The first snowfall of winter triggers something special here in Maggie Valley. Crisp mountain air, rosy cheeks, warm mittens, woolen scarves, and the thing we’ve all been waiting for…fresh powder. Strapping on a pair of skis and feeling the thrill of carving a path down the mountain is the perfect cure for cabin fever.

We’re lucky to have the Cataloochee Ski Area – one of the premier ski resorts in the Smoky Mountains – right in our backyard. With a lengthy snow season that lasts from mid-November to late March, Maggie Valley is the ideal spot for your exciting winter adventure. And as locals we’ve learned a few secrets along the way. Here are our top 5 insider tips for escaping to a Maggie Valley ski vacation.

  1. Choose the Best Skiing in Maggie Valley

    Skiing in maggie valleyWhether you’ve been skiing your entire life or you’re hitting the slopes for the very first time, the Cataloochee Ski Area is an exciting ski destination for everyone. Its 18 slopes and trails are 44% beginner, 39% intermediate, and 17% advanced to expert. And with extensive snow making capabilities, the resort keeps more base snow on the mountainside than many other ski resorts in the Smoky Mountains.

    As North Carolina’s first ski area, the resort has welcomed visitors and thrill seekers for over 50 years and is a favorite of both locals and tourists from far and wide. With elevations up to 5,400 feet, it’s typically about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than down in the valley. When your fingers get frosty, head into the lodge where you can grab a bite to eat in the restaurant or a warm drink in the bar, where live bluegrass music is offered on Fridays.

    BONUS TIP: Visit Cataloochee Ski Area mid-week for the smallest crowds

  2. Take a Ski Lesson

    Even if you’re a seasoned skier, it’s always a good idea to take a lesson. (Hey, even the pros have coaches!) No matter your skill level, a ski lesson covers everything from the basics to learning thrilling new tricks to keeping you safe on the mountain. Plus, if you take a lesson, you may even get to skip the lift line.

    At the Cataloochee Ski Area, beginner students learn how to turn, slow down, and stop. Then each additional lesson builds on that foundation with more advanced skills. Get a full day of skiing that includes the cost of your lift ticket, any ski equipment or gear rentals, and your lesson with a professional ski instructor.

  3. Gear Up

    Nothing can ruin a day on the slopes faster than ill-fitted gear. Whether you’re renting gear or bringing your own, make sure you’ve got all the right stuff. The full-service rental department at Cataloochee offers over 4,000 sets of ski equipment plus a boot drying system to keep your feet warm. Get everything you need to hit the slopes, including skis, boots, and poles. And if you need any special outer gear – like bib overalls or waterproof jackets – you can rent those too, either at the resort or at a ski shop in Maggie Valley.

    Of course, if you already have your own gear, you’re all set. Here’s a quick checklist, though, so you don’t forget anything: warm layers like long johns or turtlenecks, sweaters, a hat or headband, waterproof gloves, sunglasses or goggles, a face mask, and a waterproof jacket or bibs. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen. It may be winter, but the sun reflecting off the snow can give you a mean goggle-shaped burn. Trust us, nobody wants that.

  4. Check out the Extras

    Before you hit the slopes, it’s a good idea to check out the mountain trails and local snow conditions. Cataloochee Ski Area keeps you up to date on weather and snow conditions at or visit their webcams page to see live feed from the slopes.

    We know that skiing in Maggie Valley is the main reason you’re here, but there are a lot of greatwinter activities to keep you busy when you’re not on your skis. Channel your inner kid and enjoy the freedom of snow tubing instead. Try your hand at snowboarding and shred your way down the same slopes as Waynesville, NC native and X Games gold medalist, Zeb Powell. Take a winter hike and marvel at the glittering panoramic views from some of Haywood County’s peaks that reach over 6,000 feet. Fill your bellies with down home cooking at a local Maggie Valley restaurant. Or just grab a hot toddy and snuggle up beside a crackling fire. If you’re planning on hanging around for more than a day, be sure to add in some non-skiing winter activities so you get an authentic Maggie Valley experience.

  5. Stay Nearby

    Don’t waste your time shuttling back and forth to the mountain. To get the most out of skiing in Maggie Valley, stay close to the action. Just minutes from Cataloochee Ski Area, the Meadowlark Motel is happy to be your home away from home. Our Appalachian chic décor and retro motor court vibe deliver a cozy winter escape where you can rest and relax after an invigorating day on the slopes.

    Nestled in a serene mountain setting beside the beautiful Jonathan Creek, you can choose from 38 cabins, guest rooms, and cottages with amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi and a continental breakfast. And this 2020/2021 ski season, we’re offering incredible deals:

    • Stay Friday & Saturday and earn a $50 gift card to Cataloochee.
    • Stay 3 nights for the price of 2 plus receive a $25 gift card to be used at Cataloochee on Monday thru Saturday.
    • Enter our Giveaway to win one seasonal weekday pass to Cataloochee Ski Area valued at $360.

    What are you waiting for? Book a stay at our motel in Maggie Valley, NC, for a comfortable, inviting and affordable Great Smoky Mountain ski vacation today!

    Directions to Cataloochee Ski Resort from Meadowlark Motel

    Cataloochee Ski Area is located four miles off U.S. 19 above beautiful Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

    NOTICE TO OUR GUESTS…please do not use your GPS or IPhone Map app to bring you to the ski area and DO NOT use any mapping that includes the words Scenic View Dr. This is incorrect and a mapping error that takes you up a dead end private road.

    To get to the ski area, come through the town of Maggie Valley turn onto Fie Top Road (at Ghost Town in the Sky and across from Tube World) and continue up that road for 3 miles and then 1 mile across on Ski Lodge Road to the ski area. Do not turn off of Fie Top Road onto any other road other than Ski Lodge Road. Also, Tube World is located at the base of the mountain in the town of Maggie Valley and not at the ski area. They are situated on Soco Road across from Ghost Town.