Winter Things to Do | Ski Vacations

Village of Sugar Mountain in snow

Plan a winter getaway to the Village of Sugar Mountain, located high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina (elevation 4,000-5,300 feet). Of course, winter is our favorite season since we are home to one of the top winter sports destinations in the South, Sugar Mountain Resort! With an average of 78 inches of natural snow each winter (get weather info), find fantastic skiing and snowboarding, plus ice skating, tubing and more. Relax after a day of play in a comfortable vacation home and condo rental on the mountain – all sizes and styles ranging from mountaintop condos to  secluded log cabins. See top places to stay near the slopes.

For non-skiers, there’s plenty to do – shopping, restaurants, snowy walks, attractions and more! Coming for the holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s? Find even more festivities. Below are our top things to do in November through March.

Sugar Mountain 20 Winter Favorites | Ski & Stay Nov-March

Sugar Mountain Ski Resort

Skiing & Snowboarding at Sugar Mountain
Find one of the South’s premier snow sports destination, Sugar Mountain Resort. Choose from full day, half day, twilight or night sessions. Snowboard and ski 125 acres on 21 slopes – with 8 lifts for rapid transport.. Beginners learn at either the adult or children’s schools. OPENING DAY is November 28, 2023. See our insider’s guide to the Ski Resort.

Sugar Mountain Tubing Park
Tube down 700-foot tubing lanes and return to the top via the Magic Carpet Lift! No experience needed and fun for all ages. Tube rental included. Located next to the ice skating rink. Read more about Tubing!

Ice Skating at Sugar Mountain
Sugar Mountain Resort’s 10,000 square foot refrigerated outdoor ice skating rink is the perfect place to experience winter’s beauty on skates! Read more about Ice Skating!

Snowshoe Tours
Explore Sugar Mountain Resort’s winter wonderland with a Snowshoe Guided Tour. Tours range from a casual walk to an intense workout. Experienced guides accommodate your needs. Read more about snowshoe tours!

Sugar Mountain Winter Things to Do

Places to Stay
Wake up to winter wonderland views! You won’t find cookie-cutter hotels on our mountain. All of our accommodations are vacation rental homes (all sizes), log cabins and condos with big views. The holidays are a very festive and busy time. Book well in advance to get the perfect place for you and your family. See our Top Vacation Rentals with tips for mountain stays.

Find 25+ great restaurants within a 5-miles of the main entrance to our village! See our Restaurant Guide.

Find many places to shop including necessities like groceries to stock up your cabin or condo and places to buy or rent ski equipment. Go to our Shopping Guide. Looking for special gifts? Find our fabulous Art Galleries.

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster
The first Alpine Coaster in the North Carolina Mountains is located at the base of Sugar Mountain. Ride individual carts at speeds up to 27 MPH on multiple 360-degree loops. It’s a cross between a roller coaster and toboggan sled run. They are open every day year-round, including our winter ski season. Read about the Alpine Coaster.

Wineries & Breweries
Take your own winery tour in our Sugar Mountain area and enjoy spectacular scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, beautiful outdoor settings, weekend live music, and plenty of local wines. Two wineries are located just five miles from our village. Sample local brews at a nearby craft brewery. Open year-round. Free admission. Read more: Three Wineries near Sugar | Kettell Beerworks Brewery

Sugar Creek Mining Company
Mine your own North Carolina gemstones! Grab a bucket and our expert staff will set you up on our flume line, then our staff will help you pan your gems and identify them. If desired, our expert gem cutters can cut your rough gemstones and set it into a piece of jewelry. Located across from the entrance to Sugar Mountain. Read more about gem mining.

Mast General Store
The famous original Mast General Store is not only a great place to shop, it’s a trip back in time. It’s only 10 miles from the entrance of Sugar Mountain in the scenic area of Valle Crucis. Read about Mast General Store.

Hiking & Waterfalls
Yes, winter is a fantastic time to hike. Leafless trees open the views, and few people are on the trails. Check the weather first! See our Top 20 Hikes & Waterfalls.

Free Village Shuttle Bus
Ride the Sugar Bus at no charge on most weekends from condos and rentals on the mountains to the ski lodge. Read more.

Sugar Mountain Driving in Snow

Scenic Drives
Four wheel drive is always recommended since weather can change quickly with sudden snowfall. The Village of Sugar Mountain does a fantastic job at clearing roads. If you don’t have four wheel drive, we suggest you stay at a rental near the base of the mountain. Often we get surprise snows, so be prepared. Rime ice (frozen fog) often covers the trees on the top half of the mountain, creating extraordinary scenic drives. ALERT: Snow tires, tire chains or 4 wheel drive are required when snow is on our roads. If you impede traffic and do not have any of these, you can be ticketed and fined. Please plan accordingly! There are many local businesses that sell chains. See our Winter Weather & Driving Tips.

Grandfather Mountain
Located only 15 minutes away from Sugar Mountain, Grandfather Mountain is home to the famous “Mile High Swinging Bridge,” the Nature Museum, wildlife habitats featuring bears and hiking trails. They are open all winter! Weather permitting, drive to the top. See our Grandfather Mountain Guide.

Blue Ridge Parkway Drive, Walk, Ski
Just minutes from Sugar Mountain, find “America’s Favorite Drive.” While sections will close for ice or snow, parts of it will be open much of the winter. Closed sections are great for winter hiking and cross country skiing – including the Viaduct. See our Parkway Trip Guide.

Moses Cone Memorial Park
Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, find 25 miles of wide, packed trails for winter hikes and cross country skiing. You can access the park even when the Parkway is closed. See our Moses Cone Park Guide.

Apple Hill Alpaca Farm
Take a guided tour of this mountaintop alpaca farm and store – open all winter, weather permitting. The walking tours let you get up close and personal with the alpacas, llamas, angora goats, guardian donkeys, dogs and other animals. Located 8 miles from Sugar Mountain. Read more.

Hero’s Axe House
Owned by first responders, they have six axe throwing lanes with projected targets for exciting games with digital scoring! Try Line-Up-Four, Tic-Tac-Toe, Duck Hunter, and more. Ages 10 & up. 4501 Tynecastle Hwy, Suite 6, Seven Devils. (next to Highlander’s Grill). Go to their website.

Village Visitor Center
Located near the village main entrance and open 24/7, our Outdoor Info Kiosk has plenty of brochures and updates about our area for many other things to do. Also, see our illustrated Village of Sugar Mountain map for a quick overview.

Events & Festivals

Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Farms Avery County

Mid November-Mid December: Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Farms are open so you can pick out and take home the perfect Christmas tree! See our list of choose & cut farms and tips for picking the perfect tree.

December 1-3, 2023: Small Town Christmas kicks off the holiday season with many free events and activities for all ages in downtown Banner Elk. Read more.

December 8-10, 2023: SugarFest is a weekend of winter fun at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort with ski clinics by Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht, equipment demos, after ski party with fireworks on Saturday, and more. Go to their website for details.

November 24-December 30, 2023: Tweetsie Railroad Christmas features a train ride through thousands of lights at Tweetsie Railroad amusement park, about 30 minutes drive from Sugar Mountain. Enjoy the rides, shops, Santa, and much more. Read more.

More info: What weather to expect?