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7 Best Ski Resorts in North Carolina (2023)

North Carolina is located in the southeastern United States.

Although North Carolina isn’t known for snowy winters, the state offers some fantastic skiing.

With some of the best ski areas in the eastern United States, North Carolina boasts plenty of high base elevations, breathtaking views, and sunshine.

In particular, the resorts of North Carolina provide excellent snowmaking operations for their slopes, allowing you and your traveling companions a superb ski experience.

Additionally, many of the ski destinations in the state are near mountain towns that offer a charming atmosphere, easy access to amenities, and entertainment for everyone.

Norht Carolina Main River
TheBigMK | Shutterstock

Enjoy your time off the slopes in places like Asheville or Boone.

Both towns provide everything you’re looking for, from affordable accommodations and dining to family-friendly attractions and easy access to nearby ski resorts.

To help you decide which resort (or resorts) you should visit, take a look at the list below of the best North Carolina ski resorts.

1. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, North Carolina
@Wolf Ridge Resort

For family-friendly North Carolina Ski Resorts, Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is one of the best.

The resort offers terrain for every skill level, as well as additional activities that will please you and your family.

Moreover, the resort provides a ski school for both adults and children, ski and snowboard equipment, and helpful staff.

Enjoy a winter wonderland as you have a worry-free family vacation in North Carolina.

The Mountain: With a base elevation of 4,000 feet, the mountain at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort provides superb snow conditions for skiers and snowboarders.

Explore 15 runs that are accessible with 4 lifts along 54 acres of skiable terrain.

What’s more, you can do some night skiing or take your family snow tubing on a run near the ski slopes.

Take the magic carpet lift to the top of the run before speeding your way down the hill, which is lit for nighttime tubing.

Afterward, warm up as you have a family meal at The Lodge Pizzeria, where you can sample not only a variety of pizza but also mouthwatering burgers, barbecue, and seafood.

Opening and Closing: Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is estimated to open on November 24, 2022, and close March 26, 2023.

The Town: Mars Hill is a quaint small town with a lot to offer.

While Mars Hill only offers a few accommodations, it does provide numerous casual dining spots.

Moreover, you’ll find markets and other supply stops, along with a heritage museum.

Nearby Towns and Accommodation Options: Travel 40 minutes to Asheville, and you will find everything you need for times when you aren’t on the slopes.

You’ll find a multitude of accommodation options in the city, from affordable, family-friendly hotels to luxury lodging.

Additionally, Asheville has a wide selection of dining experiences and fantastic opportunities for shopping excursions.

Head to boutique shops and find souvenirs or gifts, and stop by local markets or shopping centers for supplies.

If you want a break from the slopes but are wondering what to do, the city has a huge source of attractions and entertainment.

During your visit to the city, you can tour museums, book a zipline tour, stroll through an art park, and go to a live music concert.

Official Site: https://skiwolfridgenc.com/

Accommodation: Where to stay near Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

2. Sugar Mountain Resort

Sugar Mountain Resort, North Carolina
Jennifer Stanford | Shutterstock

For over 50 years, Sugar Mountain Resort has been providing winter entertainment for locals and visitors of North Carolina.

Presently, the resort offers a playground for families, friends, and couples, who want to share a special winter vacation.

The large resort has 125 acres of skiable area, where you can explore while skiing, snowboarding, or taking part in a number of other activities.

Particularly, you and your kids can spend an afternoon off the mountain as you go ice skating at the rink or head to the nearby Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster for a special thrill.

What’s more, the resort offers a number of ways to save, with advanced equipment rentals, free tickets for children under the age of 5, and March discounts.

For those over 70, the resort is a great way to find affordable winter fun, with free daily lift tickets.

The Mountain: Spend the day discovering the 20 slopes on the mountain, 14 of which are lit at night for skiing or riding.

Moreover, you’ll find terrain for all skill levels, but some great runs that offer a relaxing experience for beginners.

Access the terrain with 9 lifts, including 3 high-speed lifts.

Sign your kids up for the Sugar Bear Ski School before you head over to the terrain park to try some freestyle fun.

Afterward, go tubing with your family or explore the area by snowshoe and immerse yourself in the quiet wilderness.

Are you going on a holiday ski trip in North Carolina?

Head to Sugar Mountain’s New Year’s Eve Celebration, where your family can watch the nighttime parade and fireworks show, listen to live music, and dance the night away.

Opening and Closing: Sugar Mountain Resort is estimated to open on November 18, 2022, and close March 26, 2023.

The Town: Book a private vacation rental to stay on Sugar Mountain or head to Boone, a 30-minute drive from the resort.

