6 BEST NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS: WE’VE GOT THE DEETS SO YOU CAN PICK THE RIGHT ESCAPE

North Carolina Ski Resorts are the perfect place for southerners to experience the fun of snow skiing or snowboarding close to home. Resorts focused on skiing in Western North Carolina utilize snow making machines — so even if there isn’t any of the white stuff at home, there is bound to be skiing in North Carolina.

6 BEST NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS: WE'VE GOT THE DEETS SO YOU CAN PICK THE RIGHT ESCAPE

The best part about the snow resorts in North Carolina is that a plane ticket isn’t needed in order for a southerner to go skiing. There are several ski resorts in NC, each with its own unique qualities. No need to worry about the weather, all the resorts have invested in large snow guns, so as long as nights are below 32 degrees, they can create a winter wonderland on the slopes and you can ski North Carolina. Here’s what you can expect at the ski best resorts in North Carolina.

BEECH MOUNTAIN SKI RESORT

Beech Mountain Ski Resort is the highest ski resort in the east, scraping the sky at 5,506 feet! Beech Mountain, NC is within a gas-tank’s drive from Atlanta, it offers affordable lift tickets and accommodations, and they dote on families. For skiers and snowboarders, Beech Mountain Resort has 95 skiable acres of terrain with 17 trails and a vertical drop of 830 feet.

And if it’s your kids’ first time skiing (or it’s been awhile for you!), during January and February, beginner lessons are free Monday – Thursday (non-holiday) with the purchase of rental equipment. They also have snow tubing, and ice skating too! (Note: Ice skating will not be available for the 2021-2022 season due to construction.) If you’re looking for NC’s largest ski resort that has it all and one of the best kid-friendly ski resorts in North Carolina — Beech Mountain is it!

Need More Info? We love Beech Mountain and have several additional articles delivering the details you need. Find them here!

BEECH MOUNTAIN ACCOMMODATIONS

6 BEST NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS: WE'VE GOT THE DEETS SO YOU CAN PICK THE RIGHT ESCAPE

APPALACHIAN SKI MOUNTAIN

Appalachian Ski Mountain strikes me as the best place for first timers and those learning. The French Swiss Ski College is one of the best in the state and has taught over a million people how to ski. The mountain is very compact; it’s a short walk from the parking lot to the lodge, so it’s not too big a deal if you have to go back to your car (or if you want to bring a picnic).

Although all the slopes in NC ski areas have high powered snow guns App Ski Mtn has some of the best snow making capabilities of the resorts. As long as temperatures are low enough, they can blanket the mountain in short order. For beginners, they offer a magic carpet moving sidewalk to take you to the top of the bunny slope, so much easier than the old rope tows they had when I was a kid.

The slopes themselves are not as steep as other resorts, so it’s perfect for a beginner to get in a longer run without being intimidated. If you have someone that doesn’t want to ski, they have a nice ice skating rink that is cleaned by a Zamboni next to the lodge and voted one of the best ice rinks for families by Trekaroo. The lodge also offers free wi-fi.

WHERE TO STAY NEAR APPALACHIAN SKI MOUNTAIN

6 BEST NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS: WE'VE GOT THE DEETS SO YOU CAN PICK THE RIGHT ESCAPE

SUGAR MOUNTAIN SKI RESORT, SUGAR MOUNTAIN NC

Sugar Mountain offers 115 skiable acres and 21 trails, the most of the any North Carolina ski resorts. It also offers the only double black diamond trail in the state of North Carolina, plus epic skiable terrain. But don’t think Ski Sugar is only for experts. There are trails for every level and several green runs for novice skiers.

SkiSugar also has a magic carpet to take beginners up the bunny slope easily, but watch out for the lift disembarking, it’s a steep slope, much more so than I’ve seen elsewhere. Sugar also offers the most wintertime fun off the slopes with a beautiful ice rink and a tubing hill down from the ski lodge.

To check the Sugar Mountain weather and learn about up-to-the-minute Sugar Mountain Resort snow conditions, visit the Sugar website. There are lodging types onsite for every taste including hotel rooms, bed and breakfasts, to condominiums and rental homes, however none of the these options are ski in, ski out so you may prefer to check out one of the rentals below.

WHERE TO STAY IN SUGAR MOUNTAIN

6 BEST NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS: WE'VE GOT THE DEETS SO YOU CAN PICK THE RIGHT ESCAPE

CATALOOCHEE, MAGGIE VALLEY NC

Cataloochee Ski Resort is in Maggie Valley North Carolina in the Western Mountains surrounding the Cataloochee Valley. This ski resort caters to the first time skier, with 50 skiable acres, 18 slopes, and a lighted terrain park. Forty-four percent of the slopes in the Cataloochee ski area are beginner trails, followed by 39 percent intermediate, and 17 percent advanced to expert. With 100 percent snow making capabilities, there is always a base, and you can check the Cataloochee ski area snow conditions online, as well as Maggie Valley NC weather. 

