There are only a few locations scattered across the United States where you can find some good skiing within a few hours of a beach. California is probably the first option that comes to mind, but there’s another quality spot on the other side of the country: North Carolina.
The state may not have the snow or surf of the west coast, but it still boasts some of the best skiing on the eastern side of the country. We’ll take a look at its resorts below. The east coast does not have a lot of big mountains and snowfall. Even so, you can still find some quality runs in places like North Carolina.
No matter if you live in the area or just want to make the most of a winter visit, the ski resorts you’ll see here are all recommended if you’re in NC.
1. Sugar Mountain
One of my personal favorite spots to ski in North Carolina is Sugar Mountain. It has an alluring name that can be taken quite literally by anyone who sees the sugar-like snow start to pile up in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
The resort is small by western standards, but it’s actually the largest in North Carolina and offers some great terrain options for all abilities when the conditions are right.
There are six different chair lifts that will give you access to the runs at Sugar Mountain. The highest point you can access via a lift is around 5,300 feet above sea level and from this point, you can enjoy a nice vertical drop of 1,200 feet back down to the base.
That makes for a pretty decent run. There are also groomers, moguls, trees, and steeps to explore. The wide variety has something for every skiing level.
If you’re an advanced skier, this is definitely the spot to visit in North Carolina. It has a few black diamond and double diamond runs that you’ll be hard-pressed to find at other locations in the region.
The downside is that you won’t always see consistent snowfall, but the resort has a decent snowmaking process that can cover 100 percent of the mountain and give you enough coverage to get by.
In addition to quality terrain and a nice terrain park to ski on, Sugar Mountain also has a lot of other winter activities.
That includes a huge ice skating rink, tubing and sledding hill, and plenty of room to explore on snowshoes or hike if the snow isn’t too deep.
You’ll also find enough lodging and dining options in the village area to keep you and your family satisfied whenever you visit.
2. Appalachian Ski Mountain
Whenever I ski in the eastern US, I’m prepared to deal with conditions that aren’t the same as in my home state of Colorado. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a lot of fun when I’m away. Appalachian Ski Mountain is one of my favorite spots to visit when snow conditions are uncertain.
Why? Because the resort has some amazing terrain parks to take advantage of no matter how much fresh snow has fallen.
This resort has three different terrain parks that offer a wide variety of features, including jumps and rails, that will satisfy even the best park rats around.
Outside of the parks, you’ll find a decent amount of terrain with some good beginner ski options for those just learning the basics.
You won’t find a lot of advanced terrains here, but it’s a great mountain for a family trip or if you want to perfect your tricks and skills in the park.
Another reason why the App (as the resort is locally known) makes the list is that it’s quite affordable and near some of the region’s major metro centers.
It’s about two hours from the airport in Charlotte, which means you can land and be at the resort’s base on the same day. You can also find some good lodging and dining options in the town of Boone just 15 minutes away.
I’d recommended the App as the best family ski resort in North Carolina. If you want to enjoy a nice meal or find good lodging outside of the base area, check out the nearby town of Blowing Rock.
3. Beech Mountain
The top of Beech Mountain sits at 5,506 feet above sea level and gives you a vertical drop of 860 feet back down to the base area.
Over its 95 skiable acres, you’ll find a variety of terrain to match all different ability levels. Eight lifts give you access to the 17 runs that dot the mountain.
Those aren’t huge numbers, but with excellent snowmaking capabilities, you can expect a great experience anytime you visit Beech Mountain. It also has one terrain park that you can take advantage of on days when the snow isn’t quite up to snuff.
At the base of the ski resort, you’ll find the town of Beech Mountain. The area will give you a good amount of dining and lodging options.
It’s a small place, but that provides a nice classic ski-town vibe I personally love. It’s easy to find some good apres ski after a long day on the slopes and then enjoy some quality dinner in town.
The ski resorts outlined above are all highly recommended for anyone in North Carolina during the winter.
None of them are immense like the resorts you’ll find in the western section of the U.S., but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun in the wild and wonderful eastern mountains. Simply pick what appeals to you.
Have you ever skied in North Carolina? What mountain do you like and why? Let me know in the comments below.