While in Boone, you will be able to find numerous budget-friendly and luxury hotels.

In addition to accommodations, the town also offers plenty of places to shop and get supplies.

Enjoy breweries, restaurants, and casual eateries in the town, as well as museums and other family-friendly attractions.

Nearby Towns and Accommodation Options: If you’re looking for more entertainment and a larger town, Asheville is located only 1 ½ hours from Sugar Mountain.

During your time in the city, you can find almost any type of accommodation you’re searching for, not to mention a plethora of restaurants and bars.

What’s more, Asheville has some great family-friendly activities available and entertaining venues.

Official Site: http://www.skisugar.com/

Accommodation: Where to stay near Sugar Mountain

3. Sapphire Valley

Sapphire Valley, North Carolina
Sara Kendall | Shutterstock

If you’re searching for luxury ski resorts in North Carolina, you’ll be delighted with Sapphire Valley.

The resort offers a ski vacation you’ll never forget, with top-tier amenities, an atmosphere of rustic elegance, and a multitude of activities both on and off the slopes.

Enjoy fantastic skiing conditions, as well as a wide range of dining experiences, entertainment, and breathtaking views.

Open year-round, the resort provides a community center that offers numerous family-friendly things to do, as well as luxury vacation rentals.

The Mountain: For beginners, Sapphire Valley is the perfect place to learn and hone your skills.

While on the mountain, beginners can receive instruction from professional and passionate coaches in an environment that caters to their needs.

Although the mountain is not suitable for anyone who is searching for advanced or expert skiing, novice skiers and snowboarders will enjoy the 2 trails that are accessible with 3 lifts.

Make your way down the longest trail on offer and enjoy a peaceful view as you glide down 1,600 feet of well-groomed snow.

Afterward, warm up by the fire pit at the base and relax to the sounds of the nearby river.

Additionally, you and your kids will love the Frozen Falls Tubing.

What’s more, you’ll be able to find tranquil moments along the resort’s River Walk, where you can stroll through dense forest along the edge of Horsepasture River.

Opening and Closing: Ski Sapphire Valley is estimated to open on December 18, 2022, and close March 5, 2023.

The Town: Stay at Sapphire Valley, and you will enjoy a luxury vacation rental with spectacular views.

Soak in the hot tub or take a swim in the indoor pool before dining at one of the locally-owned restaurants.

Moreover, you can head to the community center and play a variety of games with your kids, get help with your vacation plans from the concierge, or stop by the recreation center for a workout in the gym.

Nearby Towns and Accommodation Options: Head to Dillsboro or Franklin, both 1 hour from the resort, to find more affordable accommodations.

In addition to lodging, both towns also offer a variety of dining options.

For shopping, you can find supplies and boutique stores in both spots, as well as local attractions, such as museums.

Official Site: https://sapphirevalleyresorts.com/

Accommodation: Where to stay near Sapphire Valley

4. Cataloochee Ski Area

Cataloochee Ski Area, North Carolina
@Smoky Mountain Host of North Carolina

Cataloochee Ski Area offers spectacular runs as well as fantastic packages for your ski trip.

Enjoy lodging at one of the resort’s partnering accommodation spots, and you’ll have a worry-free vacation, as well as your choice from a variety of options to create a home away from home.

Additionally, the resort offers equipment rentals and numerous types of lessons.

Sign your kids up, take your own private lesson, attend the Women on Wednesday program, or take instruction with your entire family. 

The Mountain: Spend a fun-filled morning at the terrain park that features areas for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Afterward, explore the 18 runs available that offer terrain for skill levels from beginner to advanced.

With a base elevation of 4,660 feet, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views, not to mention sunny days and top-notch skiing conditions.

Moreover, you won’t get bored, with 740 feet of vertical drop, a tubing area nearby, and night skiing every Saturday.

The mountain is accessible with 5 lifts and provides a 1,900-foot run called the Upper & Lower Snowbird.

Once you’ve had your fill of the slopes for the day, stop by the cafeteria and enjoy a casual hot meal.

On offer are items such as burgers, salads, soup, and refreshments.

For time to unwind, visit the bar with your friends and enjoy a beer or cocktail.

Opening and Closing: Cataloochee Ski Area is estimated to open on November 20, 2022, and close April 2, 2023.

The Town: When you book your trip to Cataloochee Ski Area, be sure to consider one of its lodging partners for accommodations.

You’ll have your choice of a private log cabin, a family-friendly motel, or a quaint cottage, plus many more located in Maggie Valley and the surrounding area.

Maggie Valley also offers a multitude of dining options, as well as shopping.

