Sugar Mountain Ski Resort

Sugar Mountain Ski Resort is the largest ski area in North Carolina and one of the major resorts in the unlikely world of "southern skiing." Sugar Mountain opened in 1969. North Carolina is the best place in the United States for skiing and snowboarding south of West Virginia. Winters can be warm, so the dozen resorts in the state survive by extensive snowmaking.

Sugar Mountain NC is a great place to come for a ski weekend or a couple days in the middle of the week. Located off Highway 184 about 50 miles from Hickory NC and 90 miles from Charlotte Douglass International Airport, the small town of Sugar Mountain NC is close to two major North Carolina ski areas: Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain Ski Resort.

Sugar Mountain Ski Resort has more skiable acres (115) than any other resort in North Carolina, and the largest vertical drop (1,200 feet). Its 20 named runs are serviced by five chairlifts and three surface lifts. The chairlifts are designated by colors: Yellow, Grey, Brown, Red, and Green.

The two longest lifts at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, Yellow and Grey, take riders all the way to the summit at 5,300 feet. There are several midway loading and unloading areas on each lift, but advanced skiers and snowboarders will want to take the chairlifts all the way to the top for the most challenging Sugar Mountain skiing. Two black diamonds, Boulder Dash and Tom Terrific, and the more challenging double-black Whoopdedoo run from the summit into the wide-open blue run Flying Mile. Although short, the black-rated trails at Sugar Mountain Ski Area comprise some of the most challenging terrain anywhere in North Carolina.

If you are scared off by the black diamond ratings, but still want to take the lifts all the way to the top, turn left off the lift and go down the winding Northridge and Switchback runs. Alternatively, intermediate skiers can get off at the unloading area three-quarters of the way up the mountain and ski the long and wide Flying Mile run all the way to the base. Two other chairlifts for Sugar Mountain skiing, Red and Green, service shorter but often less crowded blue runs. A t-bar near the summit takes riders to the top of a slalom course.

Beginners will find many options for Sugar Mountain skiing. The ski school play yard and magic carpet lifts are perfect for introducing youngsters to the slopes. The Brown chairlift services longer green runs for older novices. Alighting the Yellow lift at the mid-unloading area lets you off on the gentle bottom section of the Flying Mile run.

A special handle tow lift runs to the side of the terrain park at Sugar Mountain Ski Area, so snowboarders and daring skiers can handle the jumps and half-pipes over and over again without having to bother with other trails on the mountain.

Although small by the standard of west coast and northeast ski resorts, Sugar Mountain Ski Resort is a pleasant treat for southern skiers: over a hundred acres of skiable terrain serviced by multiple fast chairlifts. Its proximity to the quaint town of Sugar Mountain NC makes it a great place for a southern ski getaway, a halfpipe for snowboarders.

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