or Connect

Sugar Mountain Ski Area



arrow_down.png TRAIL MAP arrow_down.png CONDITIONS arrow_down.png TRANSPORTATION arrow_down.png LODGING arrow_down.png DINING arrow_down.png MORE

Trail Map
Trail Map


Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport 
Airlines (domestic service major and national) operating from Atlanta include AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Continental, Delta Airlines, GeorgiaSkies, Frontier, Midwest, Northwest, Spirit, United and US Airways


Asheville Regional Airport
Airlines operating from Asheville include AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Continental, Delta Airlines, United and US Airways

Raleigh-Durham International Airport

Airlines operating from Raleigh-Durham include Air Canada, AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Continental, Delta Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue Airways, Southwest, United Express and US Airways 


Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Airlines operating from Charlotte include Air Canada, AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Continental, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, United Express and US Airways and US Airways Express


Piedmont Triad International Airport
Airlines operating (daily non-stop service) from Piedmont include Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Continental Express, Delta, Delta Connection, United Express, and  US Airways


Tri-Cities Regional Airport
Airlines operating from Tri-Cities include Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Delta, Delta Connection, US Airways and US Airways Express




Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Sugar Ski & Country Club



Efficiency to two bedroom fully equipped condos. On site pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. Ski packages available.


Extra person charges may apply

$268 and up 


Sugar Mountain Resort Accommodations




Rental accommodations include efficiencies, 1-6 bedroom condos and chalets. Ski packages available.





Extra person charges may apply



$260 and up




The Best Western Mountain Lodge At Banner Elk




Full service hotel with 100 rooms conveniently located within 2 miles of Sugar Mountain.Featuring Evergreen Restaurant and Lounge, Year Round Heated Pool, Game Room, and Guest Laundry."Pet Friendly" rooms available. Weekday Ski Packages available, including sleeping room,lift tickets,ski or snowboard rentals,breakfast

voucher,and welcome gift.


Extra person charges may apply




$80 and up








Bayou Smokehouse & Grill


Jackalope's View located at 2489 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Banner Elk, NC 28604


Pappy's Barbecue


Sugar's Red Lift Receives A Face Lift


2011 - 2012 Rental Equipment Rates

2011 - 2012 Lessons


Ski shop on site. 




Sugar Mountain Ski Area

In 1969, North Carolina's largest ski area opened. It was Sugar Mountain Resort and it has remained North Carolina's largest. For over a quarter of a century, Sugar has strived to provide the finest winter sports experience available in the Southeast. Sugar Mountain Resort is nestled in North Carolina's western high country, near Banner Elk, and is North Carolina's largest ski area. With the opening of Sugar Mountain Resort, true big-mountain skiing came to North Carolina. A 1,200 ft. vertical drop, a run of one and a half miles, and a commitment to excellence made Sugar the benchmark of southern skiing.

Snow making percent100%
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow3
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double4
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple1
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person
Lifts-Coggle train
Lifts-Total number of lifts
Lifts-Total lift capacity8800/hr.
Trails-4-Expert only
Trails-5-Terrain park1
Trails-6-Half pipe
Runs-Steepest run
Runs-Longest run1.5 miles
General-Base elevation
General-Vertical drop1200'
General-Mountain range
General-Annual skier visits
General-Back country access
General-Total area in bounds115 acres
General-Snow making coverage
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC


Pros: Best vertical, an almost-double black, snow making

Cons: dated facilities that need updating and paint, old clunky chairs, poor staff attitude, narrow trails

These are my opinions based on one day only at Sugar mountain. Of course some things can be very variable (like staff attitude and the snow/terrain) and some not so much (chair lifts, the facility, etc.). I hope my general observations are potentially helpful to someone else looking for first-timer information. 


My ski day was Jan 8, 2014. Jan 6 saw five inches of fresh snow, Jan 7 the temps were frigid but this didn't seem to negatively impact the snow too much. The weather was good for snowmaking following the natural snow. So pretty favorable conditions for these parts. And because both my kids were in ski school on this day, I got to experience the mountain without children as well as seeing the ski school operation. 


I did like the fact that I was able to pre-register my kids and get them fitted the night before. I got to the shop at 6:55 pm after a 5-hour drive (Pre-registration was until 7:00 pm), and the staff was very friendly regardless of my late arrival. The staff across the board for the ski school seemed young, but I have no complaints with how they handled things. The ski school facility itself was considerably dated, it could definitely use a lot of updating (or at the very least some fresh paint). The teaching was fine from what I could observe; I have younger children who are very cautious so it is hard to judge the ski school instructors. But they seemed to have a decent program and place and handed me evaluation cards at the end.


As far as the facilities, Sugar is definitely in need of some updating. It just doesn't look like there have been any capital improvements in quite some time. That is understandable depending on the dollars coming in, but there is a difference between major renovations versus just keeping things look nice with fresh paint. The latter would be a good start. When the lodge itself has rusted-out bottoms to its entry doors, I can only assume the owners are just neglecting keeping the resort in nice shape. This is unfortunate…


The cafeteria is definitely reminiscent of a 1980's cafeteria. The only food I sampled was a $5 small bowl of chili. It was OK, nothing great but certainly edible after a morning of skiing. I cannot really comment on the other food but from other reviews that I have read the food is overpriced and not gourmet by any stretch of the imagination. 


Except for the one lift servicing Big Red, they are really old and clunky at Sugar. The lift to the summit is very slow, in part due to the higher vertical of Sugar as compared to the other local mountains and of course in part due to age. I will say that all the lifts that I rode had either the padded seat or at least the flat bottom seat (not the uncomfortable bars that have to be sat on), so this was a plus even though the lifts themselves were old. The lift servicing Big Red seemed newer, was more comfortable and faster than the others.


