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Editor Pick

Seventh Heaven: Seven Southeastern Ski Resorts

Updated: April 19, 2023

Written by

AAA Travel Editors

Appalachian Ski Mountain

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

This midsize ski resort offers slopes, three freestyle terrain parks (featuring such obstacles as bumps, rails and ramps) and an outdoor ice-skating rink. Illuminated slopes keep the fun going after sunset. Don’t miss the stunning mountain vista from the Bavarian-style lodge’s dining room windows and wide observation deck. Browse for equipment from the huge selection at the Alpine Ski Shop. For a hearty meal after a day on the slopes, the chef at The Peddler Steak House will will cut your rib-eye tableside to your specifications. You can choose from a variety of entrées, each comes with a complimentary soup and the bountiful salad bar. At nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott-Boone, you can get a good night’s sleep on luxury bedding and wake up to a complimentary breakfast.

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Beech Mountain Resort

Beech Mountain, North Carolina

Located 6 miles north of Sugar Mountain, this immense resort features slopes, a terrain park, a snow tubing run and an outdoor ice-skating rink. They also offer night skiing. Alpine Village offers everything from a cafeteria to shops. If you want heartier fare than burgers and cafeteria food, the Stone Walls, in nearby Banner Elk, features grilled steaks and seafood. Belly full, rest your weary bones on a plump feather bed at the AAA Three Diamond Best Western Mountain Lodge at Banner Elk, nestled between Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort.

Cataloochee Ski Area

Maggie Valley, North Carolina

This huge resort’s high elevation in the Great Smoky Mountains keeps snow frozen longer than at some southeastern resorts. Show off your freestyle skills at Cat Cage Terrain Park. When the sun goes down, enjoy night skiing fun. The Cat Lodge provides a respite from the cold with a cozy fireplace and a restaurant. Budget-conscious travelers will appreciate a short drive to the Legends Sports Grill where they can fill up on burgers and a large variety of hot wings while the kids play in the game room. Next door, the Best Western Mountainbrook Inn features mountain-view rooms and a complimentary breakfast.

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Cloudmont Ski & Golf Resort

Mentone, Alabama

This small resort is the only ski area in Alabama. The rope tow lifts (metal handles spaced out along a rope) pull you to the top of the side-by-side slopes. With a 150-foot vertical height, these gentle slopes are suitable for beginner to intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Enjoy night skiing under the stars on the illuminated slopes. Arrive early to ensure ski rental equipment is available.

Ober Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Take a perilous drive up the mountainside to the base of this midsize resort, or ride the aerial tramway from downtown while admiring breathtaking vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains. A snow tubing run adds to the winter fun. There are also amusement rides, an arcade, mini golf, an alpine slide and an alpine coaster with nearly 4,000 feet of track. After a busy day, travel back down the mountain to the Bearskin Lodge on the River and ask for a room with a fireplace, a hot tub and a balcony overlooking Cliff Branch river. Next door, The Peddler Steakhouse offers aged beef and char-grilled entrées.

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Sapphire Valley Ski Area

Sapphire, North Carolina

About 60 miles southwest of Asheville, this small resort offers low-incline slopes that are perfect for learning winter sports as well as a snow tubing park with a wide lane allowing multiple riders to simultaneously ride downhill. Winter zipline tours give riders the thrill of soaring past the trees and slopes with magnificent views of surrounding mountains and rocky outcroppings. If you’re too exhausted after all this winter fun or just want a short trip to return to the resort the following day, the AAA Three Diamond Hampton Inn & Suites-Cashiers/Sapphire Valley/Highlands is less than half a mile away and features stunning mountain views and a complimentary hot breakfast.

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Sugar Mountain Resort

Banner Elk, North Carolina

The panorama is spectacular from this resort at the summit of mile-high Sugar Mountain, 6 miles south of Beech Mountain. This large resort features slopes, a terrain park, a snow tubing run and an outdoor ice-skating rink, and offers night skiing. Guided snowshoe tours on select days complete this winter playground. Grab a bite at the lodge restaurant, or imbibe warm cocktails while appreciating picturesque views from the lounge. For a spicy dining alternative in nearby Banner Elk, the AAA Three Diamond Louisiana Purchase offers Creole and Cajun dishes.

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Written by

AAA Travel Editors

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