Snowshoe Mountain, WV

The Most Challenging Ski Areas in the Southeast

The Southeast US is not exactly a hotbed for skiing activity. For a region of the US that has many states rarely experience winter seasons and is generally not known for its mountains, it has more than you think.

Usually we’d show the top 25 difficult skiing areas here, but there happens to be only 16 ski resorts in the whole Southeast US. North Carolina has the most ski resorts in the region, with West Virginia and Virginia tied for second place.

Explaining our Criteria

Here at Parks & Trips, we created a proprietary Difficulty Score thats generated by combining a number of metrics for each resort. Primarily, we look at the count of easy-intermediate-expert slopes by acreage and the maximum vertical drop of the overall resort.

Our algorithm compares each resort’s metrics with all others in North America, then gives each a Difficulty Score, which we use to rank them accordingly. Resorts with a lower score are easier than those with a higher one. However, a high score does not mean that the resort does not have any easy slopes, or vice versa. This is just an overall score given to the resort based on all its metrics grouped together.

Canaan Valley: The Most Difficult Ski Resort in the Southeast

Canaan Valley

Canaan Valley can be beginner-friendly, but it depends on the ski trails you ride. While it ranks in the lower half of all North American ski areas in terms of overall difficulty, it still has 81% of its trails rated at or above intermediate ski level.

Mountain Stats

Summit:  4,280′
Vertical:  850′
Base:  3,430′

Terrain Stats

Trails:  47
Lifts:  4
Acres:  91

Trail Breakdown

Beginner:  19%
Intermediate:  36%
Expert:  45%

More Information…

Canaan Valley, WV wins the prize as the most challenging ski resort in the Southeast US. While it doesn’t have the highest vertical drop or highest summit, it has the most expert-level trails of any in the list.

Wintergreen and Massanutten, both in Virginia, come in second and third place, respectfully. Both have over a 1,000 ft vertical drop, and around 40% of their acreage dedicated to expert-level runs.

Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia rounds out the top four, mainly due to the fact that it has the steepest vertical of any resort in the list. What drops its difficulty score is the fact that only about a quarter of its trails are rate “advanced”.

Top Most Challenging Southeast Ski Resorts

RankResortSummit Elev.Vertical DropExpert TrailsDifficulty ScoreTM
#1Canaan Valley (WV)4,280 ft850 ft45%47.0%
#2Wintergreen (VA)3,515 ft1,003 ft42%46.3%
#3Massanutten (VA)2,925 ft1,175 ft35%43.5%
#4Snowshoe Mountain (WV)4,848 ft1,500 ft27%40.9%
#5Beech Mountain (NC)5,505 ft830 ft30%38.0%
#6The Homestead (VA)3,200 ft700 ft33%36.8%
#7Timberline Four Seasons (WV)4,268 ft1,000 ft32%35.2%
#8Ober Gatlinburg (TN)3,300 ft600 ft20%34.3%
#9Appalachian (NC)4,000 ft365 ft34%34.1%
#10Sugar Mountain (NC)5,300 ft1,200 ft14%33.3%
#11Winterplace (WV)3,600 ft603 ft23%31.1%
#12Wolf Ridge (NC)4,700 ft700 ft13%30.7%
#13Cataloochee (NC)5,400 ft740 ft17%28.3%
#14Bryce Resort (VA)1,750 ft500 ft12%25.4%
#15Sapphire Valley (NC)3,450 ft250 ft0%15.0%
#16Cloudmont (AL)1,800 ft150 ft0%14.0%