The lift operators all seemed pretty grouchy at Sugar. Since my kids were in ski school I cannot really evaluate them on helpfulness as this was not needed, but they just really seemed pissed off and that you were prolonging their days' misery. I'm not looking for conversation but don't look at me with disdain either. In my opinion they need to have some customer service training. If you want to work here at least manage a smile on your face, regardless of how you truly feel...


As far as mountain conditions, Sugar has the edge on vertical as compared to its neighbor Beech. They also have a double black with some nice pitch. Of course it is pretty short, but that is to be expected in NC. Both the black and double-black that I skied were icier than I expected given the recent snow and favorable conditions for snowmaking; however I read that they were in nice shape the following day from a separate epicski post. The trails were mostly on the narrow side, especially as compared to neighboring Beech. I did find the trail Big Red to be enjoyable and spent most of my time there. It had just enough pitch to be fun (able to get up to 40 mph based on my ski tracks app), was wider than the others, and had a lot of snow due to the snow guns going non-stop. 


About the snow guns, this does seem to be Sugar's philosophy. Keep the snow guns going at all times. It was actually a nice thing on Big Red because I was able to ski the sides of the trail and be in a little bit of fresh powder. I was surprised at the icier conditions on the blacks given this guns-a-blazing philosophy, but hey more snow is better than less. I didn't see any real grooming at Sugar however, just the snow guns going non-stop. And I will say that they are pretty loud and annoying after two hours of hearing them non-stop. They actually were able to drown out my earphone music anytime I got close to them.


I cannot comment on the terrain park as it was not open. The only grooming equipment that I saw at Sugar was someone messing around in the park. Not sure if he was actually trying to do something or just practicing on the grooming machine…


Locker cost is 50 cents at Sugar. I didn't use a locker on this day, but I assume it is the 50 cents per opening kind of locker. 


Anyway this is my review on Sugar. I will also be writing one for my Beech day as well. I will say that overall I preferred Beech and if I had only two days or less to spend skiing between the two resorts they would both be at Beech. 


Pros: good for beginners

Cons: needs more ski patrol

I went 3 times to sugar and always had a good time. The staff is always friendly to me and my family.

Yes it is outdated but I'm there to ski not to sit and hang out. They updated the lift that goes all the way to the top and I heard its pretty fast.

They also rearranged the area where the little grey lift drops you off. There are a lot of snowboarders just hanging out in the middle of the slopes which is a little aggravating, thus I think they need to patrol more to tell them to move to the side. I had a ski lesson there and he knew his stuff and knew exactly how to make me get over my fear. All in all, if you are from the south like me one can't be too picky if you dont have a huge budget to ski every year. But I really enjoy it there. We make sure we choose the dates we go wisely so it wont be overcrowded as in not just the weekend.


Pros: None

Cons: Poor management, inaccurate information from office, poor customer service

I have rarely experience such a lack of customer service. I live in a nearby county and called the resort about rates. Many resorts allow a special rate for kids that are out of school due to a snow day. I called Sugar Mountain shortly after they opened and asked if it applied for my daughter who was out of school and specifically for my county. The answer was not just yes, but emphatic yes that the day lift ticket would be $7 for my daughter. So I drove 50 miles to the resort, waited in line and when I reached the ticket booth, I was informed that my 12 year old daughter did not qualify and would be charged the full rate of $39.

My next stop was the administration office to ask if they would honor the rate quoted on the telephone. The office manager gave me an immediate no. She then proceeded to tell me that the staff is trained and would not have quoted me the rates and accused me of not informing them on the telephone what county I was from.. I then told her that the person on the phone was one of their employees and they should at least give me some consideration since I had drove 50 miles to get there. Another emphatic no exceptions and that she was not authorized to do anything anyway (which makes me wonder what her job was if she couldn't take care of a problem of this sort). She then said I could fill out a complaint form which would be addressed within a week or two. I almost expected the proverbial 1/2" by 1/2" complaint form.

Then I told her that the ticket agents were not even checking the id's of those claiming to be from local counties. The office manager said this was not true, even though we witnessed it 10 minutes earlier. In fact the agents were only asking for the school principal's name and the kids were all telling each other what to say to get in, even though they were not from qualifying counties. If we wanted to be dishonest we could have done what this kids were doing and said we were from Avery County Middle School and the principals name is David Wright.

She then proceeded to tell me that the policy was communicated accurately and enforced by all employees. Clearly they don't know what their employees are saying or doing. It does not surprise me that the earlier reviews said that the employees were rude. This is a direct result of the shoddy management.

The bottom line is that you cannot trust the information you get by calling in. You cannot expect them to admit they made a mistake. You can expect to be treated rudely with no consideration of your situation.


Pros: Well Groomed

Cons: no comment

I spent Thursday Evening and all day Friday skiing Sugar Mountain, NC. The spring skiing conditions have hit hard, but what do you expect it's spring!  You can't go skiing in the EAST any place this time of the year without the corn, or slush.  The Mountain is great overall, and so were the people I met while there. Everyone was friendly, and helpful.


The temp was 33-36 most of the time, so no new snow. However the groomer's made the most of what they had to work with.  25"to 75" inches of base.


The Mountain is very good skiing overall. I grew up skiing Western New York and Pennsylvania. Sugar Mountain is better, hands down no argument! Sugar's vertical drop is more than 1200 ft. and the top of the Mountain was 5300 ft. high. Peak'n Mountain in Youngsville, PA was around 1200 ft. vertical drop, but Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, NY was less then 600 ft. in vertical drop, neither mountain was as high as Sugar.


The lift prices went 30% off beginning 10 March 09 for their March Madness Promo. 32 dollars from NOON-10pm.


I look forward to returning Next Season.