The Best Places for Snow Skiing in North Carolina

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[Updated 9/16/22] 

The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains may not have the jaw-dropping 13,000- to 14,000-foot peaks you’ll find in the Rockies of Colorado or Utah, but there are actually numerous great places to go snow skiing in North Carolina.

There are impressive options for skiing near Asheville, not to mention top-flight North Carolina ski resorts in the High Country around Boone.

In fact, most of the best ski resorts in North Carolina are near the Blue Ridge region’s hippest hotspots and quaintest small mountain towns, including Banner Elk, Blowing Rock, and Brevard.

Skiing North Carolina is especially great for families because the slopes lean towards the gentler side.

Snow tubing in North Carolina is widely available at most NC ski resorts, as well as snowboarding.

So check out our guide to the best places for skiing in North Carolina, each of which allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges.

READ MORE: The Best NC Christmas Events in Asheville, Bryson City & Beyond

Best Snow-Skiing in North Carolina Guide

  1. Cataloochee Ski Area (Maggie Valley)
  2. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort (Mars Hill)
  3. Beech Mountain Resort (Beech Mountain)
  4. Appalachian Ski Mountain (Blowing Rock)
  5. Sugar Mountain Resort (Sugar Mountain)
  6. Hawksnest Snowtubing (Seven Devils)
  7. Sapphire Valley Ski Resort (Sapphire Valley)
  8. Cross-Country Skiing Near Blowing Rock & Boone NC

 

Asheville Skiing Options

Chair lift - North Carolina Snow Skiing
Chair lift at a North Carolina Ski Resort

Asheville has emerged over the last decade as one of the most popular tourist destinations on the East Coast.

It’s located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and has a youthful urban vibe—think breweries, excellent downtown restaurants, food trucks, art galleries, and treehouse rentals

The town also offers quintessential mountain living, with lots of hiking trails, mountain biking, and folk music.

But while it is the major hub of Western North Carolina, Asheville is hardly the only place in the area worth visiting in winter.

In fact, there are a couple of great ski resorts near Asheville, less than an hour outside the city. 

The mountain towns of Maggie Valley and Mars Hill both offer sweet snow skiing opportunities.

READ MORE: The 25 Best Things to Do in Asheville NC

NC Ski resort in February -Snow-Skiing in North Carolina
NC Ski Resort in February

Cataloochee Ski Area

1080 Ski Lodge Rd, Maggie Valley NC • 828-926-0285

Official Website

Just west of Asheville, near Waynesville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Maggie Valley is a popular place for adventurous Asheville tourists in both the summer and winter.

The Cataloochee Ski Area is the best place for skiing in Maggie Valley, which is to say it is the destination for all snow-related sports.

There isn’t any actual lodging here. Instead, off-site lodging partners offer up accommodation that ranges from discount motels and log cabins to upscale hotel rooms.

The ski area itself consists of 18 different slopes and trails. Most of them are aimed at beginners and intermediate skiers, but there are a couple that are designated as expert runs.

There’s a total vertical drop of 740 feet on site. Ski lessons are available for newbies, and there are “slow skiing areas” for those who are still getting accustomed to life on the slopes.

The peak season for the Cataloochee Ski Area (and all of the following destinations) is mid-December through early March. During that time, it’s open daily from about 9 AM to 10 PM.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Treehouse Rentals in the North Carolina Mountains

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, North Carolina - Snow-Skiing in North Carolina
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort via skiwolfridgenc.com

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

578 Valley View Cir, Mars Hill NC • 828-689-4111

Official Website

Moving 20 miles north of Asheville on I-26, Mars Hill is in the famed Madison County, NC (as in The Bridges of…).

Mars Hill is home to the oldest college in Western North Carolina, Mars Hill University, which was originally established in 1856.

Though it has undergone a few name changes over the years, the prime ski destination in Mars Hill is currently known as Wolf Ridge Ski Resort.

Since becoming Wolf Ridge, the resort has added new slopes as well as upgrading their snow machines.

The resort has a comfy lodge with multiple stone fireplaces, cafeteria, a gift shop, and a viewing area. There are 15 slopes in total, over half of which are intermediate (blue squares).

There is a designated run used exclusively for snow tubing. The Snow Sports School is also there to provide private and group lessons.

There are on-site and nearby cabins, chalets, and condos available through Wolf Mountain Realty and Scenic Wolf.

