Slopes to learn on—or shred—this winter.

Aerial Night Shot of Cataloochee Ski Area

A winter in Haywood County is best spent embracing the treasures of the season. So, make the most of your time here and plan a weekend at the Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley for some outdoor adventure! This mountain is famous around these parts—read on to find out why beginners and experts spend days traversing these slopes.

How do I get started?

First things first: what do you need to get on the slopes? Well, you’re going to need a lift pass to get into the slope system. From there, it depends on what gear you already have. Cataloochee rents out everything you could possibly need, from skis and snowboards to bibs and jackets. They house over 4,000 sets of rental equipment and have a repair shop on site—just in case. As for pricing, it’s cheaper to visit on the weekdays, but it’s still a really good deal on weekends and holidays. For some cost savings, consider their lift, rental, and lesson packages. Starting at $85 for juniors and $100 for adults, you can get a full day lift pass, full equipment rental, and an introductory lesson to get you out and conquering the hills in no time.

Downhill skier at Cataloochee Ski Area

What to Expect

First time skiing or snowboarding? There’s no better place to learn. Although our slopes are fun to ride for expert-level shredders, the diversity of hills on our mountain means this is an ideal place to learn, too. Our instructors are here to help—so use them! Even experienced riders can learn something new from a professionally-trained instructor. Getting your experience started on the right foot can make spending a day on the mountain much more enjoyable.

Although they’re located in the Southeastern U.S., Cataloochee does an awesome job of extending the ski season as long as possible. In fact, their team of snowmakers blanket the mountain in snow for up to 125 days a year—that’s a longer season than most slopes up north!

Check out the First Timers Guide on their website for even more information if you’re planning to learn how to ski or snowboard at Cataloochee.

Slopes Breakdown

The 18 slopes at Cataloochee are split up to suit all skill levels, with almost half designated for “beginners.” As for you more advanced shredders, you’ll find nearly a quarter of the slopes are designed to challenge your abilities. Check out this terrain map of the mountain:

Special Promos

If you need some extra incentive to get out on the slopes, Cataloochee offers several promotional opportunities that can save you some money when you take advantage of them. Check them out:

Homeschool Days

  • Every Tuesday from January 8 to the end of the season.
  • Lift tickets: $25
  • Lift & rentals: $35
  • Lift, rentals, & lessons: $50

Family Days

  • Every Wednesday, children under 17 receive a free lift ticket when they’re accompanied by a parent purchasing a full price adult day lift ticket.

Women on Wednesdays

  • This program runs from January 9­–February 13 and is designed for women who learn better with female instructors. Sessions start at 10:00 am and run for two hours. The costs for the 6-week clinic are:
    • Lift & clinic: $150
    • Lift, lesson, & ski: $200
    • If you bring your own equipment and have a season pass, the program is only $100!

Kids Stay & Ski Free

  • Children 17 and under are eligible to stay for free overnight at participating lodging options and ski free when accompanied by a paying adult.
  • Visit their website for more details and participating lodging.

Tube World

There’s more than one way to play in the snow here. Tube World is located about 4 miles from the Ski Area and is another really affordable outdoor winter activity in Maggie Valley. It’s $25 per person, per session, and sessions last one hour and 45 minutes. You do have to be 42 inches tall to slide here.

Winter fun in the Smokies doesn’t stop when you hop off the slopes. There are still views to relish while hiking, plenty of Appalachian flavor to savor in locally-sourced restaurants, and other ways to stay warm in the middle of winter.

Huge thank you to snowboarding instructor Charlie Sikorski for helping us write this blog!

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