Sure, the Southeast is not necessarily known for skiing. However, with the Appalachian Mountains running right through western North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, you can gain enough elevation for some decent turns. These southerly states are actually home to a few full-service ski resorts, complete with on-site lodging and luxurious spas. But, you can also visit the hills in mom-and-pop towns to experience true southern hospitality in a no-frills setting. What these little resorts lack in elevation, they surely make up for with snowmaking, terrain parks, and tubing. Winter destinations in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the Allegheny Mountains offer something for everyone, and often at half the price of the world-class resorts out West.
Sugar Mountain, Banner Elk, North Carolina
Located 2 miles east of Banner Elk in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sugar Mountain Resort (North Carolina's largest ski area) boasts 1,155 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 1,200 feet. This popular resort offers roughly 5 miles of skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing areas, including 20 ski trails (15 of which are lighted for night skiing) and multiple tubing runs. There are four double chairlifts, including two of the longest in North Carolina, one triple chairlift, one T-bar, one handle tow, and two magic carpets. With just as many skiable acres as some resorts in New England, and various lodging and dining options nearby, Sugar Mountain is a must-go weekend trip for southern skiers.
Appalachian Ski Mtn., Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Located in quaint Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Ski Mtn. was the first ski area in northwestern North Carolina (then called Blowing Rock Ski Lodge). This family-oriented resort features 10 slopes accessed by two quad chairlifts, one double chairlift, one conveyor lift, and one handle pull lift. The longest run, Orchard Run, winds a half-mile down the mountain. Kids can test their skills on three terrain parks, serviced by three separate lifts, and the 6,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink and night skiing provide hours of fun for the whole family. Appalachian Ski Mtn. offers fun events like a Ladies Park Night and even hosts a USASA-sanctioned boardercross and skiercross competition.
Cataloochee Ski Area, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
Easily reached from I-40, Cataloochee Ski Area is located in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Here, skiers and snowboarders can choose from 18 slopes and trails with a 44 percent beginner, 39 percent intermediate, and 17 percent advanced to expert mix. The five lifts include one double, a triple, a quad, and two moving carpet surface lifts. Cat Cage Terrain Park is filled with fun jumps, rails, and boxes for snowboarders and skiers alike. Nearby Tube World (also run by the resort) offers one-hour sessions on their groomed tubing hill serviced by a magic carpet service lift.
Beech Mountain Resort, Beech Mountain, North Carolina
At 5,506 feet above sea level, Beech Mountain Resort is the highest ski resort in eastern North America (a claim that surpasses all of Vermont's world-class resorts). This private development started hosting skiers in the mid-1960s and now includes 17 trails serviced by nine lifts, a terrain park, complete with rails, boxes, tubes, and a rope tow, and a 7,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink. A charming Alpine-style village sits at the mountain's base, complete with an on-site brewery, Beech Mountain Brewing Co., as well as a two-story lodge, rental and souvenir shops, and an outdoor fire pit.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, Mars Hill, North Carolina
Rounding out North Carolina's ski meccas is Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, located only 30 minutes from the college town of Asheville, North Carolina. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort offers skiers and riders 14 runs serviced by two quad chairlifts, two double chairlifts, and one surface lift. Boardwalk, a half-mile trail that is part of the Breakaway section of the mountain, winds through a ski tunnel and contains a terrain park that offers plenty of freestyle action. A free shuttle service transports you 1 mile down the mountain to the 350-foot-long tube park, complete with full snowmaking capabilities. Round out your stay by booking one of Wolf Mountain Reality's 25 cabins for a weekend family getaway.
Bryce Resort, Basye, Virginia
Originally a summer retreat in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Bryce Resort opened its ski slopes in the 1960s. Now, a popular all-season resort, Bryce delivers eight slopes served by two chairlifts, one surface lift, and two carpet lifts. Trails range from beginner to intermediate to advanced, and the tubing park features 800-foot long tubing lanes. At the base of the hill, check out the ice-skating rink, ski and snowboard shop, and the Copper Kettle Restaurant, featuring seasonal ingredients and live entertainment. In the summertime, Bryce Resort transforms itself into a downhill mountain biking enclave, complete with lessons and rentals, as well as a destination for golf, ziplining, and snowless summer tubing.
