Ride the crest of the latest wave in outdoor winter fun: Perhaps sledding, not skiing or snowboarding, is more your speed. Then you’ll definitely want to stop at Tube World (www.tubemaggievalley.com), located just down the mountain from the ski area in Maggie Valley. The snow tube park offers fun for the entire family in the form a five-run slope and the slide of your life.
Haywood County (www.VisitNCSmokies.com) encompasses 554 scenic square miles of spectacular country, with beautiful mountains and valleys dotting the landscape. More than a dozen of its mountain peaks soar to elevations of at least 6,000 feet (more than any east of the Mississippi River), and the county is one of the highest, with a mean elevation of 3,600 feet, east of the Rockies. One of its most notable mountain peaks is Cold Mountain—the basis for the award-winning, best-selling novel by Charles Frazier and the ensuing 2003 major motion picture—at 6,030 feet. The county sits at the western edge of North Carolina, with 46 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway running along its southwestern border. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pisgah National Forest are located in the northern section of the county. For those driving from points west via Interstate 40, several alternate routes (around the closed portion near the TN/NC border) are offered at VisitNCSmokies.com.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort has expanded and offers 15 acres of additional ski slopes, a new quad lift, a new terrain park and so much more! Also a family-oriented resort with 82 acres of ski terrain. Enjoy tubing, skiing, snowshoe adventures and more! Stay at one of their luxurious cabins and enjoy walkig to all amenities and participating in one of the resorts planned events. Rustic three and four bedroom log cabins available high atop Wolf Ridge Mountain. Hot tubs and grills at each cabin with fireplaces inside and some offer rec rooms. Visit them at www.scenicwolfresort.com
With a peak elevation of 5,300 feet, a vertical drop of 1,200 feet a longest run of 1.5 miles and 115 skiable acres, Sugar Mountain Resort is the largest ski area in North Carolina. Sugar Mountain offers skiing, tubing, ice skating, and snowshoeing. Summer activities include Summer Lift Rides, hiking and biking and the Oktoberfest. Sugar's 20 slopes and trails are varied to accommodate beginners with the Magic Carpet area to the experts with the double black diamond Whoopdedoo. www.skisugar.com
Ski Beech at Beech Mountain Resort enters its fifth decade with a variety of improvements and new options for winter sports enthusiasts. The resort added a new tubing park, a second terrain park, new quad chairs on the Oz lift, two new grooming machines and 56 high-tech snow guns. Additionally, all reservoir lakes have been dredged to push the mountain's water capacity to eight million gallons. 828-387-2011 or 1-800-438-2093; www.skibeech.com
As a leader in snow tubing, Hawksnest has taken snow tubing to new levels of fun. Hawksnest's expanded snow tubing operation makes it the biggest snow tubing operation on the East Coast. Hawksnest Snow Tubing resort will now have four different areas to snow tube with more than 20 lanes of fun. Lanes are 400 to 1,000 feet long with two moving carpet lifts to return guests to the top. Hawksnest has 100 percent snowmaking and lighting on all lanes to provide the best possible conditions and fun for the whole family. 828-963-6561 or 800-822-4295; www.hawksnesttubing.com