There are also plenty of off-site partner hotels, cabins, and other accommodations.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Bryson City NC


Booking.com

Boone Skiing Options

Hometown of the Appalachia State University Mountaineers, Boone NC offers a wonderful mixture of a trendy college town and a cozy Blue Ridge mountain town.

It’s got a deep history in the music scene, including roots to jam band favorites like Widespread Panic, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Doc Watson.

Boone, which was named after folk hero Daniel Boone, was incorporated in 1872. But the town has actually been around much longer.

Historically speaking, the area has been home to the Junaluska community (not to be confused with Lake Junaluska, near Waynesville NC).

This unique African-American community has been free since before the Civil War, and is still around today.

Boone is still the type of place that welcomes all visitors, offering up plenty of  campgrounds, local breweries, community-minded restaurants, easy access to Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks and Christmas Tree Farms.

Additionally, the best skiing in North Carolina is but a bunny hop and a mogul skip away.

In fact, there are four fantastic North Carolina ski resorts less than 45 minutes from downtown Boone.

READ MORE: 20 Best Things to Do in Boone NC

Skiing Beech Mountain Resort NC - Snow-Skiing in North Carolina
Beech Mountain Resort via @beechmtn

Beech Mountain Resort

1007 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain NC • 828-387-2011

Official Website

Noted as “the highest town in the Eastern US,” Beech Mountain perches at 5,506 feet in elevation.

In the summertime, it’s a hotspot for golf, hiking, and mountain biking. In Autumn, visitors flock to The Land of Oz, a quirky Wizard of Oz theme park. But in the winter, Beech Mountain all about the snow.

Averaging nearly 85 inches of snow a year, the town fully embraces winter sports, including offering a free snow tubing hill for kids.

But Beech Mountain Resort is where the serious skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing all take place.

There are 17 different ski trails at the resort, including “The Park” for practicing your skills on different terrains.

There’s even a 7,000 square foot outdoor ice-skating rink! Lessons and camps are on offer for kids of all ages.

Various types of lodging are available around the town of Beech Mountain, including the Beech Alpen Inn, Pinnacle Inn Resort, the Accommodations Center of Beech Mountain, and Beech Mountain Chalet Rentals.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Banner Elk NC

 

Skiing Blowing Rock NC

North Carolina Mountains covered with Snow & Fog via canva
North Carolina Mountains covered with Snow & Fog

Appalachian Ski Mountain

940 Ski Mountain Rd, Blowing Rock NC • 828-295-7828

Official Website

Blowing Rock NC is best-known for the unusual rock formation for which it is named.

The large rock juts out over the Johns River, causing crazy wind patterns that occasionally push upward so strongly that they can lift light objects.

As with most places around Watauga County NC (northeast of Asheville), outdoor activities abound in both summer and wintertime.

The Blue Ridge Mountains provide ideal, waterfall-laden settings for hiking and mountain biking in the summer. And skiing tops the outdoor activities list in winter by a wide margin.

Appalachian Ski Mountain has a dozen ski slopes, including three black diamonds and three freestyle terrains.

There are also ski schools, an ice-skating rink, and four nice chalets for rent. All ski passes should be reserved online.

Hotels near Appalachian Ski Mountain include Chetola Resort (3.4 miles), The Village Inns (3.5 miles), Meadowbrook Inn (3.7 miles), and The Green Park Inn (4.8 miles).

READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Blowing Rock NC for Foodies

 

Skiing Sugar Mountain NC

Night Time on Sugar Mountain NC
Night Time on Sugar Mountain NC, photo via Canva

Sugar Mountain Resort

1009 Sugar Mountain Dr, Sugar Mountain NC • 828-898-4521

Official Website

Located in Pisgah National Forest, Sugar Mountain NC, doesn’t even register as a town. It’s more like a large village.

Nevertheless, it offers up beautiful mountain views, gurgling streams, and lots of things to do all year round.

Sugar Mountain Resort has been around for over half a century now. It’s the largest ski resort in North Carolina, and features the longest vertical drop of all the NC ski slopes.

All in all, there are eight ski lifts here, servicing 21 slopes and 125 acres of skiing terrain.

Sugar Mountain averages about 70 inches of snow each year, and the season generally extends into March.

But the resort gets an early bump from snow machines starting around Thanksgiving.

Accommodation options in Sugar Mountain include the Sugar Ski & Country Club, Sugar Mountain Lodging, and The Highlands at Sugar.

