Hit the Slopes at Winter Sports Resorts

Sugar Mountain ResortHit the Slopes at Winter Sports Resorts

North Carolina's High Country offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the East

As you get into a winter state of mind, you'll be happy to discover – or be reminded – that North Carolina is a great destination for fun and adventures on the snow. Our state is home to six full-service ski areas with 90 slopes for all abilities, from beginner to Double Black Diamond, as well as freestyle terrain parks, ice skating, tubing and more.

The winter sports season usually opens mid-November and lasts until late March. With the coldest climates and highest elevations in the South, ski areas can often support snowmaking even when it’s sweater weather at lower elevations.

If you’re a frequent skier, take advantage of the North Carolina Ski Areas Association Gold Card, an $820 season pass at all ski areas regardless of weekend or holiday rates.

Here’s a rundown on what awaits this season at North Carolina’s ski areas and winter sports resorts.

Appalachian Ski Mountain
Blowing Rock
At a glance: 27 acres of skiable terrain with 12 slopes and trails (three beginner, three intermediate, three advanced, three freestyle terrain areas). Peak elevation: 4,000 feet. Vertical drop: 365 feet.

Longest run: 2,640 feet. Lifts include a double and two quads. Resort also features a Zamboni-maintained ice rink.

Mark your calendar:

  • Thanksgiving Midnight Blast Weekend, Nov. 28 – 29, 2014
  • 53rd Anniversary Weekend, Dec. 6 – 7, 2014
  • Skiing with Santa, Dec. 24, 2014
  • Meltdown Games, March 21 – 22, 2015

Beech Mountain Resort
Beech Mountain
At a glance: 95 acres of skiable terrain with 15 slopes and trails (three beginner, six intermediate, four advanced, two freestyle terrain areas). Peak elevation: 5,506 feet – higher than any slope in the East. Vertical drop: 830 feet.

Longest run: 1 mile. Lifts include four doubles, a quad and a high-speed quad with a panoramic vista. With a village ice rink and the Beech Mountain Adaptive Snowsports Center for kids and adults with disabilities.

Mark your calendar:

  • WinterFest, Jan. 10 – 12, 2015
  • Burton's Party in Your Park, Jan. 18 – 19, 2015
  • Totally ’80s Retro Ski Weekend, Feb. 20 – 23, 2015

Cataloochee Ski Area
Maggie Valley
At a glance: 50 acres of skiable terrain with 17 slopes and trails (eight beginner, six intermediate, three advanced) and one freestyle terrain park. Peak elevation: 5,400 feet. Vertical drop: 740 feet.

Longest run: 3,500 feet (Upper and Lower Snowbird). Lifts include a double, a triple and a quad. Area offers interscholastic and NASTAR recreational race programs. Nearby Tube World features a six-run tubing park and a Wee Bowl Snowplay Area. The Cataloochee Snow School includes an adaptive ski program for adults and children with disabilities.

Mark your calendar:

  • Can-U-Ski Food and Coat Drive, Dec. 7, 2014 (Bring 24 cans of food or two winter coats and get a free lift ticket for that day.)
  • Ski and Ride with Santa, Dec. 25, 2014
  • Military Appreciation Days, Jan. 22 – 23, 2015
  • Law Enforcement Appreciation Days, Feb. 5 – 6, 2015
  • Fire and Rescue Appreciation Days, Feb. 19 – 20, 2015

Sapphire Valley Ski Area
At a glance: 8 acres of skiable terrain with two trails (one beginner, one intermediate). Sapphire Valley celebrating 50th anniversary. Peak elevation: 3,780 feet. Vertical drop: 200 feet.

Longest run: 1,600 feet. There’s a quad lift for the main run.

Sugar Mountain Resort
Sugar Mountain
At a glance: 115 acres of skiable area with 21 slopes and trails (seven beginner, eleven intermediate, three advanced). Peak elevation: 5,300 feet. Vertical drop: 1,200 feet.

Longest run: 1.5 miles. Lifts include four doubles and one triple. Sugar Mountain also offers a 700-foot, multilane tube run; ice skating; guided snowshoe tour; and public racing program.

Mark your calendar:

  • SugarFest 2014, Dec. 12 – 14, 2014
  • Santa at Sugar, Dec. 12 – 24, 2014
  • National Winter Trails Day, Jan. 10, 2015
  • Sugar Bear’s Birthday Celebration, Mar. 8, 2015

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
Mars Hill
At a glance: 72 acres of skiable terrain with 22 slopes and trails (11 beginner, eight intermediate, three advanced) and a terrain park. Peak elevation: 4,700 feet. Vertical drop: 700 feet.

Longest run: 3,700 feet. Lifts include two quads, two doubles and a magic carpet. There’s also a tube run just outside the resort.

More Winter Play

Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zipline Course
Seven Devils
Hawksnest Resort is a family-friendly winter area that’s home to the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast as well as the longest zip line tour in the nation. The tubing park is comprised of four areas and more than 20 lighted lanes ranging from 400 to 1,000 feet in length. The zip line course features 20 cables covering over four miles and is open year-round.

Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park
Jonas Ridge
Take your tube to the top of the hill and hold on for an exhilarating ride down one of the six lanes. After tubing, warm up inside by the fireplace or watch from an observation deck. The park also offers night tubing.

Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park
Moonshine Mountain features 500 feet of fun and allows trains of up to eight people.

Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center
Scaly Mountain
Scaly Mountain offers year-round tubing with snow in the winter and artificial turf in the summer. The resort offers a separate slope for young tubers and also has a skating rink.

Beech Mountain Sledding Hill
Beech Mountain
The town of Beech Mountain maintains a free sledding hill for children 12 and younger (parents can ride with smaller children), next to Town Hall. A combination of natural and man-made snow keeps the conditions right. Plastic sleds are required.

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