Water skiing isn’t our only skiing here in the South! Give your budget a break, skip the flight, and head to one of the following ski slopes that are doable over a weekend trip from Atlanta. Before you go, check out our tips on skiing hacks and packing the right stuff for kids to ski. Keep reading for our favorite southern slopes, below.

Mars Hill, North Carolina: Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Just 20 miles north of Asheville, this North Carolina ski area includes 15 trails, a terrain park, four ski lifts and the Wolf Ridge Tube Run. Check out their Covid precautions here

Half-day and full-day passes range from $25 & up for adults and students, and equipment, ski bib, helmet, and locker rental is available.

578 Valley View Circle
Mars Hill, NC
Online: skiwolfridgenc.com

Sapphire Valley, North Carolina: Sapphire Valley Ski Resort

Sapphire Valley Ski Resort offers affordable snow sports opportunities as part of a 5700-acre four season resort. With a moderate slope fit for intermediate skiers and ideal for youth and beginners—along with the Frozen Falls Tube Park—Ski Sapphire Valley is a convenient family retreat to Atlanta. Built in 1964, a renovated Base Lodge Park and Fire Pit and the new Slopeside Tavern round out an excellent option for family skiing near Atlanta.

Day lifts start at $31 for children and adults, and ski school is available for $25 per hour long session for between 3-7 skiers. Clothing (ski bibs and coats) and equipment rental are available.

127 Sapphire Valley Road
Sapphire, NC
Online: skisapphirevalley.com

Banner Elk, North Carolina: Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain

The sisters of North Carolina Skiing, Sugar is the largest ski area in North Carolina with 115 acres of skiable terrain, while Beech’s claim to fame is its personality (think quaint and Southern). Both excellent options for beginner to intermediate skiers, Sugar has the steepest vertical drop of the two, but Beech boasts a higher elevation. The good news? Both locations offer alternatives to the slopes for when the kiddos cash out (tubing, ice skating, snowball fighting).

Lift tickets start at $25, and children 4 & under get free lift tickets. Rental equipment is available, as is ski and snowboard school.

1009 Sugar Mountain Dr.
Sugar Mountain, NC
Online: skisugar.com

1007 Beech Mountain Pkwy.
Beech Mountain, NC
Online: beechmountainresort.com

Wintergreen, Virginia-Wintergreen Ski Resort

Wintergreen ski resort is just over 1.5 hours from Richmond and has 26 runs that provide a bit of fun for everyone, along with Virginia's largest tubing park. A 100-foot high massive hill lets riders hit speeds of 30 miles per hour on their way down. A separate ticket is required to ride here.

Lift tickets start at $67 for youth, with rentals and equipment available.

Route 664
Wintergreen, VA 22958
Online: wintergreenresort.com

Maggie Valley, North Carolina: Cataloochee Ski Resort

The oldest ski resort in North Carolina, Cataloochee boasts fourteen different trails and runs on twenty-five acres about a half-hour west of Asheville. Three-quarters of the runs are either beginner or intermediate, and when the littles get tired of the slopes you can head into Maggie Valley for more classic family fun.

Tickets start at $26, and full, half, and night passes are available. 

1080 Ski Lodge Rd.
Maggie Valley, NC
Online: cataloochee.com

Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Ober Gatlinburg

One of the closest options to Atlanta, Ober Gatlinburg’s offerings include skiing, wildlife encounters (black bears, river otters, birds of prey, and other regional wildlife), tubing, ice skating, and plenty more in the town of Gatlinburg, just down the mountain tram. Those in the know suggest staying in downtown Gatlinburg or renting a chalet nearby, and plan to save a little time to check out the Wilderness indoor water amusement park or even Dollywood, weather permitting.

Tickets start at $35, and prices vary based on ski session length and day of the week. Due to high demand of Ski and Snowboard Rental equipment, Ober will suspend rental sales when they reach capacity (before normal closing times). Be sure to call ahead if you plan to go later in the day. Individual lift tickets will still be available to purchase for those that have their own equipment. 

1339 Ski Mountain Rd.
Gatlinburg, TN
Online: obergatlinburg.com

Snowshoe, West Virginia: Snowshoe Mountain

Definitely the most similar to Rocky Mountain skiing of the resorts mentioned above, Snowshoe Mountain is consistently voted in the top ten spots to ski in the East, but it is also the farthest from Atlanta (nearly nine hours). However, those brave enough to make the pilgrimage with little ones in tow will certainly be rewarded with a professional operation and more than passable powder. Additionally, the littles will love The Big Top, a 15,000 square foot indoor play area filled with inflatables, rock climbing, Eurobungy, and live entertainment ranging from magic shows to craft activities to music.

Ski lift tickets vary in price by date and age of skier. Book your tickets in advance, as they've limited the number of tickets available and many dates are already sold out.

10 Snowshoe Dr.
Snowshoe, WV
Online: snowshoemtn.com

photo: iStock

Mentone, Alabama: Cloudmont Ski Resort


Planning ahead? Here's the scoop. What it lacks in consistency it makes up for in convenience. Mentone is nestled in the southernmost Appalachian Mountains and gets a respectable two to six inches of snow each year. True, those two to six inches may happen all in the same two weeks, but the good news is that you can be there in just under two hours (that’s one Disney movie, folks!), there are overnight chalet accommodations available, reasonable ski packages (with lessons), and if the weather turns 70-degrees and sunny, you can go horseback riding instead!

721 County Road 614
Mentone, AL
Online: cloudmont.com

Featured image PIRO4D via Pixabay.

—Shelley Massey



Ski & Snow Hacks for New Parents

15 Trips That Will Make Your Kids Smarter

25 Easy Crockpot Recipes Kids Love 

32 Free & Cheap Things to Do with Kids in Atlanta