Outside Magazine voted Boone, North Carolina as one of the best small towns of 2009. Boone is home to The Institute for Senior Scholars at Appalachian State University, which offers outdoor excursions for people over 50, so both the young and the old enjoy its nearby ski areas and hiking trails. Boone is North Carolina's High Country, but the word "high" is a relative term. Most of its ski areas are at a base elevation of about 4,000 feet. The lower elevation makes them snow-challenged, but sea level visitors appreciate the easy acclimation, low-priced lift tickets and warmer temperatures.
Appalachian Ski Mountain
The base elevation of Appalachian Ski Mountain is 3,635 feet; its summit elevation is 4,000 feet. It receives an annual average of 60 inches of snow. Five lifts carry skiers and snowboarders to 11 different trails. Appalachian Ski Mountain's terrain is divided into 18 percent beginner terrain, 55 percent intermediate and 27 percent advanced terrain. The resort has three terrain parks. Night skiing is offered, and there's a special Ladies Park Night, which offers free terrain park instruction for women. The resort is located two miles off US 321 between Blowing Rock and Boone, North Carolina.
Appalachian Ski Mountain
940 Ski Mountain Rd
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Sugar Mountain is 11 miles from Boone. Its base elevation is 4,100 feet, and the summit rises to 5,300 feet. Sugar Mountain did not inspire Neil Young's coming of age song by the same name, but its easy, well-groomed terrain provides a welcome introduction to the world of snow sports.
Sugar Mountain is comprised of 35 percent beginner terrain, 50 percent intermediate and 15 percent advanced. Eight lifts serve 20 trails. The area gets an average of seven feet of snow.
Sugar Mountain Resort, Inc.
P.O. Box 369
Banner Elk, NC 2860
With 30 percent beginner terrain, 40 percent intermediate and 30 percent advanced terrain, Beech Mountain offers the most balanced terrain distribution of the ski areas near Boone. The resort is at a base elevation of 4,675 feet, which rises to a summit of 5,506 feet. Beech Mountain occupies 100 acres of land; 10 lifts serve 15 trails; the resort has a terrain park. Adaptive snow sport lessons are offered for disabled skiers and riders. Beech Mountain is about 10 miles from Boone.
1007 Beech Mountain Parkway
Beech Mountain, NC 28604
Article Written By Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.