Tennessee’s Hidden Slopes: Uncovering the Best Places to Ski

Ski resort scene with trucks and people nearby

When one thinks of skiing destinations in the United States, places like Colorado, Utah, and Vermont might immediately come to mind. However, there’s a hidden gem in the Southeast that might surprise many: Tennessee! Yes, the Volunteer State, known for its vibrant music scene and smoky mountains, also offers skiing enthusiasts some unexpected spots to hit the slopes. In this article, we dive deep into the places to ski in Tennessee.

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort

Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. This premier ski and snowboard destination offers a range of skiing features, including nine ski trails for all skill levels, a terrain park for daredevils, and the iconic Aerial Tramway. Let’s delve into the highlights of Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, helping you plan your next winter getaway.

Skiing Features at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort caters to both beginners and seasoned skiers. Here are the key skiing features that make this resort a must-visit:

  • Nine Ski Trails: Ober Gatlinburg boasts nine ski trails, catering to a wide range of skiing abilities. Whether you’re a novice looking to perfect your technique or an expert craving challenging slopes, you’ll find the perfect trail to suit your needs. Below is a breakdown of the trails:
Trail NameDifficulty Level
Cub WayBeginner
Upper BearBeginner
Lower BearBeginner
Ski SchoolBeginner
Alpine WayIntermediate
Castle RunIntermediate
Mogul RidgeAdvanced
Ober ChuteAdvanced
  • Terrain Park: If you’re an adventurous skier or snowboarder looking to showcase your skills, Ober Gatlinburg’s terrain park is the place to be. This park features a variety of jumps, rails, and obstacles for riders of all levels. It’s a great spot to practice tricks or watch talented riders in action.
  • Aerial Tramway: One of the standout features of Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort is the Aerial Tramway. This iconic tram offers an unforgettable journey from downtown Gatlinburg to the ski area. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a scenic experience that sets the tone for your skiing adventure.

Pro Tips for Your Visit

  • Timing Matters: To make the most of your visit, consider coming during the weekdays or in the early morning to avoid the crowds.
  • Equipment Rentals: If you don’t have your own skiing or snowboarding gear, Ober Gatlinburg offers equipment rentals on-site, ensuring you have everything you need for a successful day on the slopes.
  • Lessons Available: Whether you’re a beginner or looking to hone your skills, the resort offers ski and snowboarding lessons for all ages and skill levels.
  • Explore Gatlinburg: After a day on the slopes, don’t miss the opportunity to explore downtown Gatlinburg. This charming area is replete with restaurants, shops, and entertainment options, making it the perfect place to unwind and refuel.

Cloudmont Ski Resort

People skiing at a ski resort

For those seeking a more intimate and beginner-friendly skiing experience in the southern part of Tennessee, Cloudmont Ski Resort offers an excellent option. Despite its smaller size, this resort has some distinct features that make it a charming choice for both novices and those looking for a relaxed skiing adventure.

Skiing Features at Cloudmont Ski Resort

  • Two Beginner-Friendly Slopes: Cloudmont Ski Resort caters primarily to beginners and those looking for a less crowded skiing environment. The resort boasts two gentle and beginner-friendly slopes, making it an ideal destination for individuals or families new to skiing. Here are the details of the slopes:
Slope NameDifficulty Level
Bunny SlopeBeginner
Rabbit RunBeginner

These slopes provide a safe and supportive environment for learning and practicing skiing skills. Instructors are available for lessons, ensuring that beginners get off to a great start.

  • Night Skiing Options: Cloudmont Ski Resort offers the unique opportunity for night skiing. Skiing under the stars can be a magical and memorable experience. The resort has adequate lighting on its slopes, providing a well-illuminated skiing adventure after the sun sets.
  • Machine-Made Snow System: One of Cloudmont’s most noteworthy features is its cutting-edge machine-made snow system. Despite its location in the southern United States, where natural snowfall can be unpredictable, Cloudmont ensures skiable conditions throughout the ski season. This technology allows the resort to produce and maintain a consistent layer of snow on its slopes, even when the weather isn’t cooperating. This is a significant advantage for skiers, as it means more reliable skiing opportunities.

Pro Tips for Your Visit

  • Affordable Skiing: Cloudmont Ski Resort is often more budget-friendly than larger resorts. If you’re new to skiing and want to try it without breaking the bank, Cloudmont is an excellent choice.
  • Lessons and Rentals: The resort provides skiing lessons for beginners, making it an ideal place to learn the basics. They also offer equipment rentals, so you don’t need to invest in expensive gear if you’re just starting out.
  • Scenic Surroundings: Cloudmont is known for its picturesque setting, nestled amidst the mountains of southern Tennessee. Be sure to take in the natural beauty of the area while you’re there.

Beech Mountain Resort (Near Tennessee)

Skier in complete equipment

Nestled in the beautiful landscape of North Carolina but conveniently situated near the Tennessee border, Beech Mountain Resort offers a remarkable skiing experience for those in search of adventure. While technically not within Tennessee’s borders, Beech Mountain is a notable destination for those looking to explore places to ski near Tennessee. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the features that make Beech Mountain Resort a remarkable choice for skiing enthusiasts.

