While winters are usually on the mild side in the city of Asheville, it's a different story at nearby ski resorts in western North Carolina. Since we have the highest mountains in the eastern United States, you will find plenty of snow, either natural or man-made. Temperatures often run 20 degrees cooler on the slopes than in Asheville, so get ready! If you don't ski or snowboard, go snow tubing.
Sapphire Valley Ski Resort in Cashiers hosts the Outhouse Races (canceled for 2021) where you can cheer on drivers as they hilariously navigate their homemade outhouses down the slopes.
Ski & Snowboard near Asheville
Ski & Snowboard Tips for NC
- The peak ski season is usually Christmas through February. Slopes often open as early as Thanksgiving weekend. The busiest times are usually Christmas week and Martin Luther King Birthday weekend.
- Since our winter weather can change quickly, check the current conditions and weather forecast at the resort before you go. It can be warm and raining one day, and frigid with fresh powder the next.
- If you are not experienced, there are plenty of options for lessons. Check with the resort. And, you can rent equipment at the resorts to test drive.
- If possible, ski midweek for better deals and many fewer people.
- Check road conditions if you don't have four-wheel drive. Since our slopes are usually at higher elevations, roads may be very clear in the valley but snow covered at the resort. During snowstorms, four-wheel drive or tire chains are required to reach most resorts.
- Dress in layers so you can easily add or remove with temperature changes. An outer shell of windproof, waterproof or water-resistant is a must. Wear waterproof gloves and hat.
- Even in the winter, sunscreen is highly recommended, along with lip balm and eye protection, especially on sunny days when reflection off the snow can be blinding.
- Goggles help during rain, snow and snow-making.
- Cover exposed skin to protect against frostbite during extreme cold.
- Don't overdo. Take breaks to refuel and rest.
- We seldom have enough snow for cross-country skiing. The best place to go is Roan Mountain (read more).