Nearby Towns and Accommodation Options: You can also head to Cherokee for additional entertainment or travel to Asheville, about an hour away.

While in the larger town of Asheville, you’ll find many entertainment options, restaurants, additional accommodations, and shopping.

Official Site: https://cataloochee.com/

Accommodation: Where to stay near Cataloochee Ski Area

5. Beech Mountain Ski Resort

@Beech Mountain Ski Resort

Are you looking for ski resorts in North Carolina that are great for kids?

Beech Mountain Ski Resort offers numerous activities that will keep both you and your kids happy during your ski trip.

For smaller children, the resort offers Snow Kamp, a childcare program that provides games, toys, and snacks, not to mention an entertaining day.

You and your kids will also have a blast at the tubing park.

While there, you will enjoy the long runs, with chutes that stretch up to 700 feet and a magic carpet lift for repeated fun.

The resort also offers convenient services, such as equipment rental and a sports shop.

The Mountain: Spend the day exploring 17 trails that cater to beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels.

Accessible by 8 lifts, the mountain also offers 95 acres of skiable area.

You’ll also have a fantastic time experimenting with some freestyle practice at the 2 terrain parks.

Afterward, head to Beech Mountain Brewing Co. and relax with your friends by the fire as you gaze out onto the mountainside.

Additionally, you can enjoy a family meal at one of the 2 restaurants.

Opening and Closing: Beech Mountain Ski Resort is estimated to open on November 20, 2022, and close March 18, 2023.

The Town: Beech Mountain Ski Resort offers a great all-inclusive deal that provides lodging with mountain views, shuttle service, and includes your lift tickets.

Nearby Towns and Accommodation Options: Travel 45 minutes east to Boone, and you will find plenty of budget-friendly accommodations.

Moreover, the town offers numerous places to shop for fun or supplies.

Find great local hangouts at many of the casual dining spots, as well as a few family-friendly attractions.

Official Site: https://www.beechmountainresort.com/

Accommodation: Where to stay near Beech Mountain

6. Appalachian Ski Mountain

Appalachian Ski Mountain, North Carolina
@Source | Larry Sumpter

One of the first North Carolina ski resorts was Appalachian Ski Resort, which opened in 1968.

Started as a simple ski lodge and winter recreation area that had a modest 3 slopes and 2 rope tows.

Presently, the resort has more than doubled in size and offers numerous activities and amenities both on and off the slopes.

In particular, the resort provides convenient services, such as equipment and apparel rentals, not to mention an alpine ski shop and lessons for both skiers and snowboarders.

The Mountain: Discover 11 runs along 27 acres of skiable terrain that is accessible by 5 lifts.

What’s more, you’ll find great snow conditions, with 60 inches of average annual snowfall, plus snowmaking that covers the entirety of the slopes.

Also available to enjoy are 3 terrain parks and night skiing on holidays, as well as every Friday and Saturday.

Sign yourself or your kids up for lessons and hone your skills before heading to The Lodge.

While at The Lodge, you can experience breathtaking views from the observation deck.

Moreover, the slope-side restaurant offers a cozy fireplace to dine next to with family or friends.

Opening and Closing: Appalachian Ski Mountain is estimated to open on November 18, 2022, and close March 19, 2023.

The Town: If you’d like to stay within walking distance of the resort, book one of the vacation homes on offer that provides amazing views, privacy, and convenient amenities, such as fully stocked kitchens.

Also nearby, you’ll find a multitude of activities for when you take a break from the slopes.

Only a few minutes away, Boone offers shopping and family-friendly activities in addition to more budget-friendly accommodations

Get a massage or body treatment after a day on the mountain in Blowing Rock, 8 minutes away from Appalachia Ski Mountain.

Official Site: https://appskimtn.com/

Accommodation: Where to stay near Appalachian Ski Moutain

Are you looking for the nearest ski resorts to North Carolina?

Here is one great option that is only 3.5 hours away:

7. Wintergreen Resort, Virginia

Wintergreen Resort, Virginia
@Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen Resort offers a great family vacation with fun activities, great ski conditions, and a superb mountain atmosphere.

Additionally, the resort offers a great deal for families and groups of friends with Four’dable Quad Packs.

With the program, you’ll receive 4 unrestricted lift tickets with 8 hours of access at a discounted price.

What’s more, the resort has conveniences such as equipment rentals that can be booked in advance and personalized ski lessons.

In particular, you’ll find luxury amenities if you book your stay with the resort.

During your stay, you will have access to the spa, gym, indoor pool, and various wellness programs.

Also, keep in mind that although Wintergreen Resort is in Virginia, you can easily travel to North Carolina for some extra days at the resorts offered there.

