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Cold-weather activities abound just a short drive over the mountains

staff report • Jan 12, 2013 at 6:44 AM

There may not be any snow on the ground here, but area ski slopes have been open for business since last month. Natural snow, combined with snowmaking capabilities, have made for great bases on the mountains.

From downhill and cross-country skiing, snow boarding and snowshoeing to ice skating and tubing, seven ski resorts in North Carolina, one in Tennessee, two in Virginia and three in West Virginia provide a winter playground for area snow enthusiasts.

Here’s a look at what the winter resorts closest to the Tri-Cities have to offer.

NORTH CAROLINA

Appalachian Ski Mountain

Location: Blowing Rock

Slopes: 12

Lifts: 6

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: No

Terrain Parks: Yes

Ice Skating: Yes

Upcoming Events: The ski resort is celebrating 50 years. Upcoming events include Dragon Go Big or Go Home, a unique rail jam that is free to enter and will offer lots of prizes, set for Jan. 25. SFTC Big Air is set for Jan. 27, followed by the Red Bull ThingamaJIB on Feb. 2, Ladies Park Night on Feb. 9 and SFTC Slopestyle Finals on Feb. 23.

Contact: (800) 322-2373 or www.appskimtn.com

Beech Mountain Resort

Location: Beech Mountain

Slopes: 15

Lifts: 7

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: No

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: Yes

Upcoming events: Now in its 45th season, Beech will host the 32nd annual adaptive ski clinic Jan. 21-25. A Boarder/Skier Cross race is set for Feb. 9.

Contact: (800) 438-2093 or www.beechmountainresort.com

Cataloochee Ski Area

Location: Maggie Valley

Slopes: 17

Lifts: 6

Night Skiing: Every night except Sunday and Monday

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: No

Upcoming events: Military Appreciation Days, with special reduced rates for military personnel with valid ID and their families, will be held Jan. 24 and 25. Law Enforcement Appreciation Days will be held Feb. 7 and 8, with Fire and Rescue Appreciation Days on Feb. 21 and 22.

Miscellany: TubeWorld, located four miles from the ski area, offers five snow runs

Contact: (800) 768-0285 or www.cataloochee.com or www.tubemaggievalley.com

Hawksnest Resort

Location: Seven Devils, between Boone and Banner Elk

Slopes: Tubing only (20 lanes)

Night Skiing: No

Snowboarding: No

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: No

Ice Skating: No

Miscellany: Recognized for having the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast, the resort has added the longest zip line tour on the East Coast as well, featuring 19 cables, four of which are known in the zip line industry as super or mega zips. The zip line operates year-round.

Contact: (800) 822-4295 or www.hawksnest-resort.com

Sapphire Valley Ski Area

Location: Sapphire

Slopes: 2

Lifts: 2

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: No

Ice Skating: No

Miscellany: The ski area installed additional snow making equipment for the 2012-2013 season.

Contact: (828) 743-7663 or www.skisapphire.com

Sugar Mountain Ski Resort

Location: Sugar Mountain

Slopes: 20

Lifts: 7

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: Yes

Special events: Slalom & Giant Slalom races for qualified college students will begin at 9 a.m. Jan 20 and 21. The USSA Slalom and Giant Slalom Competition for licensed USSA racers will be held Jan. 26 and 27.

Miscellany: Showshoeing tours offered every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, as guides take full advantage of the area’s diverse terrain, with tours winding through snow-covered forests, up challenging hills and across open fields.

Contact: (800) 784-2768 or www.skisugar.com

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Location: Mars Hill

Slopes: 22

Lifts: 5

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: No

Contact: (828) 689-4111 or www.skiwolfridgenc.com

TENNESSEE

Ober Gatlinburg

Location: Gatlinburg

Slopes: 9

Lifts: 4

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: Yes

Upcoming events: Free Flow Friday will be held in the terrain park on Jan. 18. The K2 “Pop This!” High Ollie Contest will also be held Jan. 18. Ladies Night 2013 is set for Jan. 28, with ladies receiving a free lift ticket for the hours between 6 and 10 p.m. The Special Olympics Tennessee Winter Games 2013 will be held Jan. 28 and 29.

Miscellany: Ober’s Snow Tubing Park offers 10 lanes and a 50-foot vertical drop. The Scenic Chairlift offers 15 minutes of air time and scenic views of the Great Smokies.

Contact: (800) 251-9202 or www.skiobergatlinburg.com

VIRGINIA

The Homestead Resort

Location: Hot Springs

Slopes: 9

Night Skiing: 6-9 p.m., Saturdays

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: Yes

Miscellany: Snowmobiling also offered as weather permits

Contact: (540) 839-1766 or www.thehomestead.com

Wintergreen Resort

Location: Wintergreen

Slopes: 26

Lifts: 5

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: Yes (2)

Ice Skating: Yes

Miscellany: The Winter Zip offers a 900-foot zipline ride with speeds approaching 40 mph

Contact: (434) 325-2200 or www.wintergreenresort.com

WEST VIRGINIA

Snowshoe Mountain Resort

Location: Snowshoe

Slopes: 60

Lifts: 15

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: No

New this season: The new Hare Racer Zipline is located in the heart of the Village. With its side-by-side design, you can go by yourself or race a friend through the Village.

Miscellany: Five snowmobile tours are offered and include sunset, moonlight and private backcountry tours.

Contact: (877) 441-4386 or www.snowshoemtn.com

Winterplace Ski Resort

Location: Ghent/Flat Top

Slopes: 27

Lifts: 9

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: Yes

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: No

Miscellany: Offers West Virginia’s largest snow tubing park with two super carpet lifts

Contact: (800) 607-7669 or www.winterplace.com

Timberline Four Seasons Resort

Location: Davis

Slopes: 37

Lifts: 4

Night Skiing: Yes

Snowboarding: Yes

Tubing: No

Terrain Park: Yes

Ice Skating: No

Contact: (800) 766-9464 or www.timberlineresort.com

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