface lift. Boardwalk, a half-mile trail that is part of the Breakaway section of the mountain, winds through a ski tunnel and contains a terrain park that offers plenty of freestyle action. A free shuttle service transports you 1 mile down the mountain to the 350-foot-long tube park, complete with full snowmaking capabilities. Round out your stay by booking one of Wolf Mountain Reality’s 25 cabins for a weekend family getaway.