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Cataloochee Ski Area
The Southeast may not offer the never-ending runs of the Rockies, but when you need your fix, snow is snow, and Cataloochee’s 740-feet of vertical drop and 5,400-foot summit elevation rank it among the region’s best. Five lifts service the mountain, including the Omigosh lift to the summit and access to a wide beginner-friendly area aptly dubbed “Easy Way.” For late risers, a Twilight pass grants access from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. (also allowing time to hit the tubing park in the morning). Nearby Maggie Valley offers ample dining and lodging, plus easy access to the national park. Be sure to detour to Cataloochee Valley in the morning or evening to spot a glimpse of the elk herd that was successfully reintroduced into the park in 2001.