The Mountain: Spend the day exploring 125 acres of skiable area that is home to 24 runs that can be accessed with 8 lifts.

In addition to downhill fun, you’ll be able to practice and play at the terrain park.

While at the park, enjoy freestyle skiing or snowboarding on tabletops, a variety of rails, and boxes.

Take your family to The Plunge and experience the largest tubing park in Virginia.

Feel the thrill of speeding down a run that is over 450 feet long.

Afterward, head to one of the eateries on-site and have a warm family meal, or stop by Stoney Creek Bar & Grill for a drink with friends.

Opening and Closing: Wintergreen Resort is estimated to open on January 6, 2022, and close March 12, 2023.

The Town: If you choose to stay at the resort, you’ll have a choice of accommodations that range from guest rooms to vacation homes.

Nearby Towns and Accommodation Options: Approximately 30 minutes from the resort, you will find Waynesboro, Virginia.

The larger town offers a wide variety of accommodations, as well as amenities.

While in the Waynesboro area, you’ll also find plenty of shopping and casual dining options.

Official Site: https://www.wintergreenresort.com/

Accommodation: Where to stay near Wintergreen Resort

Ski Passes and Deals

  • North Carolina Ski Areas Association Gold Card: The NCSAA Gold Card is fantastic for anyone who plans on exploring more than 1 or 2 North Carolina ski resorts.

The card provides access to all 6 of the ski resorts in the state during the winter ski season.

Enjoy unrestricted experiences on the slopes with no blackout dates, including holidays and weekends.

Furthermore, the pass is only $999.00, which may seem pricey, but it will save you enormously if you ski in North Carolina for an extended amount of time.

Additionally, you should keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of pass holders allowed, so purchase the card as soon as possible, starting in August.

Ski Tips for North Carolina

Ski Tips for North Carolina
Anatoliy Gleb | Shutterstock

Look for deals: Ski trips can become expensive quickly, so when looking for skiing in North Carolina, be sure to check for deals that are on offer.

Many of the resorts you find will have deals for groups, lodging packages, and advanced reservations.

If you book your lodging and lift tickets together, you can find discounts that also include services such as shuttle transportation, allowing you to save on not only your stay but also some of your travel costs.

Additionally, plan to book early, as a number of resorts offer better prices with earlier ticket purchases.

For families, you’ll want to keep an eye out for special deals like free lift tickets for children, as well as group rates on passes and lessons.

Don’t push yourself too hard: During your time on the slopes of North Caroline, you will probably have a lot of sunny, temperate days that you will want to take advantage of by spending as much time skiing or riding as possible.

However, you’ll want to pace yourself.

Keep in mind that while you are having a fun-filled time doing runs down the mountain, your body will need some rest.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be bored or not be able to enjoy the snow of North Carolina.

Take some breaks and check out other activities, such as tubing, dining at some of the cozy lodges available, or sightseeing.

Additionally, keep yourself from being too sore or tired to enjoy the mountains to your fullest by stopping to take in the beautiful scenery and drink some water or refuel with a snack.

Moreover, you’ll find many resorts or nearby areas that have spas on offer.

Indulge yourself with a massage, soak in a hot tub, or relax in a sauna to soothe your muscles.

Plan for more than skiing: Of course, your ski trip’s main focus will be hitting the slopes.

However, you’ll also want to consider what else you’d like to get out of your vacation.

If you’d like to try out terrain parks, look for resorts that offer more than one option or a park that has features for all skill levels.

What’s more, you’ll want to look at the amenities offered.

If a massage after a long day on the mountain sounds like heaven, look for a resort that includes a spa or is located near one.

For those with kids, family-friendly activities both on and off the resort property will keep everyone entertained.

Spend time with your children at tubing hills, book a resort that offers family lessons, and explore towns with attractions for you and your family, such as museums, theaters, and art parks.

Arrive early: After traveling to your ski destination, you’ll be tired and probably a bit frayed.

Don’t expect to arrive at your resort and immediately be ready to pick up your equipment, don all of your gear, and hit the slopes without over-exhausting yourself.

If possible, arrive a day early to give yourself time for a good night’s sleep and unwind from your travels.

Moreover, arriving early will allow you to get settled.

Check out your accommodations, locate great places to eat, and even browse the local shops.

Try to avoid the crowds: One way to enjoy your North Carolina ski trip to the fullest is by avoiding heavy crowds so that you can enjoy the mountain as much as possible.

Although it may be difficult, try to plan your trip during the week rather than the weekend.

The ski areas of North Carolina are popular destinations for locals, and Friday nights through Sunday afternoons are busy times.

For the same reason, try to avoid holidays.

