Kid-Friendly Ski Resorts in the Southeast
Where affordable skiing meets Southern hospitality By Sue Rodman on Feb 21, 2014
While you may not immediately think of heading down South for a family ski getaway, a handful of kid-friendly ski resorts south of West Virginia offer the chance to get your kids up on skis for much less than what you would pay at marquee ski resorts in Colorado, Utah, or Vermont. This can make them a good choice for young families starting out in the sport as well as Southerners who want to get in some practice before trying the sport in a colder climate. Here's a quartet of wallet-friendly and kid-centric southeastern ski resorts that belong on the radar of every snow-loving family.
Cataloochee Ski Resort
Where: Waynesville, NC Why: Because this ski mountain in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains has been a family favorite since 1961, offering a nice mix of beginner and intermediate slopes, a few glade runs, and even a freestyle terrain park. Kids 17 and under stay free midweek (Sunday to Thursday) at participating local hotels and ski free on any non-holiday weekday when accompanied by a paying adult. Bonus: Local merchants and restaurants offer giveaways and special deals throughout the season, so be sure to ask.
Where: Wintergreen, VA Why: Because this Virginia gem is just 40 minutes from Charlottesville and offers three days of free lift tickets to 5th and 6th graders in the region through its SnowLicense program. Accompanying adults or siblings can chop $15 off the lift-ticket price or $10 off a half-day lift ticket. (SnowLicense is available for residents of Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, North Carolina, and West Virginia.) Bonus: If you need a break from skiing, Wintergreen boasts Virginia’s largest snow tubing park.
Appalachian Ski Resort
Where: Blowing Rock, NC Why: Because this is home to the oldest and best-known ski school in the south and, for snowboarders, it boasts the only Burton Learn to Ride Center south of West Virginia. There is a progression park designed for entry-level snowboarders to incorporate freestyle terrain. Bonus: For family members who prefer not to ski, there is an ice skating rink and free wi-fi in the lodge.
Beech Mountain Ski Resort
Where: Beech Mountain, NC Why: Because this family-friendly ski mountain in northwestern North Carolina rents not only ski equipment but also ski apparel such as coats and bibs—items many Southern kids don’t own. In addition, the resort’s High Country concierges can help guide a novice family through the process of getting on the slopes, from gear rental and fitting to ski lesson sign-ups. Bonus: There’s a free sledding hill in the town of Beech Mountain for kids 12 and younger. It has its own snow making machine, so there is always snow during the winter.