In early February, I drove from Atlanta to visit Beech Mountain, North Carolina and the Beech Mountain Ski Resort with Zach and six of our friends. Based on my experience, I’m going to give you a few tips for food, lodging, your first time on the slopes, and how to dress accordingly. Spoiler alert, we had an incredible trip.
There are plenty of places to stay and several options to choose from : Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, property rentals, and so on. We used Beech Mountain Realty and Rentals and stayed in a dog-friendly house a little over a mile away from the resort. Regardless of how you book, if your main itinerary is to ski/snowboard, I would recommend you stay in a place that has walkable slope access. Our friends did this and we ended up using their house as home base because it was ridiculously easy to get to and from the slopes. In total, it was about a 45 second walk from the slopes to their house. This allowed for everyone in our group the ability to stop for a break, eat, etc on their own time without having to gather the whole crew to get in a car and coordinate leaving and coming back. If you take one piece of advice let it be this: stay slope side, especially if you’re with a group.
The mountain offers a decent amount of food options including pizza, Mexican food, BBQ, and so on. We did a mixture of eating out and cooking at the house, but I'll be honest I never found a breakfast place that I loved. I opted for eating at the house in the morning and grabbing straight espresso at the coffee shop located in the resort village - I think it was called Beech Mountain Cafe. If you need that caffeine kick, this is the only place that opens early and serves espresso drinks that I could find. Heads up though, they only make hot drinks (they literally don't have an ice machine) so if you're a year-round iced coffee lover you'll need to plan accordingly. However, if you are a late riser, I saw that Brick Oven Pizzeria has a coffee shop inside, but I asked and they don't open until 11am. Can you tell that finding strong coffee was very important to me?
Alright, on to lunch. So, if you're like me and want as much time on the slopes as possible, there is a cafeteria style place called The Lodge located at the resort that offers food and alcoholic beverages. It's your basic chicken tenders, fries, chips, burgers and such - but the convenience of just walking in with your big ole boots, covered in snow, and safely leaving your board/skis outside made it worth it. Also worth noting was Valle De Bravo which is a short drive from the resort and is where we stopped and ate as we left to go home. It was by far the most reasonably priced place so if you're on a budget (or not) and want some good Mexican food definitely hit this place up.
We only tried two places for dinner and I recommend them both. Brick Oven Pizzeria is a cool and casual little place that also has the previously mentioned coffee bar inside and a small arcade geared towards kids. The serving sizes are generous, the food is good, and they have PLENTY of desserts to pick from (I got a cookie the size of my face). Lastly, my favorite place of all was Beech Mountain Grille. It's considered casual upscale dining and the food is amazing. It's perfect for large groups, the service was spot on, and the menu was the most extensive that I found. These two places are only about a half mile from the resort and as I didn't do any night riding, it was nice to shower and go out to eat after a long day of snowboarding.
When it comes to alcohol there is no short supply at Beech Mountain Resort. They have a brewery in the resort village called Beech Mountain Brewing Company who put on cool events like "Girl Scout Cookie and Beer Pairing" nights and have live music. During the day you can take the ski lift to the very top and grab a drink from the 5506' Skybar, but you have to be able to ski down from the top so choose wisely.
You can rent everything from snowboards, ski gear, boots, helmets (highly recommend), bibs (which are your waterproof pants and you will want these), waterproof jackets (also highly recommended), and lockers to store your stuff.
First time on the slopes?
Besides lift tickets and gear, I HIGHLY recommend lessons at Beech Mountain Resort. They offer lessons several times a day and keep the groups small. We each got personal attention and the guy who taught us was a really good instructor. I’ve been snowboarding once before and didn’t take a lesson which resulted in a full day of falling. Believe me when I say that a GOOD lesson makes a MASSIVE difference. I went from being terrible and having no coordination to snowboarding from the very top - all in one day! Total game-changer. I still suck at getting off the lift, but hey, can't have it all.
Proper clothing is arguably one of the most important things that you need to have on the slopes. In my opinion, it can make or break your experience because if you're cold and wet you're probably not going to have the most enjoyable time.
At the very least, you need:
- waterproof bibs or pants
- a waterproof jacket
- waterproof gloves
- tall warm socks
- ski goggles
- a moisture wicking base layer
Depending on how cold it is, you'll want to add layers such as:
- a beanie or warm headband that covers your ears
- scarf, neck gaiter or balaclava
- glove liners to make your fingers even warmer
- another jacket or sweater
- leggings under your bibs
The first day I snowboarded it was 14 degrees and snowing. I wore a beanie under my helmet, goggles, an Under Armor long sleeve base layer, a lightweight insulated jacket, a waterproof snow jacket, a Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf (I forgot my Buff so opted for this and it worked great), Lululemon Fast and Free tights, waterproof snow bibs, thick knee high socks, snow boots, and waterproof gloves.
The temperature shot up by the third day and at the hottest point I was only in a casual sweater, bibs, socks, boots, helmet, and gloves. It made for quite the look. Oh, speaking of look. If you're wondering what people wear - literally anything goes. I saw people in t-shirts, crazy outfits, and even someone shirtless at one point. So dress in whatever makes you feel comfortable, but you know, keep it waterproof so you aren't soaking wet from falling in the snow.
Lastly, see the yellow ski suit in the top photo? Yeah, don't wear that. I found that places like ASOS will list items as "ski" but it's definitely all for the looks and isn't actually meant to be skied in. I would recommend sticking to trusted snow sports shops and always look for the word "waterproof." I've said it a bunch already, but trust me you don't want to be wet and cold - not worth it. Real ski jackets and pants/bibs are expensive, so if you can't afford to get your own just rent them from the resort, borrow from a friend, or buy second hand.
Tip: There is ski shop in the resort village. You can literally ski up to it, it's so close. They sell helmets, boards, goggles, skis, clothings, layers - you name it. I ended up grabbing my own helmet and an ear warmer headband.
Miscellaneous things worth noting
Although I didn't do these things so I can't elaborate on them, the resort does have ice skating and tubing at an extra cost; a terrain park if you're, you know, talented like that; and a children's nursery.
We had such a fun time that two of my friends, who were brand new to snowboarding, ended up buying their own boards! We will be back next year that’s for sure!
This trip was kindly gifted to me, but my experience and opinions are always my own. I take a lot of pride in only recommending places and products that I TRULY love.