This year, winter will likely look a little different for us. While we may still be able to have some gatherings with friends and family, getting outside and staying socially-distant will be important now more than it ever has been. And while being outside in the cold winter months doesn't sound enjoyable at first, upon closer examination it may just be a blessing in disguise.
Located just over two hours away from Charlotte are two upscale yet family-friendly ski and snowboard resorts, offering the perfect opportunity to escape the city and enjoy mountain life for a day (or even a few). The two resorts we are highlighting differ in their offerings, but make having a safe space for all ages to enjoy winter activities a top priority.
Sugar Mountain Resort
Sugar Mountain Resort is a family-friendly retreat offering skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating and snowshoeing in the Village of Sugar Mountain, North Carolina. Sugar Mountain's winter activities take place each year from early November to mid-March. The property includes over 120 skiable acres with 21 ski and snowboard trails – 15 of which are illuminated for night skiing – and a 1,200-foot vertical drop. It also features two high-speed detachable lifts as well as Sugar Bear Ski School and Polar Bear Snowboard School.
Sugar Mountain is unique in that it offers something for those who don't necessarily enjoy skiing or snowboarding, making it the perfect destination for the entire family to enjoy. Its snowshoeing, ice skating and snow tubing features make it pleasurable for all ages.
Sugar Mountain is also working tirelessly in the wake of COVID-19 to ensure the safety of their staff and guests by following all North Carolina Ski Areas Association guidelines, known as "Ski Well, Be Well." Fortunately, ski areas already provide low-risk outdoor recreation opportunities because the majority of time spent at a ski area is spent outside in the fresh air and coverings, including neck gaiters, goggles, gloves and helmets are standard pieces of skiing or snowboarding gear. That being said, Sugar Mountain will also be implementing touchless transactions to reduce personal contact between employees and guests, cleaning and disinfection strategies for all areas of their operation, operational plans that allow for appropriate social distancing between parties and more during the 2020-21 season.
Sugar Mountain will also hold a few annual events this year, including their iconic Sugarfest from Dec. 11-13 that will kick off the 2020-21 season. The festival will feature a three-day, pre-season ski clinic featuring two-time Olympic Super G medalist, Andrew Weibrecht, the opportunity to demo the latest and greatest ski and snowboarding equipment, a hot chocolate and whipped cream bar, the After Ski Party with live music by Glen Harlow and The North Fork Band and fireworks, as well as lodging specials at participating lodging agencies.
For more information about Sugar Mountain and to view their live webcams of the slopes, visit SkiSugar.com.
Beech Mountain Resort
Beech Mountain Resort is located in Beech Mountain, around twenty minutes north of Sugar Mountain. Beech Mountain boasts the highest east coast ski area with 17 slopes that can be used by skiers and snowboarders of all ages and skill levels. Additionally, Beech Mountain offers snow tubing and ice skating on their 7000-square-foot outdoor rink. Parents: they even have childcare programs for children that are at least one year old!
Aside from their great skiing and snowboarding amenities, Beech Mountain is recognized for its live music and nightlife. They even own and operate a brewery, located in the Beech Mountain Alpine Village. The Village is extremely popular among visitors, as it includes Beech Mountain's ice skating rink and snow tubing, as well as dining and shopping opportunities.
Similar to Sugar Mountain Resort, Beech Mountain is also following all of the "Ski Well, Be Well" precautions to keep their guests and staff healthy and safe this winter season and are committed to providing outdoor recreation in ways that promote health and safety, and reduce the risk of infection.
But following proper precautions isn't the only new thing this year at Beech Mountain. A summer of improvements has set the stage for an enhanced visitor experience this winter. Enhancements to the resorts pump system and ice skating rink will mean more snow on the slopes and bettering skating conditions! Beech Mountain also invested in a new equipment rental system that offers a paperless process for renting ski and snowboard equipment, resulting in less time filling out paperwork and waiting for ski rentals.
For more information about Beech Mountain Resort and their ample available lodging, visit BeechMountainResort.com.