Ski and snowboarding season is on its way. If skiing or snowboarding are your jam, I’ve breaking down the 8 top rated West Virginia ski resorts and North Carolina ski resorts.
So if you’re ready to start planning your ski and snowboarding adventure and take it to the North Carolina or West Virginia slopes, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve had many people reach out for suggestions on where to ski in North Carolina so I wanted to share my top picks to make it easier to plan your mountain trip this winter.
Although I’m more of a Florida girl, I’ve lived in North Carolina now for 15 years and have done my share of exploring the best of what North Carolina has to offer.
I’ve even thrown in a couple of my West Virginia top rated ski resort favorites that are not too much further out if you choose to venture a little further north.
Image credit: Visit NC
North Carolina Skiing
The ski areas in North Carolina are far enough south to dodge freezing weather and high enough to provide challenging slopes.
With excellent snowmaking capabilities, they guarantee a constant supply of fresh snow and uninterrupted days of fantastic skiing conditions.
But what makes the ski resorts in N.C. a genuinely brilliant destination is that they cater to skiers of all ages and abilities. There are beginner runs for novices and young children learning the sport. Then, there are steeper slopes for seasoned skiers and daredevils.
Lastly, N.C. skiing is not just about frolicking in the snow. You have scenic views to bask in, quaint towns to see, and a wide range of cozy lodgings to return to after an exhausting day. With that said, snow skiing in North Carolina is truly a memorable experience.
North Carolina Ski Resorts Map
Top Rated Ski Resorts in North Carolina and West Virginia to Visit This Winter
Here are the very best ski resorts in North Carolina. I’ve also added my favorite ski resorts in West Virginia to the guide. Here’s what you need to know.
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Image credit: Ski Sugar
1. Sugar Mountain Resort
The Sugar Mountain Ski Resort is great for beginners and experts alike with plenty of runs to choose from. It’s also a top pick for snowboarders with one of the longest runs on the mountain. I would recommend this one if it’s your first time snowboarding or skiing.
The lodge has a large outdoor deck as well as a cozy indoor sitting area with a bar and restaurant, a large stone fireplace for warming up and a wall of windows that overlooks the slopes so you can see all the action from the inside while keeping warm.
It’s probably the best lodge out of all the ski resorts in NC, if you ask me.
Sugar also offers tubing, ice skating, and snowshoeing if you want to give that a try.
View the resort trail map to get a complete look at the lifts and slopes currently open.
Image credit: Exploration Local
2. Beech Mountain Resort
Beech Mountain Ski Resort leans more toward intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders if you want more challenging run options.
It’s got a peak elevation of 5,506 feet, which makes it known for being the highest ski area in the eastern US. It also offers a Burton Learn-to-Ride center for the inspired snowboarders 6-12 years of age.
I love the vibe at Beech Mountain and the cute villages nearby that make the area quaint and cozy. The drive up the mountain is beautiful but with that you’ll find a lot of tight twists and turns so be sure you have a 4-wheel drive and good snow or all season tires before venturing out.
Get the lo-down on the lifts and trails here.
The lodge offers a bar and restaurant as well as an indoor and outdoor sitting area. Ice skating and tubing are also options at Beech Mountain for those not interested in the slopes.
Be sure to check out the events page to schedule your trip on or around them as they always have something fun going on.
Nearby towns include Boone and Blowing Rock which I highly recommend exploring if you have the time to expand your activities.
Image credit: Charleston Gazette-Mail
3. Winterplace Ski Resort
If you want to venture up to West Virginia, Winterplace Ski Resort is awesome and is just about the same distance from Charlotte as Sugar is, except going north. It’s great for skiing and snowboarding with lots of trail options from beginner to advanced with the longest trail run being 1.25 miles. Long runs are ideal to make it more enjoyable and less time in line for the lift.
They also have the largest snow tubing park in West Virginia with 2 lifts and 20 chutes spanning 800 feet long if tubing is more up your alley.
What I love about Winterplace is that their snowmaking is 100% based on weather which means no man-made snow. You get the real stuff!
