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Winter Activities & Ski Resorts in North Carolina

Looking for great skiing in the Southeast US, specifically North Crolina? Look no further than Western North Carolina to find the best-rated ski resorts. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains skiing and snowboarding is a popular winter pastime. Just 1.5 hours from Asheville you will find the best slopes in North Carolina to ski and snowboard your way through Winter. For purposes of this article, we will focus on the largest and most sought after ski resorts in the Northwest corner of North Carolina, also known as the "High Country".

Best Ski Resorts in North Carolina

Look no further than North Carolina for the best ski resorts, tubing and winter vacations

Where to Ski in North Carolina

Looking for great skiing in the Southeast US, specifically North Crolina? Look no further than Western North Carolina to find the best-rated ski resorts. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains skiing and snowboarding is a popular winter pastime. Just 1.5 hours from Asheville you will find the best slopes in North Carolina to ski and snowboard your way through Winter. For purposes of this article, we will focus on the largest and most sought after ski resorts in the Northwest corner of North Carolina, also known as the "High Country".

 

Western North Carolina is not the first destination most people think of when planning a ski or snowboard trip with family and friends. As a property - owner in Sugar Mountain and Banner Elk, and a lover of skiing, I fell in love with this area having grown up in Connecticut and spending many college weekends in the ski resorts of Vermont. I can honestly say, the conditions are so much better than what I grew up with. When you learn on ice, you can pretty much ski anywhere. I am blown away every Winter at the snowmaking by the ski resorts of Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain and Appalachian.

Sugar Mountain or Beech Mountain? That is the Question!

There are some who would argue both are top-rated ski resorts in their own right. These resorts are substantially larger than Appalachain Ski Resort but don't discount Appalachian as there is something to be said for small and not as crowded. Don't hesitate to head to the smaller resort if you are more comfortable with less crowds and great conditions. Well-known fact: The famous French-Swiss Ski College is even located in North Carolina, at Appalachian Ski Mountain.

 

So Which Ski Resort is Better?

Beech Mountain has the highest peak.

Sugar Mountain does more snow-making typically.

It is a little-known secret that Sugar Mountain is the best rated ski resort in North Carolina and possibly the entire Southeast with continual improvements each year. Extended snow-making gives the resorts the most snow coverage in the Southeast and in North Carolina. Sugar Mountain opened earlier in 2022 before the other ski resorts and took advantage of the mid-November cold snap. That's just one difference that makes Sugar Mountain so sweet. If they can make snow, they do. Beech Mountain has excellent snowmaking but takes a more reserved approach yielding a few less inches of snow each year. The other big difference between Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain has to do with proximity.

 

Getting to Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain

Personally, the biggest difference between Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain is the is recommended proximity of resorts. Sugar Mountain resort is a short 1/10 mile from the main road. Beech Mountain is a few miles up a narrow road with many switchbacks. As mentioned earlier, 4WD is always recommended when heading to the mountains in the Winter. Those that don't heed that advice can shut down the one road that goes to Beech Mountain resort. In a regular ski season, Beech Mountain Parkway has been known to close for hours at a time to remove cars that slid off the edge. Beech Mountain takes about 12 minutes to reach the resort. If roads are icy, that could extend the trip on or off the mountain. Unfortunately, each year the Beech Mountain parkway closes frequently as travelers don't heed the warnings to have a 4WD vehicle. This is most apparent during holidays and busy ski weekends like Martin Luther King weekend and Presidents Weekend. Travelers

 

More than Ski and Snowboard Resorts

All ski levels can have an enjoyable time at all three ski resorts in the Northwest corner of North Carolina and for those less inclined to ski or snowboard, there are plenty of other Winter activities in the area such as snow tubing, a Wilderness Roller Coaster, zip lining, yes, zip lining all year-round. Add in a few wineries, craft beer, short walks to beautiful waterfalls and some beautiful scenic drives near Grandfather Mountain and the ski resorts, and you have a vacation that's sure to deliver no matter the ages of the visitor or vacation preferences. If anything, the Winter season will have you thinking about coming back to enjoy the hiking, waterfalls, white water rafting, swimming holes and the many festivals offered year-round. Let's take a deeper dive into each ski area to see what you think about which you would consider the best ski resort in North Carolina.

