Winter in the High Country is magical. When many regions in Western North Carolina go dormant in January, February, and March, the High Country comes to life.
Blowing Rock, Boone, Banner Elk, and other towns are bustling with energy and activities, much of which centers around the regions’ ski and tubing resorts. While spring, summer, and fall offer their own natural wonders and seasonal gifts, it’s the winter months that truly distinguish this area as not only a winter wonderland but as a dynamic hotbed for outdoor sports and spirited festivities.
THREE GREAT WINTER TOWNS
It’s rare that an area is known for its natural wonders, topographical diversity, and wide-ranging attractions—both natural and manmade—would be home to such charming small towns, each unique and enticing, immersed in the rich folklore of the mountains that stand watch on all sides. Best of all, Blowing Rock, Boone, and Banner Elk are just a stone’s throw from the others, which makes hopscotching from town to town as convenient as it is delightful.
Blowing Rock: This is the quintessential small mountain town: quaint, romantic, friendly, and eternally inviting. It is always aglow with activity, beckoning visitors with its postcard charm and an array of restaurants, pubs, curio shops, and boutiques. It is often referred to as the “Crown of the Blue Ridge,” and is frequently listed among America’s most charming small towns.
Boone: Just down the road from Blowing Rock is the energetic, culturally hip university town of Boone—home to the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Boone has the vibe and electricity of a college town, coupled with the nearby attractions of a major resort destination. Adventure Sports Magazine has called it “the ultimate outdoor adventure destination in the Southeast.”
Banner Elk: Located in Avery County—the heart of ski country—Banner Elk is a bustling, upscale community that boasts a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities that visitors can enjoy year-round. Recognized as “The Ski Capital of the South,” Banner Elk attracts thousands of visitors each winter to its picturesque resorts, posh accommodations, and world-class restaurants.
Often the first thing that comes to mind when people think of the High Country is skiing. It’s a combination of ideal winter climate, optimal altitude, and scenic Appalachian slopes make for some of the most exhilarating, family-centered skiing in the country. Visitors and locals have several top-notch resorts to choose from.
Sugar Mountain Resort
- Located in Banner Elk
- 125 skiable acres
- Multiple lift options (including the two longest in NC)
- Can lift-transport up to 10,520 skiers an hour
- Features 21 slopes and trails (15 with lights), 4 tubing runs
- 5,300-foot summit
- Vertical drop of 1,200 feet
- Features skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and ice skating
- 100% snowmaking capability
- Rental equipment
Beech Mountain, North Carolina
- Located 10 miles north of Sugar
- The highest town in Eastern America: elevation 5,506 feet
- Vertical rise 830 feet
- Averages 84.6 inches of snow a season
- Has 17 slopes, 8 lifts
- Can lift-transport 10,858 skiers per hour
- Features skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, and après ski
- Offers skiing and snowboarding lessons
- Summer activities include mountain biking, disc golf, scenic lift rides
- 100% snowmaking capability
Appalachian Ski Mountain
- Located in Blowing Rock
- The High Country’s first official ski area (opened in 1962)
- Features 12 ski slopes and multiple lifts
- Longest run is ½ mile
- Offers 3 terrain parks
- Snowboard rentals
- 6,000 square-foot indoor Ice Arena
- Has 46,000-square foot Bavarian-style lodge
- Children’s programs available
- Home to French Swiss Ski College, the Southeast’s largest independent Ski School
Winter in the High Country is not a time to hibernate. It’s an invitation to revel in the great outdoors—to get outside with friends and family and embrace the beauty and splendor that these snow-draped mountains bestow. Above all, winter here is a time for communal celebration and festivities, best exemplified by the annual Blowing Rock Winterfest (January 25-28, 2018). The 4-day festival is packed with events, music, wine/food exhibits, and family attractions. [itinerary available online]
Ready for your adventure?
With so much going on this winter in the High Country it is a great time to come by Blue Ridge Mountain Club (BRMC) for a personal Discovery Tour. Let Team BRMC introduce you to a living experience that you can enjoy today, and for generations to come.
LET TEAM BRMC GIVE YOU A PERSONAL TOUR
We look forward to seeing you soon!
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