You don’t always have to head west to hit the ski slopes! In fact, you don't even have to go further than Alabama if you don’t want to.
Grab your ski gear or snowboarding gear (we can help you out with that at our Winter + Ski Event here at Unclaimed Baggage!) and take a family road trip to some of these amazing winter sports destinations right here in the southeast!
Like we said, you don’t have to go far to find unique travel experiences this winter. Believe it or not, you can actually go skiing in Alabama at Cloudmont Ski and Golf Resort, an 800-acre facility atop Lookout Mountain. Cloudmont includes two 1,000-foot, beginner-intermediate slopes as well as two “pony” lifts that take skiers to the top of the slopes, which have an elevation of 1,800 feet and a vertical rise of 150 feet. Not bad for the country’s southeastern most ski resort! Skiing is open from December 15 to March 15 (weather permitting), so before you head to the resort, check the website for slope conditions and hours of operation.
The largest (and arguably the most popular) ski destination in North Carolina is the sprawling Sugar Mountain Resort which features eight lifts and 21 trails for all skill levels. With 1,200-foot vertical on the 125 acres of skiable terrain, you can even get 1.5 miles of downhill skiing on a run at Sugar, which is an exciting find in the South! If snow skiing or snowboarding doesn’t tickle your fancy, Sugar Mountain also offers some fun winter activities like an ice-skating rink, a guided snowshoe tour and even a snow-tubing area. This resort is open November through March and also offers opportunities for night skiing.
If you’re looking for a family trip that also includes some fun winter activities, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park is the place to go! Explore all of the fun activities in Gatlinburg, and then take the famous two-mile aerial tramway up to the resort while enjoying views of the mountains and nearby Pigeon Forge. Ober Gatlinburg is Tennessee’s only ski resort and features nine slopes that are perfect for beginner to intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Do take note that a ski lesson is required for all first-timers, so plan an extra hour for that! Ober Gatlinburg usually opens its slopes in early to mid-December and closes in early to mid-March, but that totally depends on Mother Nature.
For the most Rocky Mountain-like ski experience without traveling to the Rockies, Snowshoe Mountain is our top pick! Featuring 14 lifts, 58 runs and 256 acres of skiable terrain across two mountains, Snowshoe is the largest winter sports resort in the southeast. As the second-highest point in West Virginia at 1,500 feet vertical, there are some serious expert-level runs to be had. If that’s up your alley, be sure to check out the renowned Cupp Run, designed by Olympian Jean-Claude Killy, and Shay's Revenge which features steeps of 52 percent. If that isn’t your style, ditch the ski clothes and check out The Spa at Snowshoe for some rest and relaxation. Snowshoe Mountain is usually open for skiing from late November to late March.
Ok, we’re back to North Carolina again, but this one is just too good not to include! Although Sugar Mountain wins as the largest resort in North Carolina, Beech Mountain tops the list as the highest ski resort in all of the eastern United States with an elevation of 5,506 feet. Featuring not only seven lifts, 16 trails and 95 acres of skiable terrain, this resort also boasts some added fun activities like the tubing hills with 700-foot chutes or the 7,000-square foot outdoor skating rink. Another must-do is 5506’ Skybar which is a circular, glass-enclosed bar and restaurant named after the elevation that it’s perched atop. Beech Mountain is opening on November 17 this year, and the closing date will be announced closer to the end of the season.
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