While the American South isn’t well known for its snowy winters or ski resorts, it does have its fair share of both, in the right locations. Thanks to its mountainous terrain, most notably the Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina boasts six ski resorts to choose from. With a surprising amount of vertical for the East Coast, these ski areas are sure to please.
Asheville, North Carolina is a four-season adventurer’s paradise with some of the nation’s best trails in the summer and quality skiing during the wintertime. Its local ski resorts are hidden gems well worth checking out. Often considered a backpacking mecca and a warm-weather town (and a fantastic place to be during fall), there’s no bad …
Gatlinburg is well-known as Tennessee’s gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, which also means it’s close to a number of ski resorts located along this part of Appalachia. One is situated in Gatlinburg’s backyard while the others are in nearby North Carolina and West Virginia. Whether they’re 15 minutes or 4 hours away, there are …
Charlotte, located near North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is close to half a dozen ski resorts all within reasonable driving distance. Each is 2 to 3 hours away, which may not be ideal for a daytrip, but are excellent for a brief getaway. Most of the resorts are located in the vicinity of Beech Mountain, …
Atlanta has an endless number of things to do for winter entertainment, from light extravaganzas at the Botanical Garden to a nighttime campfire at Stone Mountain. One thing you won’t find in Georgia is a ski resort, due to its mild temperatures and virtually no snowfall. In fact, Atlanta only experiences about 45 to 50 …
Guide to North Carolina’s 6 Ski Resorts
If you’re headed to North Carolina in the winter months and want to ride the Great Smoky Mountains, the state has 6 ski resorts to choose from, all of which feature complete snowmaking abilities. While not often thought of as a ski destination, the Tar Heel State actually has the highest peak in the eastern United States, 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell.
Even the most seasoned of skiers and snowboarders will find slopes to appreciate here. Here’s a look at all the ski areas in North Carolina, in no particular order:
Sugar Mountain Resort — Sugar Mountain
This is largest ski resort in North Carolina, perhaps its most popular, and is only 1.5 hours from Asheville, NC. Founded in the late 1960s during North Carolina’s first major foray into snow sports, this spot has been a local hot spot for more than half a century. The season here usually opens in late November and closes towards the end of March.
There are 125 skiable acres at Sugar Mountain. Eight ski lifts can take skiers to 21 runs, including 8 slopes for beginners, 9 for intermediate, 1 rated difficult, 2 rated for experts, and a double black diamond for the adventurous and talented.
You’ll find 1,200 feet of vertical drop from the summit at 5,300 feet to the base of 4,100 feet. Of the 21 runs, 15 are available for night skiing. For late-season skiers, March Madness-reduced pricing starts after March 7th.
1009 Sugar Mountain Dr., Sugar Mountain, NC 28604 | 828-898-452 | skisugar.com
Beech Mountain Resort — Beech Mountain
If you’re looking for maximum elevation, Beech Mountain is where you want to be. You’ll not find a higher ski area here than anything on the eastern seaboard! The ski season here starts in mid-December and ends in the middle of March.
Beech Mountain has 17 runs and 8 lifts, including 3 quads, to get you around its over 95 skiable acres. Eight of the runs are intermediate. There are also 4 beginner runs and 5 runs for experts.
Beech Mountain holds the highest peak in the area, with 5,506 feet of elevation giving way to a 4,675-foot base. Skiers can enjoy up to 831 feet of vertical drop. Night skiing is available on all runs in the resort until 10:00 pm.
1007 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, NC 28604 | 828-387-2011 | beechmountainresort.com
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort — Mars Hill
If you’re visiting Asheville, this is the ski resort to stop at. Just 32 miles from the ever-popular city lies this local ski spot. Like Beech Mountain, Wolf Ridge Ski Resort tends to open mid-December and close in mid-March.
There are 54 total acres of skiable terrain at Wolf Ridge, with 15 runs serviced by 4 lifts – 4 quad, 1 double, and a pair of moving carpets. Those 15 runs break down to 4 beginner runs, 9 intermediate, and 2 advanced.
You’ll have 700 feet of vertical drop here with a peak of 4,700 feet and a base at an even 4,000 feet. With night skiing offered, Wolf Ridge doesn’t stop when the sun goes down!
578 Valley View Circle, Mars Hill, NC 28754 | 828-689-4111 | skiwolfridgenc.com
Cataloochee Ski Area — Maggie Valley
The oldest ski area in North Carolina deserves consideration in your travel plans. First opening its doors just before Christmas of 1961, Cataloochee sets the standard for a decade of snowsports growth in North Carolina.
There are 50 skiable acres at North Carolina’s oldest resort. Cataloochee offers 18 runs and 5 lifts. The runs include 7 beginner, 7 intermediate runs, with the last 4 for experts. Skiers can utilize 1 quad lift, 1 triple lift, 1 double chair (featuring midway unloading and loading), and 2 moving carpets.
The peak here is at 5,400 feet, offering 740 feet of vertical drop from the summit to the base at 4,660 feet. Night skiing is available almost daily during the early November to late March season.
1080 Ski Lodge Road, Maggie Valley, NC 28751 | 828-926-0285 | cataloochee.com
Appalachian Ski Mountain — Blowing Rock
On the other end of the ’60s snow boom in North Carolina is Appalachian Ski Mountain, which came on the scene in 1968. While it was founded on a failed previous ski resort, Appalachian found a home and has been in business for the last 54 years. Expect to ski here from November to March under usual circumstances.
Appalachian Ski Mountain has 27 skiable acres, with 12 runs and 6 lifts. Six of the runs are for intermediate skiers, the remaining 6 are split between 3 easy and 3 advanced runs.
Appalachian has 365 feet of vertical drop from the peak of 4,000 feet to the 3,635-foot base. For those who love to ski when the sun sets, lifts go until 10:00 pm.
940 Ski Mountain Rd, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 | 828-295-7828 | appskimtn.com
Ski Sapphire Valley Resort — Sapphire
The last entry on this list is a quaint, tiny resort. Located near the borders of Georgia and South Carolina, this is a unique experience, to say the least. The ski season here tends to be shorter, opening in mid-December and closing in early March. The shorter season, however, fits the family-friendly, beginner-oriented environment.
There are only 2 slopes (1 beginner and 1 intermediate) here, with 1 quad chair and a pair of surface lifts. However, both of these runs offer night skiing. With a base of 3,200 feet and a summit at 3,450 feet, you can get a drop of 250 feet.
127 Cherokee Trail, Sapphire, NC 28774 | 828-743-7663 | skisapphirevalley.com
While you might be tempted to write off North Carolina once fall comes to an end, you’d be missing out if you did. Whether you’re looking to hit the slopes for the first time or you’re chasing the highest peaks around, there will be something for you once the snow falls in the Tar Heel State.