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The Top 4 Ski Resorts in North Carolina

Living in Florida makes wintertime skiing a real treat! When the snowbirds come my direction, I go the other way.


Skiing at Its Best at North Carolina Resorts!

High in the on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, in North Carolina, is one of the best skiing areas in the Eastern United States. This skiing area, rich in tourist areas and historic sites, stretches from near the North Carolina-Virginia border almost to the North Carolina-Georgia border and is easily accessible from Ashville, NC, and even Charlotte, NC.

Although many people know this region for its scenic views and mountain attractions, North Carolina has been a growing ski destination since the 1960s. These resorts offer an excellent mixture of skiing, sightseeing, and historic sites, and are a perfect destination to consider when planning your family vacation.

Modest Prices for Luxurious Stays

One of the best benefits of skiing North Carolina is that the ski resorts there have such modest pricing! You can stay in luxurious chalets and mountain log homes for much less than accommodations in some other eastern U.S. ski areas.

Also, due to continuous upgrading in the past few years, North Carolina has some of the best skiing, whether on real or artificial snow or under the sun or the bright lights at night!

Come ski where the lines are short and there are plenty of types of slopes. Each of these ski destinations has multiple lifts and slopes that range from beginners to advanced. Some also have mountaintop bars and tubing available.

1. Beech Mountain Resort

5500 ft up Beech Mountain, located due east of Boone, North Carolina, is the highest North Carolina skiing possible. In fact, it is the highest ski resort in Eastern North America. Ski Beech offers at least 10 different runs, including tubing, and ice skating. There is also an Alpine Village located on the premises with plenty of shops and several eating choices, just feet from the slopes.

Ski Beech offers a great lodge with ski rentals and fitting. There are also opportunities at night, including a video arcade, pool hall, and some of the best night skiing in the Eastern U.S.

While not on the slopes, Beech Mountain offers great accommodations anywhere from slope-side chalets with ski-in/ski-out ability, to mountainside log homes in neighboring towns, such as Banner Elk and Valle Crucis. Although there are ample shopping opportunities on the mountain, Banner Elk, NC and Boone, NC, are just minutes away with plenty of sights, museums, and shopping available. Boone has plenty to see for those looking for history and nature, but as a small college town, home to Appalachian State University, it has more modern attractions as well.

For accommodation and slope information, see the resort site. Personally, I'd recommend using VRBO for housing. While there are some hotel accommodations in Boone and in Banner Elk, the prices available on private rentals in this area are great.

2. Sugar Mountain Resort

Almost halfway between Banner Elk, NC and Grandfather Mountain, NC, is one of the largest North Carolina ski resorts. Sugar Mountain, NC has excellent skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and ice skating, and is the only North Carolina ski resort to offer a 1200' vertical drop to keep you skiing to your heart's content. That, along with 20 different runs and an average annual snowfall of 78", should give you plenty of "sugar" white powder.

The town of Sugar Mountain has plenty to offer as well. With ski-in, ski-out chalets and more, Sugar has any accommodation you could want. There are one and two bedroom condos as well as luxurious, huge chalets.

Sugar is also located near Boone, NC and Banner Elk, NC and is a short drive from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and all the sights that come with it: Grandfather Mountain and smaller hiking opportunities, waterfalls, and more. Whether you are looking for a short ski getaway or a long family vacation, Sugar Mountain is tops among North Carolina ski resorts.

3. Wolf Laurel Resort

A good bit southwest of the first two North Carolina ski resorts, and directly north of Ashville, NC, just below the North Carolina/Tennessee border, you will find a much smaller ski resort named Wolf Laurel or Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. At a slightly lower elevation of 4700 ft, Wolf Ridge has 23 runs listed, although some are merely connections to runs. Wolf Ridge is known as North Carolina's most accessible ski slopes due to its proximity to both the interstate and to Asheville.

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is also viewed by many as the most laid-back ski resort in the North Carolina skiing area. This resort is geared more towards families and children and is an excellent place to learn and relax! Accessibility and atmosphere are definitely the two main aspects to remember in considering Wolf Ridge when planning your family ski vacation.

4. Appalachian Ski Mountain Resort

About halfway between Blowing Rock, NC and Boone, NC, Appalachian Mountain Ski Resort is the oldest of the North Carolina ski resorts. Since 1962, visitors have been experiencing North Carolina skiing and some of the best ski instruction. Appalachian Mtn has renowned ski and snowboarding instructors and is one of the best places to go if you are just learning to ski or are wanting to learn to snowboard.

Appalachian Mountain Ski Resort offers 12 slopes, three of them with freestyle terrain for extra fun. Its great location also gives visitors easy access to Blowing Rock, Boone, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and many other great attractions. With heated sidewalks and continuous upgrades, this old ski resort is made new every year!

If you are not staying at a hotel in Boone, VRBO or another private rental site is probably your best bet for accommodations in this area.


© 2011 Joseph Davis