‘Tis the season to be jolly — Fa la la la la, let’s pray for snow! It’s been one of the strangest years of our lifetime, so it’s no surprise to us that all anyone wants to do is go have fun and let loose. Why not take that energy to the ski slopes? Even if you’re the spectator in the family, going to a ski resort to watch the action can also be a blast. We’re fans of sipping on a beer or hot cocoa while relaxing in the warmth of the ski resort bar.
Compared to the west coast our mountains may be small but, get the right mix of snow + weather, and you’re off to the races! Whether you have your own ski equipment or not, it’s a great way to relieve stress. Hit the slopes with a play date and it’s great for your body, mind, and spirit. It’s also a welcome distraction from this year’s stress. So, whether you’re into skiing, snowboarding or tubing, here are our favorites places to visit when you need to break a sweat in the cold winter months.
Skiing, Snowboarding, + Snow Tubing
Banner Elk, NC – Skiing, snowboarding + tubing at Sugar Mountain is loads of fun and easily accessible. Rated one of the best ski resorts in North Carolina, Sugar Mountain is at the summit of our list. With lengthy slope trails, Sugar provides a great learning area for beginners, children, and ski experts who are all looking to get out and move their bodies.
With a total of 16 slopes, one quad-lift to the summit, and an average annual snowfall of 38-81” — Sugar makes it easy to fall in love with snow sports.
Banner Elk, NC – With a summit of 5,500ft above sea level, Beech Mountain has the right to claim they are the highest ski mountain on the east coast. With 17 north-facing slopes and an average annual snowfall of 80+ inches, it’s a great place to warm up your skis. Beech Mountain’s Alpine Village also offers great food, breweries, ice skating, snow tubing and a great snowboarding terrain park experience.
Appalachian Ski Mountain
Blowing Rock, NC – If you’re looking for a more low-key, family-friendly ski experience then, Appalachian Ski Mountain should be at the top of your family’s ski bucket list.
Are you the one person in the family not willing to ski but want to discover other fun activities? At App Ski, you’ll also find ice skating or a warm, spacious resort lodge perfect for ski spectating and sipping hot cocoa.
App Ski Mountain has 12 ski slopes and 2 boarding terrain parks, some say App has the best snowboarding in North Carolina. Appalachian also has some of the best snow-making which keeps there slopes open slightly longer than their competitor resorts.
Hawksnest Snow Tubing
Seven-Devils, NC – located between Boone and Banner Elk, NC, Hawksnest Snow Tubing has captured the tubing and zip-lining industry making it the ideal destination for those not wanting to go full-throttle with skiing or snowboarding. Formerly a skiing and snowboarding resort, Hawksnest is now focused on designing the best tubing experience in North Carolina. If all you want to do is go snow tubing avoiding all skiers, go to Hawksnest Snow Tubing Resort. There’s even a great viewing area for those just wanting to observe.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
Madison County, NC – One of the closest ski resorts to downtown Asheville, Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is a quick 30-40 minute drive north on I-26 will land you in one of the most enjoyable ski areas in Western North Carolina. Wolf has 15 slopes and trails that are great for any skill level from beginner to expert. So, if you’re vacationing in Asheville and want an easy, quick ski or snowboard experience, we recommend the Wolf! They even have tubing for those who don’t want to go all out with skiing.
Cataloochee Ski Resort
Maggie Valley, NC – 18 ski trails, Cataloochee Ski Resort is just shy in height compared to Beech mountain, it’s at 5,400 ft. above sea level. Great mainly for beginners and intermediate skiers, Cataloochee is a fun mountain resort to go enjoy with your children during your holiday time in the mountains. Snow tubing and a snowboarding terrain park are also on the menu at Cataloochee Ski Resort.
Sapphire Valley Ski Resort
Cashiers, NC – Located in an area of the Blue Ridge Mountains that receives quality snowfall, another great winter resort for those with small children and active families is sweet, little ole Sapphire Valley Ski Resort near Cashiers, NC.
Don’t discount the size of this mountain resort, Sapphire’s snow experience can be loads of fun for your family. It is a fine ski facility utilizing a killer quad ski lift and a 500 ft. snow tubing run making this resort approachable for vacationing tourists and local families alike.
Now, are you ready to tune up your skis and lace up those boots? Winter activities can be a great way to get outdoors, stretch your legs and connect with your loved ones even when it’s chilly outside. Happy snow days, ya’ll!