It’s (finally) time to ski NC

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

That already happened, you say? With temperatures across the state feeling more like April than December, it’s hard to believe that the holidays came and went last month. But winter weather is finally here, and that’s very good news for the North Carolina ski industry. Ready to hit the slopes? Here are a few options you’ll find just a short drive from Charlotte:

Appalachian Ski Mountain

Blowing Rock, NC (95 miles from uptown)

Average Base: 23” – 43″

Trails Open: 12 of 12

App Ski Mountain is a popular choice for families and young adults alike. Trail selection is as balanced as it gets, including three green, three blue and three black options for skiers of all ages and abilities. The 46,000-square-foot Bavarian-style lodge enhances the “old-world alpine atmosphere” and offers a place to kick back and relax during your long day on the slopes.

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Beech Mountain Resort

Beech Mountain, NC (118 miles from uptown)

Average Base: 18” – 52″

Trails Open: 8 of 15

Boasting the title of “highest ski area in Eastern America” (peak elevation: 5,506ft.), Beech Mountain provides plenty of fun for skiers and non-skiers alike. In addition to Beech’s 95 skiable acres, the resort offers 5506’ Skybar — a mountaintop bar and grill featuring one of the best vistas in the North Carolina high country, Beech Mountain Brewing Company for those looking to enjoy a local craft brew, and Alpine Village, complete with an ice-skating rink, coffee shop and numerous other amenities.

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Cataloochee Ski Area

Maggie Valley, NC (155 miles from uptown)

Average Base: 28” – 42″

Slopes Open: 14 of 17

Cataloochee is North Carolina’s oldest ski area in operation, originally opened to the public in 1967. A great ski area for beginners, Cataloochee offers eight green trails for those who may be learning for the first time. Looking for a cost-effective ski trip for the whole family? Good news: kids 17 and under ski free Monday through Friday when accompanied by a paying adult. There’s plenty of fun to be had by intermediate and expert skiers here as well.

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Sugar Mountain Resort

Sugar Mountain, NC (111 miles from uptown)

Average Base: 16” – 50″

Slopes Open: 10 of 21

One of the three skiing options in Watauga County, Sugar Mountain offers runs for the first timer to the seasoned veteran. Just starting out? Cut your teeth on Easy Street. Skiing in your blood? Head straight to the top and test your skills on Whoopdeedo, Sugar’s only double black diamond. Getting to the top of the mountain has never been easier with the addition of Dopplemeyr, Sugar’s first high-speed, six-passenger chair lift bringing guests to the 5,300-foot summit in five minutes.

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Keep in mind that conditions, as well as slope and lift openings, can change daily. Be sure to check the website of the ski area you’re heading toward before your trip for the most up-to-date information.

Featured photo: Sugar Mountain Resort/Charlotte Observer