We’ve got you covered on the best North Carolina ski resorts.
The incredible beauty of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains is jaw dropping.
North Carolina is not only beautiful, it is also one of the best places for snow and ski in the US.
Here’s our comprehensive guide to the best ski resorts in North Carolina…
- 1 Sugar Mountain Ski Resort
- 2 Wolf Ridge
- 3 Cataloochee
- 4 Beech Mountain
- 5 Appalachian Ski Mountain
- 6 Sapphire Valley
- 7 Hawks Nest Snow Tubing Resort
Sugar Mountain Ski Resort
With 125 acres of skiable terrain, Sugar Mountain is the biggest ski resort in North Carolina.
The summit elevation is over 5300 feet high, and allows for an impressive vertical drop of 1200 feet. Annual natural snowfall is 70 inches, but running out of snow is rarely an issue thanks to the resort’s dedication to snowmaking which covers all the trails.
Sugar Mountain boasts 21 trails in all served by 7 ski lifts — 15 of which are illuminated for night skiing. 33% of these are on the lower half of the mountain and are suitable for beginners, making this a popular resort for novice skiers and snowboarders.
There’s also a separate magic carpet learning slope for children. Intermediate blue runs take up just over half of the trails at 52%.
Blue runs feature varied terrain including wide slopes for training, narrower trails, and whopping 4,300-foot-long Upper Flying Mile — the longest trail in North Carolina.
Experts only benefit from 10% of the runs, but they’re good ones — particularly the exhilarating steep 48° Whoopdedoo run.
As well as skiing and snowboarding the resort boasts a terrain park, tubing park, and large ice skating rink.
There’s no resort village on the Sugar Mountain slopes (although there is a cafe), but the the town of Banner Elk nearby is arguably the best ski town in the region, and there’s plenty of apres ski entertainment on offer.
There are a wide variety of shops here, including art galleries, jewelry stores, ski stores, food stores and more.
Over 30 restaurants and bars can be found in town, mostly serving hearty regional dishes, and beer bars offer a rotating selection of artisanal brews.
Where to Stay: Big Bear Lodge
This luxury Blue Ridge vacation home within the prestigious Eagles Nest gated resort in the town of Banner Elk, with amazing mountain views for miles and miles around.
This inviting home is appointed with the finest furnishings, gourmet kitchen, multiple fireplaces, large flat-screen televisions, en suite bathrooms with oversize baths, outdoor hot tub and fire pit, games room and more, and can sleep up to twelve guests with two king beds, two queens, two twins and one queen sleeper.
- Stunning views
- Wood burning fireplaces
- Well equipped kitchen
- Pool table
- Outdoor fire pit
- Hot tub
This family oriented ski resort has an elevation of 4700 feet and a vertical rise of 650 feet, with 72 acres of skiable terrain and 50 inches natural annual snowfall covered by 100% snowmaking capability.
The terrain features 22 lighted runs with 2 double lifts, 2 quad lifts, and a surface lift, plus a tubing park and excellent accredited Snow Sports School.
Beginners can enjoy 4 easy trails at the base of the slopes to practice on, and intermediate skiers and snowboarders can get their thrills on one of the 9 blue runs.
Primarily geared towards beginners and intermediates, there are only 2 black diamond runs at Wolf Ridge.
Those in search of apres ski at Wolf Ridge will find it a short drive away at Mars Hill, where there are a selection of restaurants, bars and shops.
Where to Stay: The Ashe Farm
Located in the historic town of Marshall just 24 km from Wolf Ridge Ski Resort and nestled between rocky cliffs and the scenic French Broad River, The Ashe Farm offers delightful Arts and Crafts style rooms with lovely views, en suite bathrooms, and some with kitchenette and dining areas.
The farmhouse features a charming and cozy shared living area for guests, a games room to keep the kids busy, plus outdoor terrace and sundeck with BBQ facilities.
Only 1 mile to downtown Marshall, the guesthouse is well placed for local amenities including shopping, dining and craft beer establishments.
- Close to facilities and activities
- Farm shop on site
- Garden and terrace
Once a cow pasture in Maggie Valley, the 5400 feet high Cataloochee Ski Resort features breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks, a vertical drop of 750 feet, and 18 runs plus 2 terrain parks spread over 50 acres.
With only 50 inches of annual snowfall, this resort relies on snowmaking to create soft powder perfect for skiers and snowboarders.
The secluded Ski School area, Wolf Creek Hollow is ideal for kids, and there are easy beginners runs, Rabbit Hill and Easy Way.
Intermediate skiers find plenty of action on 7 different trails including tree skiing and a 1 mile long descent.
For experts there are two bracing black runs. Snowboarders will love the Cat Cage Terrain Park with ramps, rails, jumps and boxes.
After a day on the slopes, chill out with a beer in front of a roaring fire at The Cat Lodge right on the mountainside. The food is good too and local bands often play here in the evenings.
Alternatively head down into Maggie Valley.
Where to Stay: Cardinal Inn
The 2 star Cardinal Inn in Maggie Valley is a quaint yet modern motel. Rooms feature comfy beds, en suite bathrooms with massage showers, HDTVs with DirecTV and HBO, and kitchenette with microwave, coffee maker, and mini-refrigerator, with some rooms featuring full size kitchens.
Conveniently located just 5 miles from the Cataloochee ski resort, and is well placed for local services including restaurants and bars.