Massanutten, Massanutten, Virginia
Massanutten offers all-season fun, complete with skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing in the winter, and golfing, mountain biking, and an indoor water park come summer. Massanutten boasts 14 trails for all levels of skiers and riders and its terrain park contains elements for snowboarders, skiers, and snowbladers. The mini-park is perfect for kids wanting to learn park skills and progress at their own rate. The Massanutten Family Adventure Park features 16 lanes of winter and summer tubing, as well as a climbing wall, and zip-lining setup. Don't leave without testing your skills on the FlowRider Endless Wave. You may even skip skiing for a day to dial in your surfing.
Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia
A premier all-season luxury resort, Omni Resort's Homestead offers something for skiers and snowboarders, too, with nine downhill ski runs and a snowboard park serviced by two lifts. Winter activities include ice skating on an Olympic-sized rink, mini snowmobiling for kids, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing. The indoor and outdoor pools truly are the gems of this resort, with the Allegheny Springs pool, indoor pool, and Serenity Garden pool all spring-fed by mountain water. Modern lodging accommodations and eight dining options, including an on-site market, provide a luxury weekend getaway for families.
Wintergreen Resort, Wintergreen, Virginia
Wintergreen Resort is located adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway in picturesque central Virginia. This 11,000-acre all-season resort offers winter guests the unique advantage of being able to ski and play golf on the same day. With 26 trails, two snow tubing parks, a terrain park, and high-speed chairlifts, this sizeable southeastern resort boasts terrain for all levels of skiers and riders. After your day of skiing is done, leave the snow and head 3,000 feet down the mountain to Stoney Creek Golf Course to squeak in as many holes of golf as you can before sunset.
Snowshoe Mountain, Snowshoe, West Virginia
Situated in the Monongahela National Forest in the southern portion of the tranquil Allegheny Mountains, Snowshoe Mountain, a four-season Intrawest destination resort, offers 57 trails, 14 lifts, and a range of activities including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Intrawest also owns other ski resorts like Stratton Mountain, Steamboat Springs, and Winter Park, making it one of the only southeastern resorts with world-class amenities. This full-service resort offers ski and lodging packages, as well as lessons, rentals, and group rates. Visit Snowshoe in the summer to access 40 dedicated mountain biking trails that were home to the 2019 World Cup Mountain Bike Finals.
Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center, Davis, West Virginia
Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center is technically considered a West Virginia State Park. This all-season resort sits atop a plateau and overlooks a valley in the picturesque Allegheny Mountains. With 37 trails, four lifts, lessons, and rentals, Canaan Valley provides offerings for all levels of skiing and riding. Other on-site winter activities include snow tubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Five dining options deliver something for every type of palate and lodging options include lodge rooms and suites, cabins, cottages, and camping.
Timberline Mountain, Davis, West Virginia
Timberline Mountain, one of the few remaining family-owned resorts in the Southeast, offers 36 slopes and trails accessed by three chairlifts. With a vertical rise of 1,000 feet, Timberline boasts runs as long as 2 miles—some of the longest in the East. Timberline's two terrain parks vary in difficulty. Snow Squall Terrain Park offers beginner features, and Thunder Snow Terrain Park gives intermediate skiers and riders a taste of challenging sculpted jumps, technical rails, wall rides, and jibs. Nearby lodging and condo rentals are available in Tucker County, and the Slippery Slope Bar and Grill is the perfect spot for the après.
Winterplace Ski Resort, Ghent, West Virginia
Located on Flat Top Mountain in the southern Allegheny Mountains, family-oriented Winterplace Ski Resort is right off of I-77. This popular and expansive resort offers 28 slopes and a terrain park served by 10 lifts. Known for its robust snow tubing offering, Winterplace boasts 16 tubing lanes with two super carpet lifts. Cabin and hotel rooms can be booked directly through the resort's lodging site, and five mountainside eateries offer everything from a cup of hot cocoa to a burger and fries.