Ski or Snowboard – How will you slide into the winter season?


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It is almost the most wonderful time of the year–and I’m not just talking about the holidays. Ski season has arrived in Haywood County and we couldn’t be more excited! Those of you who have experienced first-hand the pure bliss that comes from traversing a snowy slope on a pair of skis or a snowboard understands exactly what I mean. We wait with bated breath through the heat and humidity of the warm seasons for that first forecast of weather cold enough to produce snow.

Well, that time is almost here. Haywood County’s own Cataloochee Ski Area has opened its first slopes! So for those of you who have already dusted off your gear, start doing your snow dance and keep your fingers crossed for more cold weather!

As for  those of you who have never experienced the rush of racing down a snow covered mountain – or the simple joy of leisurely “pizza pieing” your way down – the 2020/2021 season is a great time to discover this fun sport.  But now for the biggest question of all: To ski or to snowboard?  If you’re a first timer, trying to decide between skiing or snowboarding can be tough.  I can speak from experience as I’ve taken a spin on both and in the end I’ve become a life long skier.  I think back on my childhood and I see now that it should’ve been an easy decision.  Growing up rollerblading was one of my favorite childhood pastimes but the first time I attempted to skateboard I nearly ended up with a broken tailbone (and a bruised ego). I obviously felt more comfortable with my feet strapped into two parallel planks instead of strapped together on a single board.  I’m no expert, but I think asking yourself how you feel about those two scenarios is a good place to start.

Most winter snowsport enthusiasts will say that skiing is easier to learn than snowboarding.  I may have to agree, but there are those that snowboarding comes very naturally to, so I won’t try to persuade you either way.  Some pros and cons include the fact that skiers have the assistance of poles when needed and snowboarders do not. But many say that once mastered, snowboarding is easier on the knees and getting up when you do fall, as opposed to skiing which puts more strain on your knees.  It may also depend on where you will be doing the majority of your skiing or snowboarding. It is said that snowboards are ideal for softer, deeper snow while skiing carves through ice and bumps better.  Again, it is a matter of opinion and most importantly what you feel the most comfortable with.

With that said, my suggestions is check them both out!  You will discover very quickly which method you feel most comfortable with.  So now that you’re ready to take a chance on skiing or snowboarding, its time to get you set up with some lessons. Cataloochee Ski Area operates a FANTASTIC snowsports school that will have you up and running those slopes in no time.

The Cataloochee Snowsports School is a member school of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors. Cataloochee Ski Area’s PSIA member Snowsports School teaches everything from the basics for novices to newest techniques for experts. They furnish class lessons or private instruction for all levels of skiers and snow boarders. Instructors in their children’s programs are specially selected and trained to provide the best children’s learning experience possible. Their goal is to help you, your family or group to make the most out of your mountain experience.

There are also plenty of upcoming opportunities that will provide the perfect chance to learn one of these awesome snowsports.  January is “Learn to Ski and Snowboard” month so what better time to beat those winter blues than with an exciting new challenge!

If you’ve thought about, maybe tried it out, and decided that neither skiing nor snowboarding is your winter sport of choice, don’t let that get you down. Cataloochee Ski also offers another snow sport that is the perfect option for you: snow tubing! Located at the base of Fie Top Mountain before you make your drive up to the ski area, Tube World offers multiple tube runs and is the perfect outing for the entire family.

To learn more and plan your trip to Cataloochee Ski area, visit


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