The resort is located 16 miles from Boone, 16 miles from Blowing Rock, or four miles from Banner Elk.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Pisgah National Forest Hiking Trails in North Carolina

 

Skiing Seven Devils NC

Hawks Nest Tubing
photo via HawksNestTubing.com

Hawksnest Snow Tubing

2058 Skyland Dr, Seven Devils NC • 828-963-6561

Official Website

Truth be told, skiing in Seven Devils actually requires a short trip to Appalachian Ski Mountain (30 minutes away), Beech Mountain Resort (30 min), or Sugar Mountain Resort (20 min).

Interestingly, this NC mountain town has ditched the skis for snow tubing exclusively!

What used to be miniscule ski slopes have now become top-flight snow tubing courses. Hawksnest Snowtubing and Zipline Resort has over 30 lanes available, stretching from 400 to 1000 feet long.

As the resort’s name suggests, Hawksnest NC also offers up some top-notch ziplining. There are 20 different ziplines in all, with four “mega zips” clearing 1500 feet or more.

The ziplines operate year-round. But in winter, they speed (sometimes reaching up to 50 mph) over frozen lakes and snowy meadows.

With its roster of cabins, condos, and vacation homes, Foscoe Rentals offers the closest lodging to Hawksnest.

There’s also the Hidden Valley Motel– a quirky mom-and-pop roadside joint– nearby.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Waterfalls Near Boone NC

 

Cashiers & Highlands Skiing Options

Night Time Skiing at Sugar Mountain
Night Time Skiing at Sugar Mountain

While most of Western North Carolina’s ski resorts are located above I-40, there are a couple of options for those visiting the southernmost reaches of the region.

Located near the North Georgia border, Cashiers is an unincorporated village in Jackson County NC, in the self-proclaimed “Heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

Nearby Highlands NC is a small town located just a quick day trip from Atlanta (2 hours) and Asheville (under 2 hours).

Each place has a distinctly upscale ambience, serving as gateways to the Nantahala National Forest and all the campgrounds, waterfalls, hiking trails, and breathtaking vistas to be found there.

When winter arrives, the local outdoor activities also feature a respectable ski slope.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Western NC Small Towns To Visit (and Live In!)

Ski Sapphire Valley NC
photo via SkiSapphireValley.com

Sapphire Valley Ski Resort

127 Cherokee Trail, Sapphire NC • 828-743-7663

Official Website

Located three miles east of Cashiers NC, Sapphire has just enough snow to help ski enthusiasts get a little action.

Sapphire Valley Ski Resort offers a 1600-foot ski slope with a 200-foot vertical drop. It’s also a great spot for honing your snowboarding skills.

In addition to the ski slope, Sapphire Valley features Frozen Falls, a 500-foot snow tubing run that slides down some 60 feet in elevation.

Then there’s a moving sidewalk to carry snow tubers back up the slope for easy access to more fun.

Sapphire Valley has a mixed assortment of lodging offered by various independent operators.

READ MORE: The 50 Best North Carolina Waterfalls to Visit

 

Cross-Country Skiing Near Blowing Rock & Boone

Cross Country Skiing in North Carolina
Cross Country Skiing in NC, photo via Canva

Most of the cross-country skiing options in North Carolina are close to Boone and Blowing Rock, and they’re free for those who have their own equipment.

Located about 10 miles north of Boone, Elk Knob State Park is the only NC State Park specifically geared for winter recreation. There’s about a mile of “ungroomed trail” that’s open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park (Blue Ridge Parkway MP 294) has miles of fairly flat trails designed for horse-and-carriage rides. In the snow, they double as cross-country skiing tracks. 

Roughly 45 minutes from Boone, Roan Mountain is a popular ridge top section on the Appalachian Trail that can work for cross-country skiing in winter. This area has the deepest NC mountains snow at 100 inches a year.

Another option for cross-country skiing in North Carolina is using the closed sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone. The BRP is generally closed in one or both directions when snow has come down.

Lastly, the Boone Greenway sometimes gets enough snow for cross-country skiing right in town. It can be accessed from several locations, including the Watauga County Recreation Complex, Clawson Burnley Park, Deerfield Road, and Southgate Shopping Center.  –by Jonathon Engels; lead image via Canva

 

Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

After visiting the Western North Carolina for the first time, Jonathon Engels and his wife Emma spent two years looking for a few acres of property there to establish a permaculture homestead. During that search, he explored the Blue Ridge Parkway, surrounding towns, and parks. He has taught at both Blue Ridge Community College and Surry Community College, is a member of a long-established land conservation community near the town of Dobson, volunteers at the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, and continues to explore the Blue Ridge, a place he now lovingly calls home.