- BBQ facilities
- Satellite TV
With a base elevation of 5,505 feet above sea level and a vertical drop of 830 feet, Beech Mountain is the highest ski resort in eastern North America and benefits from outstanding views.
Average annual snowfall is 80 inches, but with a100% snowmaking coverage.
The 95 acres contains 17 trails divided into 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 30% advanced — making it a good choice for all skill levels.
Beginners have a choice of two short green trails to learn the basics. Intermediates have a choice of wide and moderately pitched trails, plus the Oz Run with a vertical drop of about 500 feet.
There are 2 wide black diamond runs for expert skiers.
A terrain park with rails, boxes, and jumps will keep snowboarders happy, and a state of the art snow tubing park provides 700-foot runs with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Town of Beech Mountain sits adjacent to the resort and is perfectly placed for apres ski fun.
As well as a 7000 square foot outdoor ice rink there are a handful of restaurants serving pizza, pasta, and a BBQ grill, a ski shop and gift shops, and some great bars including a craft beer bar and a Skybar at the summit of the resort which serves food and drinks either on a large deck with fabulous views.
Where to Stay: 4 Seasons at Beech Mountain
This 3 star hotel just a couple of miles away from the heart of Beech Mountain resort offers guests the choice of spacious studios or suites for 4 to 6 people with en suite bathrooms, fully equipped kitchenettes, seating areas, and TV with cable.
For those who want to continue the sport off the slopes there’s a fitness centre, as well as a games room and picnic area.
- Self catering
- Fitness centre
- Games room
Appalachian Ski Mountain
4000 feet high at the summit, a vertical drop of 365 feet and with 25 acres of skiable terrain, Appalachian Ski Mountain may not be the biggest or highest ski North Carolina ski resort, but it still has a lot to offer.
This resort is best suited to intermediate skiers and snowboarders, with 45-50% of the 11 trails being blue. 2 black diamond runs that cut through the trees are available for advanced skiers, and for beginners there are two dedicated areas where beginners can learn in safety.
Boasting 3 terrain parks, Appalachian Ski Mountain offers excellent facilities for freestyle snowboarding and skiing with up to 60 rails, boxes, tabletops and other features.
Annual snowfall may only average around 50 inches, but 100% snowmaking ensures there’s enough of the soft stuff to play in whatever the weather.
The large Appalachian Mountain Ski Resort base lodge boasts an incredible view of the slopes from an outside 200 foot long deck, and the huge fireplace in the main dining room is the perfect place to snuggle up with a drink.
There is also a TV room and a restaurant serving up tasty home-cooked meals. A gift shop can also be found on site, as can the awesome Appalachian Ski Mountain outdoor ice skating arena located in a spectacular scenic setting and fully lighted for skating under the stars seven nights a week.
A rink side bonfire keeps those watching the action on the ice warm and toasty.
Where to Stay: Cliff Dwellers Inn
This 2 star lodge situated in the nearby town of Blowing Rock just 5 km away from Appalachian Ski Mountain Ski Resort.
Spacious rooms benefit from King or Queen beds, flat screen TV with cable, en suite bathrooms tea and coffee making facilities and refrigerator.
Certain rooms also have mountain or lake views, Jacuzzi tubs, balconies, fireplaces, and kitchens for those wanting self catering.
Complimentary coffee and pastries served in the mornings in the Cliff Dwellers Inn communal lodge room.
- Complimentary morning pastries
- Mountain and lake views
- Outdoor terrace
- Tea and coffee making facilities
This mini, family friendly ski resort covers a mere 8 acres of with a summit height of 3450 feet and a vertical drop of only 200 feet.
There are just 2 runs for beginners and intermediates, with the longest of the two being 1 mile in length.
There’s also a fun 500 foot tube run at the resort and there are daily organized trips and classes, as well as a world class zipline nearby.
This is a great spot for young children to learn to ski in safety.
Sapphire Valley offers a choice of 6 top quality restaurants and bars to spend a relaxing evening, including craft cocktail bars, unique tapas restaurants, and restaurants dishing up original southern favorites with live music entertainment.
Where to Stay: Foxhunt Sapphire Valley
The charming town of Sapphire is home to the 3 star Foxhunt resort, set within spectacular beauty and natural wonder for those who prefer to spend their time outdoors.
Foxhunt’s two bedroom townhouse vacation rentals provide comfort, convenience and luxury, as well as close-proximity to the area’s attractions, with private balcony, en suite bathroom to the master bedroom, fireplace, TV with DVD player, and spacious luxury kitchen.
Resort amenities include a health and fitness club, and heated indoor pool.
- Close to activities and attractions
- Private townhouse rentals
- Mountain views
- Self catering
Hawks Nest Snow Tubing Resort
A leader in snow tubing, Hawksnest Snow Tubing Resort takes snow tubing to new levels of fun.
Located atop a mountain town called Seven Devils, the resort features 4 different areas to snow tube with over 30 separate lanes of between 400 and 1000 feet long for all the family to enjoy.
Total lighting on all lanes means the snow tubing excitement can continue into the night. 100% snowmaking and state of the art snow grooming equipment keeps the tubing lanes in top condition, and there are 2 moving carpet lifts to bring you safely back to the top.
Thrill seekers will also love the resort’s zip line canopy featuring 4 miles of zipline riding with heights over 200 feet and speeds up to 50 mph through trees, over lakes and creeks, with panoramic views.
Which do you think are the best North Carolina ski resorts?