First Trax
top rated ski resorts in the southeast & mid-atlantic

Sunday should be an awesome day to be on the snow if you are able to be visiting one of the open ski areas around the region.  CHECK THE SNOW REPORT for all of those details.

Since it’s a somewhat SLOW news day regarding the number of slopes, trails AND resorts that are open today – we thought that we’d provide you with something (hopefully) interesting and informative for our visitors.

Today’s story could be titled, “TO REVIEW OR NOT REVIEW…IT IS NO LONGER A QUESTION…”

We’re living in the days where everybody has an opinion and willing to share it on the internet. According to Google, when people start a Google search for ANY ski resort – ONE of the first suggestions that Google recommends (which is BASED on visitor trends) is “reviews”. In other words, start doing a Google search for “Wisp Resort” and one of the first Google recommendations for popular searches adds the words “REVIEWS”.

Tens of thousands of searches are performed daily for “XYZ Resort reviews”. Simply plug in your favorite ski hill and you’ll find TripAdvisor, Yelp, OnTheSnow, and even Google’s own reviews most often BEFORE you’ll see the ski resort website itself.

In my 18 years of posting content on SkiNC and SkiSoutheast I’ve done a ton of “reviewing” or sharing my own opinions about each of the resorts and some of the resorts haven’t always liked it. Fast forward to today and resorts have to deal with hundreds and thousands of critiques being posted daily. Social media has played a huge role in the growth of online reviews and ratings…but suffice to say that savvy resort marketing staffs have had to not only take notice of these – but actually respond to and even embrace them.


This feature is not intended to be negative, so I’ll keep it from being so. However there is no question that some of the Southeastern and mid-Atlantic ski resort management and/or marketing staffers not only don’t pay attention to negative online reviews – some could care less.

I’ve routinely written that SNOW trumps the economy and I think the same can be said – that SNOW trumps negative reviews. How many of you search for lodging online? We ALL do, right? When you see a particularly strong, negative review – what do you do? You look elsewhere, right?

Not so much with negative reviews of ski resorts. At least the data doesn’t support that anyway.

That said, I am routinely emailed and asked about which resort is rated the best. Often inquiries come along with asking about lodging, dining, snowmobiling, instruction and others. RARELY does anyone inquire about the “service” or “customer service” but not surprisingly that is where MOST negative reviews come from.

I’ve actually spoken with resort managers about negative reviews in the past and most take the stance that most people don’t log onto those sites to say nice things…and that every resort gets bad reviews.

A-C-T-U-A-L-L-Y not so fast on that idea either. There are tons of great reviews on all of the ski areas and a few resorts just don’t have ANY negative comments. So it doesn’t hold water that these review websites are weighted towards the negative side.

With that in mind and since we get a lot of these kinds of questions, we’ve taken the time to pour over all of the major review websites and here’s the consensus opinions of thousands of YOU GUYS.

Each of the four review websites that we monitored rated resorts with a scale of:


We combined the “good and excellent” ratings and did the same for “poor and terrible”.

Tripadvisor Rates Our Ski Areas In This Order

1. Wintergreen Resort
2. Massanutten Resort
3. Canaan Valley Resort
4. Wisp Resort
5. Appalachian Ski Mountain
6. Snowshoe Mountain
7. Cataloochee Ski Area
8. Beech Mountain Resort
9. Wolf Ridge Resort
10. Timberline Resort

On the Snow Rates Them:

1. Massanutten Resort
1. Wintergreen Resort
3. Canaan Valley Resort
4. Snowshoe Mountain
5. Wisp Resort
6. Appalachian Ski Mountain
7. Timberline Resort
8. Beech Mountain Resort
9. Wolf Ridge Resort
10. Cataloochee Ski Area

Interestingly a website geared soley to the ski industry rated things very similarly to general travel websites.

** Bryce Resort actually graded high enough on both review websites to be ranked 3rd, however they literally had the lowest number of online reviews by far compared to the rest of the top ten rated ski resorts.


1. Wintergreen Resort
2. Massanutten Resort
3. Snowshoe Mountain
4. Canaan Valley Resort
5. Wisp Resort
6. Appalachian Ski Mountain
7. Beech Mountain Resort
8. Timberline Resort
9. Cataloochee Ski Area
10. Winterplace Resort

** Again, Bryce Resort AND The Homestead BOTH rated high enough to make the TOP TEN, however both resorts received too few online reviews (compared to the rest of the ski areas) for us to include them.

While compiling all of the review website ratings, it was really quite cool to see resorts such as Wintergreen Resort in Virginia and Wisp Resort in Maryland with such LOW complaint reviews. Wisp Resort received only 6.5% complaint ratings (the BEST of all resorts) and Wintergreen was second with only 8% negative reviews – while a couple at the bottom of the rankings scored 48% negative reviews.

The MOST reviews posted online was also a surprise of sorts – Ober Gatlinburg. Snowshoe was second and Sugar Mountain was 3rd and Beech Mountain was the 4th most reviewed ski resort.

We’re only showing the TOP TEN RATED ski areas in the region but it’s worth mentioning that the TOP RATED resorts each had 85%-85% GOOD-TO-EXCELLENT ratings and those that finished in the Nos 9-10 spots rated at least 62% “Good to Excellent” ratings.

We’re not going to post the rankings for those that finished in the 11-16 spots. However, one resort finished LAST on ALL FOUR review websites.


Based on our findings, we think that we can answer that with a resounding “YES”.

We don’t want to give away any “clues” as to the resort with the lowest approval ratings, but suffice to say that we can say with absolute confidence that the lowest rated ski areas are QUITE BUSY every weekend!


Bear in mind that we’ve been in the business of reviewing the Southeast and mid-Atlantic’s ski resorts for 17 seasons and in that time we think that we actually have the BEST insight as to how our resorts rank with our audience.

This ranking is totally unscientific as (unlike all of the ratings above) no calculators were used to determine them. However, it’s kind of like listening to ESPN all season long and being able to discern who all the fans and experts think has the best college football team.

With that in mind, here are our rankings, based on YOUR input over the years:

1. Snowshoe Mountain
2. Massanutten Resort
3. Canaan Valley Resort
4. Wisp Resort
5. Winterplace Resort
6. Timberline Resort
7. Beech Mountain Resort
8. The Homestead Resort
9. Bryce Resort
10. Appalachian Ski Mountain
10. Wintergreen Resort

Editor’s Note: Admittedly our own, individual, promotional and advertising campaigns are geared to push traffic to our paying member resorts. It would be somewhat expected that we’d see more traffic to those content pages and therefore influence more inquiries, comments and feedback about those resorts.

That’s about it for me today. If you want to comment – drop me an email at [email protected]

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