They have 27 slopes, 10 lifts and 1 terrain park. You’ll want to keep the mountain’s trail map on you to make it easier to navigate.
*The terrain park may be closed due to weather conditions so check before going if that’s something that interests you.
Dining is basically fast food there but you can opt for far better food options in the surrounding area.
Image credit: Snowshoe Mountain
4. Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort
Snowshoe is my ultimate fave! It’s the next best thing to the midwest and consists of trail options spanning across three separate ski areas –
The Snowshoe Basin which sits right off Snowshoe village and is ski-in and ski-out. Here you’ll find slopes for all levels from beginner to intermediate to expert level. With 37 trails to choose from, 2 terrain parks and 7 lifts there is fun to be had by everyone! The lifts are pretty fast too so waiting in line is less.
Silver Creek is known for its night skiing which is popular among locals. Here you’ll find 15 trails, 12 for night skiing, 6 lifts, a tube park with 8 runs, and 3 terrain parks. There are trails for beginners as well as expert level.
Western Territory (now Cupp Run) has more advanced terrain and is more for the adventurous and “no fear” skier who prefers the steeper runs and a good challenge. Here you’ll find 4 trails and 1 lift.
Snowshoe states they make their snow but where it sits on the mountain, there is always plenty of the natural stuff making the slopes perfect for skiing or snowboarding. On average, they get about 15 feet of snow each season so you can definitely expect the fluffy powder stuff!
And, from what I understand, the resort has recently invested in new snowmaking equipment to guarantee that Snowshoe has 100% snow coverage across the mountain if for some reason Mother Nature doesn’t pull through.
Otherwise, you get a free lift ticket to use on your next visit if they don’t have more snow than any other resort in the area.
My favorite part of Snowshoe is the village where you’ll find retail shops, restaurants, cafes and more.
I would suggest booking your stay in the Snowshoe Basin at the village so you can walk around and enjoy all that it has to offer including Split Rock heated pool and the hot tub makes a perfect end of the day wind down after a long day of skiing or snowboarding. There’s also a sauna among many other activities to choose from.
The pool sits across from Alleghany Springs which I highly recommend considering a stay at or Inn at Snowshoe which is smack dab in the middle of it all and has a Starbucks that sits just outside of it. Seneca is also nice and closer to the beginner slopes.
Snowshoe is definitely worth the trip for an experience you’ll always remember.
Image credit: Appalachian Ski Mountain
5. Appalachian Ski Mountain
Founded in 1962, the Appalachian Resort is one of the oldest ski areas in North Carolina. The Apps, as it’s commonly known, is popular among families, beginners, and intermediate skiers because of its groomed runs and risk-free slopes.
It is home to the French Swiss Ski College, which has provided private and group lessons to aspiring skiers, from athletes with handicaps to the US military.
The resort’s three terrain parks, AppalTop, Appaljack, and Appal Jam, attract seasoned skiers and snowboarders. As a safety requirement, those who wish to ride the upper-level terrain parks must first obtain a Park Pass by passing a test taken online or onsite.
Starting with only three slopes, the Apps has expanded to 12 over time. It has two trails for beginners, six for intermediate, and three for advanced skiers.
The resort’s longest slope, Orchard Run, yields a vertical drop of 111 meters, and guests can access the trails through a handle-pull lift, two quad chairlifts, a double chairlift, and two conveyor lifts.
The resort also offers night skiing, from early evening to 10 pm on weeknights and until midnight on weekends. Apart from skiing and snowboarding, you can use the 6,000 square feet skating rink.
At the base of the mountain resort is a 46,000 square feet lodge with a shop for equipment rentals, a souvenir store, and a slope-side restaurant with complimentary WiFi.
Image credit: Cataloochee Ski Area
6. Cataloochee Ski Area
Set on the edge of the Smoky Mountains, the Cataloochee Ski Area is the easternmost NC ski resort. It is also the oldest in the state, founded in 1961, a year earlier than the Appalachian.
The resort features 18 trails and one terrain park, geared generally to skiers and snowboarders with beginner and intermediate levels. The main hill stands 5,400 feet above sea level and yields a 226-meter vertical drop.
