From late November through mid-March, southern skiers can enjoy a great, drivable option to get their snow fix close to home. Sugar Mountain Resort, Beech Mountain Resort, and Appalachian Ski Mtn., are all located in North Carolina’s high country, within a short distance of each other. In addition to skiing, all three locations offer something a little different off the slopes too.
Beech Mountain Resort: Beech has the highest elevation of any NC ski resort with 15 trails and 95 skiable acres. It also boasts a high-speed quad lift to get skiers up the mountain fast. The resort offers several learn-to-ski options, including half-day and full-day sessions. Beech has been revamping their snow making capabilities the last few years and continues to add more snow guns to ensure a good base and lots of snow. Beech Mountain is the only one of the three resorts to have a shopping area in addition to a pro shop in the lodge. The Alpine Village includes restaurants, shops, a 7,000 square foot ice rink and a large fire pit. A short drive from the slopes in the town of Beech Mountain is a free sledding hill for kids 12 and under with a visitors center and warm bathrooms.
Sugar Mountain Resort: Sugar Mountain, which has more than 115 skiable acres, will have 21 trails when its newest trail debuts in winter 2014-15. It also offers the only double black diamond trail in the state of North Carolina. But don’t think this resort is only for experts. There are trails for every level and several green runs for novice skiers. The bunny slow has a magic carpet to take beginners to the top easily. Sugar also offers the most wintertime fun off the slopes. There is a 10,000 square foot ice rink, a tubing park that includes a magic carpet lift. The 700 ft tube park is groomed and lit for nighttime fun too. For the really adventurous, Sugar offers guided snowshoe tours for younger kids 8 – 11, and a separate tour for those over 12 years old.
Appalachian Ski Mtn: Appalachian Ski Mtn.’s French Swiss Ski College is one of the best in the Southeast and has taught over a million people how to ski. App also has the best snow making capabilities and as long as Mother Nature cooperates, can blanket the mountain in short order. For beginners, they offer a magic carpet moving sidewalk to take you to the top of the bunny slope. The slopes themselves are not as steep as other resorts, so it’s perfect for a beginner to get in a longer run without being intimidated. For those that want a break from skiing, App has an award winning ice rink. For those who don’t like the cold, Appalachian Ski Mtn lodge has large windows that make it easy to watch the mountainside fun while staying warm and connected via wi-fi.