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Old 12-18-2009, 06:04 AM
Location: United States of America
203 posts, read 437,258 times
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Does anyone know anything about the skiing "near" Charlotte? It looks like about 2 hours west?

How about sledding? Any options out NW a bit?


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Old 12-18-2009, 06:48 AM
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Sure, I've been there frequently. Here are a few assumptions of what you might want to know.
  • Most of the NC Ski areas are in the Banner Elk area roughly around the border of Watauga and Avery counties.
  • In this area you have Sugar Mtn, Beech Mtn, Hawksnest, and Appalachian
  • This area is about 2-2.5 hours from Charlotte depending on the route you take and the weather. The state does a good job clearing roads up there but it can be very slow going during heavy snow which does happen alot.
  • Appalachian is the closest, the best run and in the best shape, but is also very small. It's a good place to go to learn. I've actually made it there in 90 minutes from Huntersville.
  • Sugar Mtn is the largest and has the longest runs. On the downside it tends to suffer from the lack of investment IMO, and can be extremely crowded on holidays when the snow bunnies from Fla show up.
  • Beech is my favorite. It has a good mix of runs, the only high speed lift in NC, and is in good shape. Hard to get to.
  • Hawksnest keeps re-inventing itself each year into something else. One year it's draw as that it sold alcohol, another was that it was only open to tubing. I probably would not make a trip to go there.
  • Learning to Ski in NC is tough. The warm weather here means that even in the mountains you are going to run into a lot of icy runs and there are a lot of very steep slopes. OK if you get a little experience, frustrating if you are trying to learn it.
  • There are a couple of other ski areas further south in the mountains. Wolf's Laurel near Asheville and Chattaloochie. I don't think either compare to what you find in the Northern mountains. Wolf Laurel does have the advantage that it is right off I-26 so it's an easier drive, especially compared to say trying to get to Beech. I will also add that I haven't been since they expanded it.
  • The next closest alternatives to Charlotte is Winterplace in West Va. Winterplace is about a 3 hour drive up I-77 and it is just on the other side of the WVA/VA state line. It's a large fairly well run ski area and a great place to learn to ski. It's larger than any of the places in NC. The other is Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg Tenn. This has the advantage of having a real cable cars to the resort that land in town so you can walk there from many hotels. I have not ski'd this place so I can't give a report on it.
It's pretty expensive to ski on the weekends at any of these resorts. I recommend that if you don't have your own equipment that you rent it at one of the ski shops outside the resorts. You will get better equipment and cheaper prices and then all you have to do is get a lift ticket. There are some pretty good discounts, in almost free at times, if you ski during the week if you can make it there during the work week.

Right now, we are headed into the holiday season. Between now and the day after New Years, all of them will be extremely crowded (barring economic condidtions) I would tend to avoid them at this time unless you like wait for 30 min to an hour to get on a lift, and having to dodge all the snow bunnies stopped on the runs. Yard sales every where. Yard sale = ski wipeout.

Let me know if you have specific questions.

Last edited by lumbollo; 12-18-2009 at 07:14 AM..
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:45 PM
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Winterplace is real easy to get to. About 3 hour drive all highway up i-77.
Catalootchee is pretty good too, out near cherokee...
hawks nest has awesome tube runs, but so does winterplace....
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