Skiing Guide to North Carolina


Story and pictures by Julie Roland.

Editor’s Note – Winter Wonderland is coming to Bond Park in Cary this weekend. Unfortunately, it’s sold out. So, if you want to get a little snow adventure going this winter, you may have to venture farther afield. Julie Roland, our contributor on all things about the Great Outdoors, had this post recently about skiing in the mountains of North Carolina.

Snow Skiing in North Carolina

Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina – I grew up in the Rockies and I can tell you that North Carolina has some great skiing. It’s the Switzerland of the South. Here’s a story about my recent family ski trip to Banner Elk plus a full guide to skiing in North Carolina.

Family Vacation at Sugar Mountain

We stayed at the Sugar Ski & Country Club in Banner Elk, NC. The accommodations were glorious. We were able to walk right out the door of our condo and onto the Big Red Ski Slope.

Sugar Mountain is about 175 miles from Pittsboro – about a 3 hour trip.

Sugar Mountain is a year-round condo community that includes all the amenities – a clubhouse with hot tub, sauna, and an indoor heated pool. They also have a tennis court, basketball court and coin-operated laundry room.  All units have fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, cable TV and phone. All you have to do is bring yourself, food, clothes, some extra towels for the pool and the rest is here!

My 5 yr.-old son attended their ski school the first day we were there and he LOVED it! He took to it like a real pro and soon he was skiing with the rest of us.

Snow Tubing and Zip Lines

The lines were very long for snow tubing, so we headed down the road to HawksNest Snow Tubing Resort.

Recognized for having the largest Snow Tubing Park on the East Coast, they’ve added the longest Zip line Tour on the East Coast as well, featuring 19 cables, four of which are known in the zip line industry as super or mega zips.

Gliding through the air with ease is trouble-free. Zippers–ages five and up–enjoy the exhilarations of speeding treetop high over valleys having expansive views and threading through the forest canopy over creeks, wild turkeys, deer, groundhogs and the occasional bear. In winter, zippers can yell to their snow tubing friends from way above as they begin their journey.

Their 20 Lane Snow Tubing Park has four different areas to snow tube; lanes are 400 – 1000 feet long. Their 2 conveyor lifts take the snow tubers back to the top for more rides. Hawksnest has 100% snow making and lighting on all lanes to provide the best possible conditions and fun for the whole family.

We enjoyed the Coffee Bar and food choices at Hawksnest, too. Perfect way to end an afternoon of zipping!

Other Ski Resorts in North Carolina

Here are more places to ski in North Carolina. For more info, you can also visit For an up-to-date Ski Report, visit SkiCentral. Right now (January 2013), slopes in NC have 25-60′ of snow. 25 lifts and 52 runs are open across the ski region.

Appalachian Ski Mtn
Family ski resort in the High Country of North Carolina. 12 slopes including 2 terrain parks serviced by 1 double chairlift, two quad chairlifts, two conveyor lifts (new in 2010) and one handle-pull lift.

Cataloochee Ski Area
Enjoy a ski holiday at the exciting slopes of this Maggie Valley, North Carolina ski area with winding trails and a friendly, helpful atmosphere. Night skiing is available on certain days.

Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park
6 snow tube lanes to choose from from slow to very steep and fast for the more daring snow tuber.

Sapphire Valley
Sapphire Valley is in the far southwest of the state. The ski hill consists of two runs, one each for intermediate and beginner skiers, featuring runs up to 1600 feet in length and a vertical drop of 200 feet.

Scaly Mountain
Located in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, Scaly Mountain is in the same region as Sapphire Valley. It is the closest ski region to Florida, Georgia & Alabama. Facilities include skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing runs.

Ski Beech
Ski resort located on Beech Mountain not far from Sugar Mountain and Banner Elk. Night skiing is also offered for a winter wonderland of fun and activities for your family vacation.

Sugar Mountain Ski Resort
North Carolina’s largest ski area. With ski slopes, a terrain park, ice skating, tube park, snowshoeing, slopeside lodging and more they have it all. Located in and around Banner Elk, NC not far from Boone.

Tube World
Located in Maggie Valley near Cataloochee.

Wolf Ridge Ski Slopes
Wolf Ridge has 23 ski slopes over 72 acres of terrain. It is located 30 minutes from Asheville near the town of Mars Hill, NC.

NC Ski Region

Google maps is a great way to get an overview of the skiing region of NC.