Call me crazy, but winter in the mountains is one of my absolute favorite things. It’s cold, windy, gets dark early, its snowy, icy, rainy, and all the rest — but I love it! Mostly because it is just beautiful. A frosty morning walk around ETSU, my college campus, with coffee in hand and snowcapped mountains in the distance is one of the most peaceful things on this earth.
Believe it or not, there are tons of great winter activities in the mountains. It is a shame that so many are scared off by the cold and stay inside missing the whole season. If that describes you — here is my guide to what to do for the remainder of in winter in Northeast Tennessee.
Skiing is my all-time favorite sport. I absolutely love it, and I only get to do it once or twice a year. I may be biased because it is also one of the only sports that I am good at, but that is beside the point. I live in Johnson City, Tennessee, and while there are no ski resorts in my city, drive about an hour to the north or the east, and there are a plethora to choose from.
My favorite southeastern ski destination is Sugar Mountain Resort in Boone, North Carolina. There are plenty of different slopes for skiers of all levels. Sugar Mountain offers both day and night lift tickets, and they are very reasonably priced. Boone, known as the “ski capital of the South,” is also home to Beech Mountain Resort and Appalachian Ski Mountain. About an hour and a half in the other direction from Johnson City, one will find the ski resorts of West Virginia. I have never been to any of these myself, but I know many friends who frequent Snowshoe Mountain and Winterplace Resort. I have never been out West to Colorado or Utah, but I am planning a trip to ski out there soon! Aside from those in my region, my favorite ski resort that I have been to is Hunter Mountain in New York, about two hours upstate from New York City.
Bear with me. It’s not as awful as it sounds. Hiking in the winter is one of the most peaceful things I’ve ever experienced. The trails are empty, in the higher elevations you can almost always expect some freshly fallen snow, and there are such things as YETI cups for a reason! Pack up all the coffee and hot chocolate that you need, and get out there for an adventure next time it snows! Roan Mountain is absolutely beautiful, and Buffalo Mountain, which is within Johnson City limits, is easily accessible when the roads get rough.
You can do it. Leave the coziness of your bed and your beloved Netflix account. Layer up and get outside this winter! Experience nature in all of its elements, because even the harsh ones are beautiful.