WHERE TO STAY IN MAGGIE VALLEY

6 BEST NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS: WE'VE GOT THE DEETS SO YOU CAN PICK THE RIGHT ESCAPE

NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS – WOLF RIDGE SKI RESORT

Wolf Ridge is located just 5 miles off I-26 in the mountains of Western North Carolina near Asheville. In addition to a terrain park, Wolf Ridge has 15 ski runs, four green, eight blue and three black diamond, with three ski lifts to get you to the top, a quad chair, double and surface lift. For those that don’t ski, there is also a snow tubing run. Wolf Ridge has also been called Wolf Laurel Ski Resort, so if you are looking at reviews, check out both Wolf Ridge and Wolf Laurel Ski Resort. You’ll also sometimes here this called the “Asheville ski resort” since it’s only 90-miles from the popular NC town.

WOLF RIDGE ACCOMMODATIONS

6 BEST NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS: WE'VE GOT THE DEETS SO YOU CAN PICK THE RIGHT ESCAPE
Photo courtesy of Sapphire Area Winter Sports

NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS – SAPPHIRE VALLEY NC

In Sapphire NC is the Sapphire Valley Ski Resort which features a moderate slope fit for intermediate skiers and ideal for youth and beginners. However, Sapphire Valley offers more than just skiing on it’s 5700 acre resort, this is also a good snow vacation destination.

There is the Frozen Falls snow tubing park and winter zip lining at the Vordach Zip Line, plus a Base Lodge with fire pit to warm up afterwards. The zip lines varying heights and lengths. Finish up with a repel down the tree or a zip. A favorite annual event here is the Great Outhouse races. During the race, homemade outhouses are put on skis and sent down the hill for charity.

SAPPHIRE VALLEY ACCOMMODATIONS

6 BEST NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS: WE'VE GOT THE DEETS SO YOU CAN PICK THE RIGHT ESCAPE
Photo courtesy of Beech Mountain, where my kids learned to ski

SKI SCHOOL & SKI LESSONS AT NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS

Ski lessons aren’t just for kids, and well worth the investment. Taking a lesson is the best way to enjoy skiing. According to Jim Cottrell, who started the French-Swiss ski school at Appalachian Ski Mountain in 1969 and has literally written a book on ski instruction, it takes three lessons to become proficient and truly enjoy the skiing experience.

If you don’t have three days, don’t worry, just do what you can each time and gradually learn the skills you’ll need. If your kids are like mine and think that snowboarding is the cool way to go, let them know it may take them a little longer to get going, but the same three lesson rule applies. Three lessons and they’re off (and in control).

Snow Tubing in NC

OFF THE SLOPES AT NORTH CAROLINA SKI RESORTS

Beyond having fun in the snow within an easy drive from most Southern cities,  another good reason to visit North Carolina ski resorts is to determine if skiing is something your family enjoys. If one or more of your party finds they don’t enjoy skiing, don’t worry. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are other ways to play in the North Carolina snow. My boys enjoyed simply making snowballs and snowmen in front of our rental house. They also enjoyed visiting Hawksnest tubing park, which claims to be the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast.

HAWKSNEST TUBING PARK

Hawks Nest tubing park is indeed the mac daddy of tubing in NC. There are 30 lanes in four different areas. Runs are between 400 and 1000 feet long with two magic carpets to take tubers back to the top for another ride. Hawks Nest has 100% snow making and lighting on all lanes, so there is always snow, even if mother nature doesn’t provide it. The evenings are a bit cooler and slicker for a faster ride.

In addition to snow tubing, Hawksnest also has one of the longest zip line tours in North Carolina. It features 10 cables, two of which are known as super or mega zips. Zip lining at Hawksnest doesn’t stop in the winter. In fact, zip lining in the snow is a great way to see the beautiful area covered in white. It’s also fun to wave and shout to your tubing friends down below. Dress warm, zip lining in the winter is fun, but can be quite cold. Winter zip lining is also available at Sapphire Valley ski resort.

In addition to Hawksnest, Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain, Wolf Ridge and Sapphire Valley ski resorts in North Carolina also have snow tubing runs.

ICE SKATING AT NC SKI RESORTS

Ice skating is a popular winter pastime and several of the North Carolina ski resorts offer ice skating as well. Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain, and Appalachian Mountain all have ice skating rinks.

Frequently Asked Questions About the North Carolina Ski Areas

What is the biggest ski resort in North Carolina? Sugar Mountain Ski Resort is the largest resort in NC. It sits on 125 acres, with a vertical drop of 1200 ft. The longest run of the 22 slopes is 1.5 miles.

Which is better Beech Mountain or Sugar Mountain? Which ski resort is best depends on what you’re looking for. The general opinion is as follows….Beech offers more high-speed lifts, runs at Sugar are longer and there are more of them. Sugar is easier to get to simply because it’s the first one you come to on the road up the mountain. All the resorts are packed on holidays, but you can usually get more runs in at Beech because people are stopping in Sugar.

Does North Carolina have good skiing? If you’re accustomed to skiing in Vail, then you’ll be disappointed in NC. The mountains and resorts are smaller, the runs are narrow, and the snow is generally man-made. However, it’s a good place to visit from Atlanta if you’re looking for affordable, easy-access snow. If you can make it work, head west. If you need a short weekend to meld with nature on the slopes, it’s worth the car ride.

Where can I take my kids to play in the snow in NC? Snow tubing parks are the answer! We’ve got a full list here: THE 9 COOLEST PLACES FOR INCREDIBLE SNOW TUBING IN NC

North Carolina Ski Resort Map (with Accommodations)

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