You can reach the slopes via two carpet lifts and three chairlifts. Like most ski mountains in NC, Cataloochee depends largely on snowmaking for its runs. With that said, the resort enjoys the lengthiest ski season in the southeast, lasting 125 days.
It offers night skiing, which begins on the second Saturday of December until the first Saturday of March. Cataloochee Ski Area is the perfect location to hone your skiing skills because of its relatively mild and easy runs.
At the base of the mountain is a lodge with a gift shop and a cafeteria serving burgers, hotdogs, soups, and hot and cold beverages. It also has a bar open from 11 am until late evening.
Image credit: Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
7. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
Are you planning on skiing near Ashville, NC? Check out Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, tucked between the gorgeous Western North Carolina mountains, less than an hour from Ashville.
Though small, Wolf Ridge is one of the best ski resorts in NC, particularly for those seeking a place to relax after skiing or snowboarding. The ski area is part of the Wolf Mountain Realty, which offers dozens of luxurious chalets and cabin rentals in the adjacent Wolf Laurel Resort.
But what truly sets Wolf Ridge apart from most Asheville ski resorts is that it provides endless adventures within the area. Think mountain biking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, hiking, and caving.
The resort also has a tube run outside the ski slopes and a lodge pizzeria, open from 11 am to 9 pm. Personally, I would opt for one of their salads, minus the eggs, meat and cheese or perhaps their veggie pizza without the feta to veganize your meal.
The resort has 15 ski trails and slopes, of which four are for beginners, nine for intermediate, and two for advanced. Its top elevation stands at 1,402 meters, with a maximum vertical drop of 213 meters. Two carpet lifts and two chairlifts take skiers up the slopes.
Use WayAway to plan your next trip and get 10% off plus money back savings.
Image credit: Visit Sapphire Valley
8. Sapphire Valley Ski Resort
Sapphire Valley is a family-focused resort perfect for those seeking a safe, laidback winter mountain vacation. Located in the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains, Sapphire Valley offers snowboarding and snow tubing in addition to skiing. Its multiple-lane tube park boasts a 500-foot run with a 60-foot vertical drop.
The resort’s main run spans 1,600 feet and has a total vertical drop of 200 feet. The beginner slope stretches 350 feet long with a modest 50-foot drop. With its moderate trails, Sapphire Valley is a great training ground for beginner and intermediate skiers and boarders. Top-notch ski lessons and onsite guidance from expert instructors are available to those learning the sport.
Try the resort’s winter zip line for some adrenaline rush.
At the base of the hill is a renovated lodge, a slope-side tavern, and a fire pit, where you can gather with friends and family.
Ski Mountains in North Carolina
The ski slopes in N.C. are some of the most scenic in the country. Many caters to families and novice skiers and snowboarders. But some also attract seasoned skiers because of their challenging ski slopes, trails, and thrilling drops.
Whether you’re considering skiing or snowboarding in N.C., here are some of the best locations to check out.
Sugar Mountain: Nestled in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, this 1,351-meter mountain is famous for its picturesque vistas, ski slopes, scenic trails, and outdoor ice rink. Sugar Mountain ski season typically begins in the second week of November.
Beech Mountain: Towering 5,506 feet above sea level, Beech is the highest ski resort in North Carolina. It boasts an 830-foot vertical rise and 17 slopes scattered within its 95 acres of skiable area.
Cataloochee Mountain: Ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers and boarders, the hill features 18 runs and a terrain park.
Sapphire Valley: With a vertical drop of 200 feet, the mountain is suitable for new and amateur skiers and snowboarders. It also has snow tubing and zip lining.
Appalachian Mountain: Perhaps the most challenging among the ski areas in North Carolina, this mountain draws thrill-seeking skiers and boarders who want to conquer the famous Appal Jam, the highest level of the resort’s terrain parks. The Apps is home to one of the most prestigious ski schools, French-Swiss Ski College.
Wolf Ridge: Located on Mars Hill, Wolf Ridge is dubbed North Carolina’s most accessible ski slope and provides suitable terrain for novice to expert skiers and snowboarders.