Stick around for the last run of the day to capture this breathtaking view of the sunset over the mountains. It gets dark early so keep that in mind. This shot was taken at 4:30 pm. Conditions can get icy toward the end of the day depending on the volume of skiers and snowboarders on the mountain that day, how strong the winds are blowing and the amount of snow cover on each trail. Considered the best ski resort in North Carolina, Sugar Mountain Resort boasts both the biggest vertical drop in the Blue Ridge Mountains as well as the largest ski resort. The vertical drop is a stunning 1,200 feet.

 

Sugar Mountain's location is not far from the famous Boone, NC and just over 1.5 hours from Asheville so when you're done oogling over the Biltmore, you can head to the mountains and take in the picturesque village of Sugar Mountain. The resort itself spans 125 acres with 21 slopes for all levels and 8 lifts to get you back to the top. Additionally, since Sugar Mountain gets over 70 inches of snow per year, their season tends to extend slightly longer than others, from around Thanksgiving into March. Speaking of March, Sugar Mountan offers it's own "March Madness" and significantly drops prices during the month. Ski resorts try to stay open as long into March as possible. Obviously that is weather dependent.

Activities Offered at Sugar Mountain

Other activities available at Sugar Mountain include 700 feet of tubing lanes and a 10,000-square-foot ice skating rink, as well as snowshoeing.

 

Opening day was early in 2022 opening on November 14.

 

Sugar Mountain Location

1009 Sugar Mountain Drive

Sugar Mountain, NC 28604

(800) SUGAR-MT

Beech Mountain Resort

The town of Beech Mountain is known for a lot of things. Known as a year - round playground, Beech Mountain Resort is a popular destination for winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and skating and summer activities like hiking and golfing, lake kayaking, hiking and it’s home to a Wizard of Oz theme park, Land of Oz open only a couple weekends a year to guests with special weekends dedicated to residents of Beech Mountain. It also holds the title of “highest town in the Eastern US” at an elevation of 5,506 feet.

As one might expect from the highest town on the East Coast, Beech Mountain is home to some of the best skiing in North Carolina.

 

With 17 trails on 95 acres and an 830-feet vertical rise, Beech Mountain Resort is a place where everyone can have some fun, whether they are taking in the black diamond runs or trying out their first ski lesson. It has been a popular ski resort for families since 1967, and lessons are offered for all ages including the little ones.

 

Once you are done skiing, take advantage of the resort’s other amenities, like their 7,000-square-foot ice skating rink, 5506 Skybar, and Beech Mountain Brewery Co, one of the few ski resorts in the United States with a brewery at the resort.

 

Beech Mountain opened for snow tubing on November 19, 2022. Skiing and snowboarding started on November 25, 2022.

 

Beech Mountain Location

1007 Beech Mountain Parkway Beech Mountain, NC 28604 (800) 438-2093

Appalachian Ski Resort

 

For skiing in NC high country, head to Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock, northeast of Asheville. Appalachian Ski Mountain has some of the best slopes in North Carolina and unlike many of the other resorts, they do cater a bit towards experienced skiers. Some beginners may find their slopes a bit challenging but they do offer lessons and guidance. The French-Swiss Ski College is not only the oldest ski school in North Carolina but in the entire Southeast. They offer both private and group classes, for all ages and abilities, so if you are new to skiing or are ready to up level, it is definitely worth looking into! Other features of Appalachian Ski Mountain include around 12 ski slopes, including 3 black diamonds, freestyle terrains, 2 terrain parks, and plenty of lifts. Inside the Bavarian-style hotel, you will find the usuals – a restaurant, gift shop, and ski shop – but also a nursery and video game room for the kids. And don’t miss the stunning observation deck! Opening day was November 18, 2022.

 

Appalachian Ski Location

940 Ski Mountain Road via 1423 Edmisten Road (use this address to not be routed through residential backroads via Google Maps) Blowing Rock, NC 28605 (828) 295-7828

Don't forget to book your vacation rental early. Winter tends to fill up fast. Check the direct booking rates here Tell us what your favorite NC Ski Resort is, and why! Let us know in the comments!

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