See You on the Slopes

(Above) Photo Courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain Resort

A Guide to the Southeast’s Top Ski Destinations

You don’t have to book a trip to Colorado or Utah to experience great skiing. In fact, you don’t even have to board a plane. The following five ski destinations, each within driving distance of Chattanooga, have it all: scenic views, countless amenities, experienced instructors, and acres of skiable terrain. So, lace up your boots and grab your ski poles – the slopes are calling. 

By Mary Beth Wallace

Snowshoe Mountain Resort

Snowshoe, West Virginia

For some of the best ski terrain this side of the Mississippi, head to Snowshoe Mountain – home of the “upside-down resort.” The Village at Snowshoe, complete with lodging, shopping, and dining amenities, is located at the peak of the mountain instead of the base, allowing enthusiastic guests to ski down the mountain within minutes of their arrival. Guests can also look forward to ample snowfall, more than 50 trails, and 20 acres of freestyle terrain. One of three ski areas, the Western Territory boasts a 1,500-foot vertical drop via trails Cupp Run (designed by renowned Olympian Jean-Claude Killy) and Shay’s Revenge.

 

Photos Courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain Resort

Ober Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Ober Gatlinburg is the only ski resort in Tennessee – but that’s not its only claim to fame. At just over two miles, one of America’s largest aerial tramways will whisk you to the base of the ski hill, where sweeping views of the Smokies await. Skiers can immediately access the resort’s 10 trails, including two black diamond runs and a 600-foot vertical drop. A freestyle terrain park gives avid skiers and snowboarders a place to practice their moves, while additional winter activities, from snow tubing to ice skating, are available for anyone needing a break from the slopes.

 

Photos Courtesy of Ober Gatlinburg

Beech Mountain Resort

Beech Mountain, North Carolina

Ski fanatics can gain some serious altitude at Beech Mountain Resort, a North Carolina institution since 1967. With an elevation of 5,506 feet, Beech Mountain is the highest ski resort in the Eastern United States. Offering 17 slopes on 98 skiable acres, along with ski lessons and a terrain park, this resort has something for every skill level. Beech Mountain’s 2018-19 season brought with it several upgrades, including two new chairlifts, additional snowmaking machines, and 115 new slope lights. After exploring the resort’s alpine village, be sure to check out the summit view from 5506’, a sky bar aptly named for its impressive height.

 

Photo Courtesy of Beech Mountain Resort

Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen, Virginia

Wintergreen Resort puts the full beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains on display. Enjoy the view from one of five chairlifts, which shuttle guests to the resort’s 26 trails – 14 are lighted for nighttime skiing. Expert skiers take note: Combining the upper and lower Cliffhanger trails makes for a 1.4-mile run on black and double black diamond terrain. Just as notable as its slopes is Wintergreen’s après-ski lifestyle. The resort is home
to Virginia’s largest tubing park, The Plunge, as well as a full-service spa, two championship golf courses, and a variety of dining options.

 

Photos Courtesy of Wintergreen Resort

Sugar Mountain Resort

Sugar Mountain, North Carolina

With 21 slopes dotted across 125 skiable acres, Sugar Mountain Resort is a true gem. Its vertical drop, at 1,200 feet, is just behind Snowshoe Mountain’s as the largest in the Southeast, and one of the resort’s signature trails – Whoopdeedoo – holds double black diamond status. Beginners to the sport are also in luck, as more than a third of Sugar’s trails cater to novices; a lesson or two at the ski school will get you started. Don’t leave the mountain without taking advantage of other Sugar offerings, from tubing and ice skating to guided snowshoe treks. The town of Banner Elk, located at the foot of the mountain, provides plenty of lodging at a variety of price points.

 

Photos Courtesy of Sugar Mountain Resort

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