We enjoy snow skiing as a family and as empty-nesters.
We ski at Sugar Mountain Resort in Sugar Mountain (outside of Banner Elk ) North Carolina. We started going when our children were in elementary school and have since gone as a family with our adult children.
Neal and I also enjoy going skiing with just the two of us (and our dog Daisy who sleeps in the condo while we ski).
Below is a video from Sugar Mountain Resort.
If possible, travel in a 4-wheel drive vehicle because you will likely be driving in snow. You will travel on curvy roads up and down the mountains as you are driving to your condo. However, they do a great job clearing the roads and adding salt.
We have rented condos from a few different people and have had excellent experiences with each. We even take our dog who just sleeps in the condo all day while we ski.
We have rented several condos at Bee Branch over the years. The benefit is you can ski in and out (directly on "Easy Street") which is convenient for family members to go back and forth to the condos. One year, we rented two condos side-by-side which had an adjoining private hallway, which made it easy to go back and forth.
For the last two years, Neal and I (when just the two of us), have rented condos at Briar Cliff. We walk back and forth to Sugar Mountain Ski Resort and rent a locker at the resort to store our skis, poles, ski boots, and helmets. They are nice and many are dog-friendly so Daisy can go with us. She is a good traveler and sleeps in the condo all day while we ski.
You can rent through VRBO or Airbnb.
Here are some other lodging options.
Most of the condos and houses have fireplaces so you can take wood or purchase wood at the local grocery store or Lowes in Banner Elk. It is a little pricey to purchase it there but it is good to help their local economy. We typically used two bundles each night.
There are many delicious places to eat and shop in Sugan Mountain and Banner Elk.
We take frozen casseroles and soups in a large cooler for lunch and dinner so we don’t have to eat out which saves money and time. After returning from a long day of skiing, we shower, put on pajamas, and cozy up for a yummy home-cooked meal.
Be sure to have a warm and waterproof coat because sometimes there is a mix of rain and snow. I have learned this the hard way by having a warm ski coat that was not waterproof.
We also dress in layers because sometimes is it very cold (many layers).
And sometimes it is warmer (fewer layers).
Also, take multiple pairs of ski gloves or dry them at night if your condo has a dryer. It is miserable to start the day with wet gloves. (Some condos have a washer and dryer and some do not.)
I also recommend getting actual ski socks. The ski boots have no support and ski socks have some cushion, are warm, and are made for skiing.
Don't forget ski goggles or at least good sunglasses. I prefer goggles on a really cold day and sunglasses on a warmer day.
I also recommend some type of snow boots or at least waterproof shoes if you are walking back and forth to the resort. You will walk through snow and in many cases dirty water and mud.
You can rent all the equipment from Sugar Mountain Resort, which is what we do. I strongly suggest renting equipment the day or night before your first day of skiing to save time. The lines can be very long in the morning and you will miss out on actual ski time. We rent the following:
- ski boots
You also need to purchase slope/lift tickets for each day. You can purchase these the night before starting at 8:00 PM or the morning in when you are skiing. They do not allow you to purchase multiple days at a time.
You can sign up for ski school at the resort if you don’t know how to ski which I recommend, especially for adults. Children learn faster especially if adults in your party already know how to ski. We taught our granddaughters in two trips down Easy Street (beginner slope). They looked like pros after that.
If you are driving or walking back and forth to the result (i.e. not staying at a house or condo that enables you to ski in/out), I recommend renting a locker. This enables you to store your skis, poles, ski boots, helmets, etc. overnight. Carrying all this equipment back and forth to your car or your condo is a lot of work.
If you rent a locker, we take plastic grocery bags (notice the picture below) to cover our ski boots overnight. This keeps the water that drips from your helmets and skis from dripping into your boots overnight. It is miserable putting on wet boots the next morning.
We also take a boot dryer (also dry gloves and hats if you don't have a dryer in your condo). The night we rented our equipment, our boots were wet so dried them on the boot dryer.
You can also purchase slope/lift tickets for nighttime skiing too. We did this one time as a family and it was a lot of fun! However, it is also nice to go back to your condo and rest, especially for us middle-aged folks.
We love skiing at Sugar Moutain Resort and hope you will too!