Skiing Features at Beech Mountain Resort

Beech Mountain Resort is renowned for its diverse skiing features, making it a magnet for winter sports enthusiasts. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what this resort has to offer:

  • Ski Trails: Beech Mountain Resort boasts an impressive 17 ski trails, covering more than 95 acres of skiable terrain. These trails cater to a wide range of skiing abilities, from beginner to expert. Below is a summary of the trails:
Trail NameDifficulty Level
Oz RunBeginner
Powder BowlBeginner
Upper White LightningIntermediate
White LightningAdvanced
Southern StarAdvanced
Upper Southern StarExpert
Upper White LightningExpert
White Lightning GladeExpert
Upper SilverstreakExpert
Southern Star GladeExpert
Powder Bowl GladeExpert
Upper Powder BowlExpert
Upper Oz RunExpert
Upper FreestyleExpert

These trails are meticulously maintained, providing an exhilarating skiing experience for all skill levels.

  • Terrain Parks and Vertical Drop:Beech Mountain Resort is not just about skiing; it offers a range of terrain parks designed to challenge and thrill snowboarders and freestyle skiers. The resort features a vertical drop of 830 feet, allowing for exciting descents and plenty of opportunities for carving through the snow.
  • Natural Snowfall:A standout feature of Beech Mountain Resort is its elevation, making it the highest ski area in the eastern United States. This elevation often results in more natural snowfall, enhancing the skiing experience and ensuring a longer season.

Pro Tips for Your Visit

  • Timing Matters: Plan your visit to Beech Mountain Resort during the winter season when the slopes are fully operational. Check weather forecasts for natural snow conditions.
  • Lodging Options: While Beech Mountain itself offers lodging options, you can also find accommodations in nearby towns like Banner Elk and Boone, North Carolina, for a wider range of choices.
  • Ski School: If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, consider taking advantage of the resort’s ski school. They offer lessons for all skill levels, helping you gain confidence on the slopes.
  • Exploring the Area: Take some time to explore the charming towns surrounding Beech Mountain, where you can find restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions to complement your skiing adventure.

Quick Comparison of Places to Ski in Tennessee

ResortNumber of TrailsUnique Feature
Ober Gatlinburg9Aerial Tramway
Cloudmont2Machine-made snow system
Beech Mountain (near TN)17Highest ski area in the eastern US

Benefits of Skiing in Tennessee

When it comes to finding the perfect skiing destination, Tennessee may not be the first place that comes to mind. However, skiing in Tennessee offers a range of unique benefits that make it a hidden gem for winter sports enthusiasts. In this informative guide, we’ll delve into the advantages of choosing Tennessee as your skiing destination, highlighting why it’s worth considering for your next winter getaway.

Less Crowded Slopes

One of the standout advantages of skiing in Tennessee is the opportunity to enjoy less crowded slopes. Unlike more popular skiing destinations in states like Colorado or Utah, Tennessee’s ski resorts often offer a quieter and more peaceful skiing experience. This means shorter lift lines, more room to carve down the slopes, and a generally more relaxed atmosphere. Whether you’re a seasoned skier looking for solitude or a beginner seeking a less intimidating environment, Tennessee’s ski resorts provide an inviting escape.

Diverse Experience Beyond Skiing

Skiing in Tennessee offers more than just a day on the slopes; it provides a well-rounded experience that combines outdoor adventure with the state’s unique culture, music, and southern charm. Here are some ways you can immerse yourself in the local culture:

  • Live Music: Tennessee is renowned for its music scene, and many ski resorts often feature live music performances in their après-ski areas. Enjoy some local tunes and soak in the vibrant musical heritage of the region.
  • Southern Hospitality: Experience the warmth and friendliness of southern hospitality. Whether you’re at a cozy ski lodge or exploring nearby towns, you’ll find welcoming locals who are eager to share their culture and traditions.
  • Local Cuisine: Savor the flavors of southern cuisine. From hearty comfort foods to delicious barbecue, Tennessee offers a gastronomic adventure that complements your skiing activities.


Another compelling reason to consider skiing in Tennessee is its affordability. While skiing in well-known ski states can often come with a hefty price tag, Tennessee’s ski resorts tend to be more budget-friendly. Here’s why:

  • Lift Ticket Prices: Lift ticket prices at Tennessee’s ski resorts are generally more reasonable than those in popular ski destinations. This affordability allows you to enjoy more skiing days without breaking the bank.
  • Accommodations: Tennessee offers a variety of lodging options, including cozy cabins and affordable hotels, making it easier to find accommodations that fit your budget.
  • Dining: Dining out in Tennessee is also budget-friendly, allowing you to indulge in delicious southern cuisine without straining your wallet.

While Tennessee may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of skiing, it offers a range of benefits that make it an appealing choice. From less crowded slopes and a diverse cultural experience to affordability, skiing in Tennessee provides a unique and budget-friendly winter adventure. So, the next time you’re considering places to ski, don’t overlook the hidden gem that is Tennessee, where you can embrace the snow, music, and southern charm in one unforgettable trip.


Tennessee, with its smoky mountain charm and southern allure, might not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking of skiing. Yet, as we’ve highlighted, the places to ski in Tennessee offer a unique blend of snow and culture. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner looking to learn, Tennessee’s slopes beckon with open arms. Next winter, why not consider a ski trip with a southern twist?


Q: Is there snow in Tennessee?

A: While Tennessee doesn’t receive as much natural snow as some northern states, the ski resorts use snowmaking machines to ensure ski-friendly conditions throughout the season.

Q: How long is the ski season in Tennessee?

A: Typically, the ski season in places to ski in Tennessee starts in early December and goes through mid-March, depending on weather conditions.

Q: Are there ski rental facilities in these resorts?

A: Yes, all major ski resorts in Tennessee offer equipment rental facilities, so you don’t need to bring your own.

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