Additionally, check the resort you choose for any lift ticket deals that may include shorter waits at lift lines.

Finally, try to arrive at the slopes early and beat the crowds, as many people will be traveling to the resorts and getting there later in the day.

Another good way to avoid crowds is by trying out some of the other activities, such as night skiing and cross-country skiing.

Frequently Asked Questions About North Carolina Skiing

Is skiing good in North Carolina?

North Carolina boasts some of the best skiing in the eastern United States.

While the state doesn’t receive as much snowfall during the winter as many other states known for skiing, the resorts are committed to fantastic snowmaking operations, keeping everyone on the slopes happy.

Also great for skiers is the temperate weather, allowing you to get out on the mountains most any day during the winter.

However, you should also keep in mind that some of the higher elevations can get windy and cold, so remember to pack layers and appropriate outerwear, in addition to goggles, for eye comfort.

The ski resorts of North Carolina are also near some of the best towns, making your ski trip that much more enjoyable.

Visit mountain towns that offer a warm atmosphere, breweries, local cuisine, and family attractions.

Is North Carolina a good place for learning how to ski?

If you, a friend, or a family member are new to skiing or snowboarding and want to learn, North Carolina has some great options.

Find a resort, like Appalachian Mountain Resort that offers numerous runs for beginners and rentals that include not only equipment but also apparel and extra gear like helmets.

In addition to runs and equipment, you’ll want to look at resorts that have a good reputation for instruction.

Consider spots like Sugar Mountain for kids, where the Sugar Bear Ski School is located.

For adults and children alike, Cataloochee Ski Area is a fantastic option for lessons.

The resort not only offers children’s’ and private lessons but adult programs and even lessons your whole family can take together.

What should I pack for my ski trip to North Carolina?

North Carolina has fairly temperate weather in the winter, with low temperatures hitting the 30s and average temperatures staying in the low 50s.

However, you’ll need to prepare for the cold wind on the mountains, as well as the chill from the snow.

Bring a windproof jacket, as well as thermal underwear, to keep you warmer on the lifts.

Additionally, you’ll want to pack clothing you can layer, such as fleece and thermal shirts.

Thin wool socks, waterproof pants, and a face covering are also important.

In addition to clothing, bring a flexible water bottle that you can keep with you on the slopes, as well as snacks you can keep in your pockets.

If you plan to keep your phone on you, find a waterproof case or small bag to store it in while on the mountain.

Also, don’t forget a case for your camera if you plan to stop on the slope for pictures, and bring gear like goggles to keep the wind from affecting your eyes.

For equipment, it’s a good idea to rent what you need from your resort, as it avoids a lot of hassle, and you can rely on the expertise at the shop for any questions or recommendations.

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Best Ski Resorts in the Rocky Mountains: The Rocky Mountains offer some of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding destinations. Between vertical drops that thrill expert skiers and well-maintained beginner slopes, the mountains are a playground for many throughout the winter months. You’ll find all inclusive Colorado ski resorts that provide fantastic conditions and amenities in places like Vail and Aspen, as well as budget-friendly ski resorts near Denver. While many of the larger resorts offer ski villages with shopping, dining, and entertainment at the base of the mountain, smaller destination spots, such as Granby Ranch and Ski Cooper, can be affordable for a family ski trip.

Ski New Mexico: Additionally, cheap ski resorts in New Mexico can still give you a great ski vacation while providing things to do off the slopes. In particular, smaller ski areas of New Mexico offer nearby towns that provide accommodations and other necessities. The state has plenty of tourist attractions in Taos and Santa Fe, both places being close to many of the ski destinations. Moreover, the state is known for having soft powder conditions and plenty of sunshine.

Western Ski Resorts: In addition to the Rocky Mountains, there are plenty of spectacular skiing spots in the Western United States. Skiing in Lake Tahoe can provide great slopes to learn on, not to mention additional snow sports, such as snowmobiling and tubing. Lake Tahoe is a popular destination year-round, making it tourist friendly. What’s more, Lake Tahoe provides prime snow conditions with the help of extensive snowmaking operations that keep the powder perfect on the mountains.

Other Ski Resorts in the Eastern United States: Along with North Carolina, skiing in New Hampshire can be a superb option for those who are looking for diverse terrain. New Hampshire also has the added bonus of its ski resorts being located closely to one another, allowing you to visit numerous mountain slopes during your trip. Additionally, you’ll find Michigan ski resorts for families that are highly rated and provide plenty of destinations. In fact, Michigan has the second-most ski resorts in the country. Because of this, the state’s ski spots offer diverse terrain, from beginner slopes to adventurous backcountry.