Sugar Mountain Ski Resort
Sugar Mountain, North Carolina
The peaks of western North Carolina are the highest in the Eastern United States, and the state’s largest ski resort combines a solid 5,300-foot elevation with a diverse range of runs. Beginners cruise down Easy Street, while experts can test their skills on the legendary Whoopdedoo, the only double-black-diamond trail in the state. Visitors can also book a guided snowshoeing tour or glide around the 10,000-square-foot outdoor ice rink.
The only skiing game in the state, Ober Gatlinburg is a year-round amusement park and wintertime ski destination. Tackle 10 ski trails and a terrain park, then buckle up for more action: On the Ski Mountain Coaster, riders enjoy incredible views on a leisurely lift to the mountaintop, then zip down 2,750 feet of twists and turns, with the ability to control their own speed. Ober’s other attractions include ice bumper cars and the bobsled-like Alpine Slide, where two riders can race down the mountain.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Snowshoe, West Virginia
Snowshoe Mountain combines an impressive elevation (nearly 5,000 feet) with an annual average of 180 inches of natural snow, complemented by extensive snowmaking capabilities. With more than 60 trails and five terrain parks, there’s plenty of powder to explore. The rugged Western Territory is notorious for its challenging slopes, including Cupp Run, designed by three-time Olympic gold medalist Jean-Claude Killy, and Shay’s Revenge, which features a thrilling 1,500-foot vertical drop.
Situated on 11,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wintergreen Resort checks all the boxes for a well-rounded ski trip, from slopeside lodging to a variety of dining options and even a mountaintop spa. Most important, there are outdoor activities galore, including an award-winning terrain park where the features change frequently to keep skiers challenged. Wintergreen is also home to the Plunge, Virginia’s largest tubing park. Reach 30 miles per hour as you zoom down a 900-foot snow-tubing lane—longer than three football fields and as high as a 10-story building.
Davis, West Virginia
Set in the Monongahela National Forest, this ski resort reopened last season after undergoing $15 million in renovations, including the addition of high-speed chairlifts and increased snowmaking capabilities. Experience the longest slope in the Southeast, the easygoing, two-mile Salamander trail, or tackle more challenging runs, including a couple of experts-only options. After a day of alpine adventures, get in on the après-ski action with a plate of wings and pint of Big Timber Frost Notch winter ale at the Slippery Slope Bar & Grill.
This article appears in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of Southbound.