The southern portion of the US isn’t always associated with good snowboarding, but North Carolina has enough mountains and snowfall to offer solid riding opportunities. If you know where and when to head out, you’re in for a treat.
I’ve been an avid snowboarder for most of my life, and I like to travel to new riding locations as often as possible. I’ve researched the best sites to snowboard in North Carolina and spoke to a few fellow riders who are familiar with the area.
This post will highlight all of the best places to snowboard in North Carolina. I’ll give you some basic information on each location, such as what it is best known for and the average opening and closing days.
Let’s dig in.
1. Beech Mountain
- Official Website: https://www.beechmountainresort.com/
- Opening Date: December 22 (Average)
- Closing Date: March 25 (Average)
- Best Known For: Local’s favorite mountain, highest elevation in the East
Beech Mountain is consistently ranked as one of the top places to snowboard in North Carolina by locals, which is always good advice to listen to. This is a fun location to visit if you’re in the state and affords some great terrain and conditions to ride.
With an elevation of 5,506 feet, Beech Mountain has the highest elevation of any ski resort in the eastern part of the US. That elevation helps ensure solid snowfall all winter long and prolongs the season for more riding every season.
The resort has eight different lifts giving you access to nearly 100 acres of rideable terrain. While this isn’t a huge resort if you are used to riding in the west, it’s pretty decent for anywhere out East.
The town of Beech Mountain is nearby the resort and has plenty of lodging and dining options. You can find higher-end accommodations or choose options that are a little more budget-friendly.
2. Sugar Mountain
- Official Website: http://www.skisugar.com/
- Opening Date: November 15 (Average)
- Closing Date: March 25 (Average)
- Best Known For: Largest resort in North Carolina, longer vertical drop
Sugar Mountain is another one of the top places to snowboard in North Carolina. This is the largest resort in the state, giving you more room to explore than any other location in the region. If you want to explore as much terrain as possible, this is the place to go.
A larger area to ride also means that you get more diversity of terrain. There is something for every ability level here, and you can find a run to enjoy whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced rider.
The resort recently installed a high-speed quad lift which increases rider capacity and cuts down on lift-line waits. This is a big upgrade because many riders have complained about the slower lifts in the past. Sugar Mountain can still get pretty crowded on weekends and holidays, though.
A lodge at the base of the mountain has a lot of good food to enjoy, and you can take advantage of the deck to hang out in the sun with your friends. The nearby town of Banner Elk has affordable rooms if you want to stay and other good dining.
3. Appalachian Ski Mountain
- Official Website: https://appskimtn.com/
- Opening Date: December 1 (Average)
- Closing Date: March 20 (Average)
- Best Known For: Family-friendly atmosphere, good terrain parks
While Appalachian Ski Mountain might not have the best terrain or snow conditions in the state, it does have one of the best atmospheres, especially with the entire family in mind. This is a very family-friendly location that caters well to snowboard-based vacations.
The resort is also well known for having excellent terrain parks. If you like to freestyle ride or just want to practice your tricks in the park, this is the best location in the state to do it. You can also ride on some groomed runs and other trails if the park isn’t your thing.
To get into the terrain parks, you have to take a test, which is pretty unique. This is a safety feature that is actually a pretty good idea. The test just makes sure you have the skills to handle it and aren’t going to hurt yourself.
There aren’t many accommodations right at the mountain, but you can drive to the nearby town of Blowing Rock and find many different hotels and restaurants. There are enough options here to match just about any winter vacation budget you might have.
4. Wolf Ridge
- Official Website: https://www.skisoutheast.com/resorts/wolf-ridge-ski-resort/
- Opening Date: December 15 (Average)
- Closing Date: March 1 (Average)
- Best Known For: Easily accessible, good beginner terrain
Wolf Ridge is a mellow mountain, but it’s a solid spot for beginner and intermediate riders to explore in North Carolina. You don’t get a ton of terrain to explore here, but there is still enough for a good day on the snow with your family.
Wolf Ridge has four lifts that give you access to 14 different runs. The vertical drop is around 700 feet, so you get a decent downhill push once you make it to the top of the runs. There is also a nice lodge with some good dining when you are ready to take a break.
This isn’t the place to head if you are an experienced rider looking for a big thrill. There also isn’t much in the way of accommodations right at the mountain. But the resort is only a 40-minute drive from Asheville, which has everything you’ll need.
- Official Website: https://cataloochee.com/
- Opening Date: November 20 (Average)
- Closing Date: March 25 (Average)
- Best Known For: Oldest resort in North Carolina, good beginner and intermediate terrain
Cataloochee is another solid spot for beginner and intermediate riders in North Carolina. This is the oldest ski resort in the state, so it has a built-in rustic charm that makes you feel like you have traveled back in time when you visit.
You can access the slopes using any of the five chair lifts. This will let you explore 18 different runs, ranging from groomers to a little more intermediate terrain. There isn’t much steep or vertical drop, but you can still have fun.
The base of the mountain has a good lodge where you can grab a bite to eat after a few hours on the slopes. It’s pretty affordable, and the food is tasty. If you want to stay the night, your best bet is in the nearby town of Maggie Valley.
6. Ski Sapphire Valley
- Official Website: https://skisapphirevalley.com/
- Opening Date: December 17 (Average)
- Closing Date: March 4 (Average)
- Best Known For: Good lesson program, fun tubing hill if you don’t want to ride
Ski Sapphire Valley is a small resort, but it’s also an affordable option to explore if you don’t want to venture to other resorts in North Carolina.
There is only a single chairlift here, so the terrain isn’t vast. But you can still take advantage of decent snow conditions and have a lot of fun with the family. Two surface lifts are good for beginners to use as they get the hang of things.
Lift tickets are really affordable, and that’s the biggest bonus of riding here. But if you want vast terrain, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
Here are a few quick answers to some of the most common questions related to the best places to snowboard in North Carolina.
When can you snowboard in North Carolina?
The average snowboard season in North Carolina runs from November through early April. This varies from location to location and year to year, but nearly every season lasts 4-6 months with decent snow available during that time.
Does Beech Mountain have snowboarding?
Beech Mountain does have some fantastic snowboarding. It’s one of the top snowboarding destinations in North Carolina. There are plenty of other fun winter activities to do here and something for the entire family.
Which is better beech or sugar?
Most riders like Beech Mountain over Sugar Mountain. This is because Beech Mountain has faster chairlifts, so you don’t need to wait in line quite as long to get up the slopes. But some people still enjoy Sugar Mountain as well.
North Carolina isn’t a top snowboarding destination in the world, but it still offers quite a few different resorts. If you live here or are visiting the area, the locations mentioned here are the best places to ride in the state.About Lorraine