Welcome to the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where a winter wonderland of immeasurable beauty attracts visitors from far and wide who desire the very best from a hearty American wintery vacation. The dominating landscapes featuring snowy capped mountains, towering trees, crystalline lakes, and shimmering snow valleys embody the epitome of a dreamy winter escapade, in which guests come to relax, unwind, and enjoy both heart-pumping snowy sports and the magnificence that is the mighty great outdoors.

As such a vast, staggering, and wild scenery, it's no surprise these landscapes were the setting of the 1992 movie "Last of the Mohicans." With all this in mind, this sensational state is undoubtedly a top choice for skiers of all experience levels, but with so much terrain to slip and slide on, which ski resorts are really worth visiting in 2021?

6 Sugar Mountain Ski Resort

With 125 acres of skiing terrain at 5,300 feet, Sugar Mountain is North Carolina's largest ski area which makes it unsurprisingly one of the state's most favorited skiing destinations. It also has some of the most diverse and varied terrains - and even a whopping vertical drop of 1,200 feet to impress even the most seasoned skiers. There are 21 slopes and more advanced runs than any other here, with an added bonus of convenient high-speed chairlifts to keep guests moving.

Over a dozen of the slopes are kept lit after sunset too, which lets guests enjoy skiing and snowboarding at night for a completely different and surreal experience. What makes Sugar Mountain even more awesome is the other activities on offer, including snowshoeing tours and ice skating on the gigantic 10,000 square foot ice rink. As for accommodation, visitors can stay in comfortable condos, rent vacation homes, or kick back and relax in any of the village's lovely hotels. And, there are even more lodging options in nearby Banner Elk, which is a mere four miles away.

5 Sapphire Valley Ski Resort

The 5,500 acre Sapphire Valley Ski Resort guarantees a spectacular skiing vacation. It boasts a 1,600 foot-long slope with a mind-boggling 200 feet of vertical range, as well as a 700-foot-long snow tubing run for an added fun feature. Sapphire Valley itself is a brilliant choice for newbie skiers too thanks to its learning center slope and moderate slope for those who want to graduate and move up from the beginner's area.

Another reason why this amazing resort is so recommended is that it offers an all-around outstanding snow vacation. The whole area is a winter wonderland of adventure home to tons of snowy activities ranging from zen and relaxing, to action-packed and heart-thumping. There's the Frozen Falls snow tubing park nearby for a fun-filled day, and even winter zip-lining at Vordach Zip Line for those who can't get enough of soaring through the air whilst taking in the glistening snowy panoramas.

And, travelers who're excited by the bizarre and unique will love visiting during the annual Great Outhouse Races, during which homemade outhouses on skis are sent zooming down the snowy hill to raise money for good causes - does it get any wackier, cooler, and more entertaining than that during a wicked wintery vacay? Probably not.

4 Cataloochee Ski Area

Cataloochee is utterly incredible with its heart-stopping vistas of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which offer the ultimate backdrop for a wintery ski retreat. The resort has convenient access from Asheville, and can also be reached easily from towns in South Carolina and Tennessee, making it a favorite ski escapade for many people in the region.

Overall, Catalochee provides 50 acres of skiing terrain and 18 runs - 10 of which are open for night skiing - that are all impeccably maintained thanks to the resort's staff who have perfected snowmaking to offer one of the longest ski seasons in the area.

But what really sets Catalochee aside is its fantastic slopes and trails for skiers of all skill levels - the vast majority are rated for beginners and intermediates, but there is a portion prime for expert skiers too. Add competitive prices and free skiing for senior citizens, and it's no wonder this place is so highly rated by newcomers and repeat guests.

For something different nearby, visitors can have a fun day out snow tubing at Tube World situated in the town of Maggie Valley just four miles from Cataloochee's ski area. Come to the end of the epic skiing day, Maggie Valley promises a memorable evening out with a myriad of restaurants and bars, along with a collection of charming rustic cabins and cozy hotels for guests to lay their heads.

Related: 16 Safety Rules Ski Resort Staff Wants Their Guests To Follow

3 Wolf Ridge

Previously called Wolf Laurel Slopes, Wolf Ridge in North Carolina's west is located only a few minutes from Interstate 26, and is only 40 minutes from Asheville making it one of the most easily accessible resorts that are perfect for a weekend visit. Because it's so easy to reach (as well as the decent prices), this relatively small ski resort is very popular and can become full quite easily.

As for skiing, Wolf Ridge boasts 15 runs - four green, eight blue, and three black diamond runs - along with plenty of lifts to keep skiers moving. Guests can enjoy night skiing at all 15 runs, in addition to the snow tubing hill situated nearby. And when it comes to lodging, there are superb options near the resort including cabins and townhouses. Nearby Asheville also has a range of great accommodation and dining choices too - which is the place to get a drink or ten because the resort doesn't actually have a bar.

2 Ski Beech Mountain

The mighty Beech Mountain Resort is the highest ski resort east of the Rocky Mountains with a summit of 5,506 feet. Here, skiing and snowboarding fanatics are kept well entertained with the area's 96 acres of skiing terrain, which includes 17 trails suitable for all experience levels. Many visitors to the resort have expressed that it boasts the four very best top-to-bottom and freestyle runs in the region, along with some of the state's best snowmaking that covers the terrain in full - which is all the more reason to add this incredible skiing haven to the shortlist.

Outside of slipping and sliding on the slopes, guests have access to the resort's superb ice skating rink and tubing park, as well as sports shops and gear rental facilities. Throw in the four sumptuous restaurants serving up hot and hearty food, and visitors have all they need for the perfect winter holiday. But that's not all - those who love a drink or two will be glad to know there's a mesmerizing mountaintop glass roundhouse sky bar boasting mind-blowing views and a selection of tempting beverages. And, with the fascinating Beech Mountain Brewing Company based in the village where tired guests can pop into the taproom for a well-earned bevy, the beer just doesn't stop flowing.

Beach Mountain town features plenty of accommodation less than two miles from the resort, or alternatively, guests can find even more lodging and restaurants in Banner Elk, Boone, and Blowing Rock.

Related: A Look Inside The Most Expensive Ski Resort In The US

1 Appalachian Ski Mountain

Resting at 4,000 feet between Blowing Rock and Boone, Appalachian Ski Mountain is the lowest of the lot in terms of altitude, and also has the least skiing terrain at only 27 acres - however, this adds to its small town-like charm and is consistently cited as a favorite amongst both locals and repeat guests. Plus, what makes Appalachain stand out is its longer ski season by comparison to many other resorts in North Carolina, which is all thanks to the staff's excellent snowmaking skills that they have seemingly perfected. The resort's attractive prices, easy access from Charlotte and Winston Salem, and an infectious homely vibe here also might have something to do with its growing popularity.

In addition, this resort is equally as popular with beginners as it is with experienced skiers due to its relatively easy skiing terrain - which is ideal for those putting on their skis for the very first time. Appalachian is also one of the northwest of this state's very first ski zones where beginners and families have been learning to ski since 1962. Guests even have the renowned French-Swiss Ski College at the resort, so there's no excuse not to drop in and book a lesson or two.

Appalachian is also home to a stunning (and warm!) Bavarian lodge with 200-foot observation deck perfect for warming up and taking in the day's adventures with a hot coffee or mulled wine. The indoors features a cozy restaurant with views of the slopes and the outdoor ice rink where visitors can enjoy skating in between skiing sessions. As for accommodation, the resort offers chalets and RV parking with electrical plug-ins for guests. For those that want to stay nearby, Boone and Blowing Rock with their range of accommodation choices and restaurants are also great options and are only 3.5 miles from the slopes.

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