Lack of snow does not mean lack of thrills

Hello skiers and riders from the South East!

Ugh…we have plenty of time until our ski poles are held by them again. There might be a subtle sting in your winter-themed subconscious knowing that the ski lifts aren’t spinning for skiing and riding. A few deep sighs of reality will help, but even then the concept of the offseason might not fully settle.

However, there’s no need to stare blankly while you wait for the snow cannons to come back on.

At Ski Southeast, we try to maintain the winter lifestyle as much as possible through reporting and stories, but alas, these kinds of events only happen for a limited time each year.

Luckily, this region is well-suited to providing alternative experiences that spark excitement and are worth sharing with someone else later. Keep in mind that the big chronicles happen in the moment, no matter when that moment might be.

To further clarify, all I’m trying to accomplish here is just to highlight a few of the things readily available out of season for the next time you’re out in the wild.

This is just a brief snippet of all the possibilities, and while some locations are highlighted below, they’re not always the only exclusive spot for this type of fun. Plus, it doesn’t matter if the events are for educational, entertainment, or exhilarating purposes, because answering the call to explore is always waiting outside your front door.

Starting from our southern terminus in North Carolina, heading south along US Route-64 not too far from the South Carolina border, we come across the small but mighty ski resort of Sapphire Valley.

While it’s true that the vertical of the ski area isn’t very high, this place is nestled between many peaks that soar sharply over 1,000 feet above the valley floor. Features visible in this stunning setting include Baldrock Mountain, Cowrock Mountain, and Laurel Knob which towers over 4,500 feet. All three of these climbs have extremely steep southwest-facing rock faces, similar to the more famous Looking Glass Rock, which is about an hour’s drive away. If you like extreme climbing this may be for you, but please always use fall protection equipment.

This part of the region is a cache of outdoor activities with a multitude of hiking trails, waterfalls, croquet, tennis, pickleball and golf courses that are complemented by cooler forecasts on hot days. summer, including high July temperatures below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Golf in particular is very abundant around Cashiers with 28 courses within a 20 mile radius, according to, and they all offer spectacular mountain views. Personally, I love raised tees for that extra yardage gain that comes with it.

Photo courtesy of Wade Hampton Golf (

Heading just over two hours northwest, you can cross Tennessee and the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, and if you plan your route on US Route 441, you’ll climb over 5,000 feet along from the TN/NC border to Newfound Gap. This is also where Clingmans Dome is located, and this particular peak towers well above the one-mile mark at 6,643 feet.

From there, it’s a short half-hour downhill to Gatlinburg, TN, where you can find a welcoming town, fantastic restaurants, and a barrage of circus-style entertainment. The ever-popular Aerial Tramway, which showcases other prominent nearby peaks such as Mount Le Conte, is a must-see.

The resort offers other amenities that keep your youth engaged, such as a maze, a manually-controlled speed Ski Mountain Coaster and what might be the ultimate way to get back down from the top… the alpine slide!

Photo courtesy of Ober Gatlinburg.

Pointing northeast now, we’ll pass some more of the highest peaks on the entire east coast until we get to Beech Mountain Station. This is where elevator #5 stops just before their 5,506 foot ascent. On the way up you may notice Grandfather Mountain in the distance slightly to your left and once you unload you can pass the high mountain facilities and take a full shot of Sugar Mountain in the foreground as well.

Be sure to soak up the views on the other side as well, as a series of longer mountain ridges appear on the right side and contain well-known hiking destinations including Buckeye Knob, Rich Mountain Bald and Snake Mountain, which is at about the same altitude. like where you would be.

Perhaps you’ve brought your disc golf setup and are about to start a challenging front nine that descends alongside the ski slopes on steeper terrain such as Upper White Lighting on hole 4. Luckily, the back-nine flattens out more as you play around the base village and parking lots.

Don’t be surprised if you find mountain bikers enjoying the terrain here too, as this place is well known for this kind of adventure that offers several rocks, well-built man-made features and plenty of trees to traverse. For those of you aged 21 and over, you can meet them during a break at the on-site brewery during normal opening hours.

Photo courtesy of Beech Mountain Resort.

If your pace of fun is more of the relaxed kind, follow Blue Ridge’s southwest-northeast orientation to Virginia, where Omni Homestead Resort’s ski slopes are secluded. You’ll end up in aptly named Bath County, and it’s no secret that there’s something in the water here.

In this destination, there are many natural geothermal hot spots, and the locals are well prepared to provide you with this hot attraction.

The Omni Hotel which is located in the village of Hot Springs, and is where you will find the most luxurious touches for these delights, including a day spa, an amenity-packed water park, the Serenity Garden pool which is heated by a spring, and an indoor swimming pool with breathtaking architecture open all year round. Not too far down US Route 220 in the village of Warm Springs is the informally named Jefferson Pools, which features two spa buildings with plenty of room. They are called the gentlemen’s pool and the ladies’ pool and it is not uncommon for random bathers to do so without swimming trunks.

Photo courtesy of Omni Homestead Resort.

After drying up and heading almost due north to the Canaan Valley, which is about 100 miles away, you have the opportunity to witness some of the coolest wonders of our earth if only you know where watch, because it is not visible at ground level. .

In a literal sense, you can become one with the Earth by visiting some of the caves in our territory, and two of the most popular within an hour of Timberline and Canaan Resorts are Seneca Caverns and Smoke Hole Caverns.

Both, like the other two trade caves in West Virginia and nine others in Virginia, are unique in their natural design and rich history. For example, the Smoke Hole spot contains several rooms that connect like a mechanical system that leads to their grandfather “Room of a Million Stalactites” which is a phenomenal display of nature at work. Not to spoil the information about their visits, but it’s also where the moonshiners settle down too and those who are older can taste a bit of history afterwards.

Photo courtesy of West Virginia Tourism.

Metaphorically speaking, these stalactites symbolically demonstrate some of our collective feelings about the offseason by clinging tightly. Memories of the past are precious, and we hope this information has been insightful and informative so you can get more out of it.

As mentioned earlier this is just a short list if the vast possibilities to do as I have not yet touched on rafting, boating, hang gliding, zip lining, camping, fishing, bedroom air, the brewery, kayaking, baseball, paddle boarding, dog walking, antiquing, art criticism, etc.

This place is meant to be explored thoroughly, and not just as a mechanism to pass the time, but as a continuation of the charge.