Although there is still lots of colorful leaves on the trees in WNC, the cold temperatures are finally moving into the region and that means that ski season is just around the corner. Last night saw low temperatures close to freezing and there was a blanket of frost on the grass when I took the dogs out for their morning walk. At the same time, we’re still getting up into the 60s during the day, but the first frost usually means that it’s time to bring the potted plants inside for the winter and the ski slopes will be opening soon!
For those who don’t know, there are 6 ski slopes in western NC, all within a 2 hour drive from Asheville. Listed below is general information about all.
- Cataloochee Ski Area – Located in Maggie Valley, this ski area opens in early November. It has 16 slopes and trails, five ski lifts, Tube World, and night skiing. Cataloochee is family-oriented and good for beginners. Contact: 800.768.0285 for rates and information. Cataloochee Ski Area is 43 miles from the Inn (about a 1 hour drive).
- Wolf Ridge Ski Resort – Located in Mars Hill, this ski resort opens in November with 16 slopes and trails, eight ski lifts and Mars Hill Snow Tubing. Contact: 800.817.4111. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is 44 miles from the Inn (about a 1 hour drive).
- Sapphire Valley Ski Resort – Located in Sapphire, just east of Cashiers off Hwy 64. This resort opens mid-December with two slopes, one trail, and Frozen Falls Tube Park. Contact: 828.743.7663 for rates and information. Sapphire Valley Ski Resort is 44 miles SW of the Inn (about 1 hour 5 minutes away).
- Sugar Mountain Resort – Located near Banner Elk, Sugar Mountain Resort has historically opened in mid-November with 20 slopes and trails, 8 ski lifts, 10,000 square-foot ice skating rink, and tubing. Ski racing and snowshoeing are also offered. Sugar Mountain is the largest ski resort in the state and encompasses over 115 acres. Contact: 800.784.2768. Sugar Mountain Resort is 85 miles NE of the Inn (about 1 hour 45 minutes away).
- Appalachian Ski Mountain – Located near Blowing Rock, ASM is open for the 2010-2011 season from November 19 – March 27. This ski area offers 10 slopes, five ski lifts, two terrain parks, tubing, and an outdoor ice arena. Contact: 800.322.2373 for rates and information. ASM is 99 miles NE of the Inn (just under a 2-hour drive).
- Beech Mountain Resort – Located just past Banner Elk, Beech Mountain Resort opens in November with 15 slopes and trails, 9 lifts, a 7,000 square foot ice skating rink, and tubing. The resort boasts the highest elevation among East Coast ski resorts at 5,506 feet. Contact: 800.438.2093 for rates and information. Beech Mountain Resort is 92 miles from the Inn (about a 2-hour drive).
Believe it or not, I have never been skiing in my life! I grew up in Northern VA, but I tended to enjoy sports requiring a lot less clothing than skiing like soccer, basketball, and volleyball. But this may be the year that I give it a try. If any of my guests are interested, maybe we can plan a day trip together. Just be aware that I’ll be hanging out on the Beginner slopes!