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“Had a great time, but you have to know the tricks” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cataloochee Ski Area

Cataloochee Ski Area
1080 Ski Lodge Road, Maggie Valley, NC
828-926-0285
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Owner description: Cataloochee Ski Area, located high in the mountains of Western North Carolina is the home of “Great Skiing in the Great Smokies!” One of the first areas in the region to open each season, Cataloochee is committed to making your skiing and snowboarding experience the best it can be by utilizing one the most advanced snowmaking systems in the Southeast. With 100% snowmaking on 17 lighted slopes including the Cat Cage Terrain Park, 3 aerial lifts and 3 moving carpet lifts, and over 4,000 sets of snowsports equipment, the Cataloochee experience offers something everyone. We feature a PSIA and AASI member Ski and Snowboard School with instruction for all ages and abilities, a Children’s Learning Center featuring our Cat Trackers program for kids ages 4-12 and a variety of terrain for beginners to experts alike.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Had a great time, but you have to know the tricks”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

This was our family's first ski vacation, and I did a lot of research beforehand because we were going on a crowded holiday weekend. We arrived on Friday night and got lift tickets for the twilight session (6-10pm). Even though we spent about an hour and a half getting our rental equipment and gear, we were in good shape the next day when we showed up in the morning ready to ski. Those who arrived that morning had to wait for many hours just to get out on the slopes. If you only have one day to ski and it's a weekend or holiday, you need to get there by 7:30am to avoid the long lines. If you have flexibility, my advice is to arrive after 4:30pm for twilight skiing. The crowds thin out considerably after the day session (8:30-4:30) ends. Most of the groups leave at this time. Our best times were after 4:30 because the lift lines and slopes were less crowded. The only problem is that it can get icy at night and that makes some of the higher runs more treacherous (we learned this the hard way one evening). Our family bought 2 day tickets and then extended them one more day for $59/ea and kept our equipment for another day. Overall, we thought the staff was great and worked really hard to help make our first ski trip a great one. When my older daughter's ski jacket got wet, they put it in the dryer for her. My youngest enjoyed the "Cat Trackers" program, lessons, a snack and a dry place to hang out when she got cold. The instructors there were great. The adults and older kids received (group) lessons too, a must for any beginner. We really enjoyed all of the instructors- they gave us specific feedback and helped us with the basics we needed to ski with confidence. By the end of the weekend, we had completed all of the green runs and two of the blue ones! We would definitely recommend the "Cat" for beginners, but you have to plan accordingly, or you'll spend most of your time in frustration, waiting in long lines, instead of skiing.

Visited February 2013
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English first
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Avoid this place!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

Arrived at 9:30am. Waited in line until 11:30pm to get my lift ticket. Waited in another line until 12:30pm to get boots. Waited in a third until till 1:30pm to get skis. Hence, I waited a total of 4 hours till I received my equipment... then I had to wait in another line (lift line) for 45 minutes to get up the mountain. In total, 4.75 hours before skiing. You be the judge...

Also, this place isn't very safe. There are a ton of people with absolutely no experience and even less common sense. I saw people hitting other people in the head with their ski poles more times than I can count my fingers and toes. Furthermore, certain trails were improperly marked. One of the closed trails didn't have a rope placed across the entire entrance of the trail; Instead the rope was only halfway across, suggesting that only one side the the trail was closed. My friend, an expert skier, went down it and had his pass taken away for going 'off trail', even though the boundary wasn't properly and unambiguously marked. Furthermore, my friend was easily one of the safest and most thoughtful skiers at the place; unlike the many who kept hitting other people with poles, my friend never did anything that would put another skier at risk. My friend was even doing Cataloochee a service by collecting abandoned ski poles that he had found while skiing down the mountain and returning them to the base. In total, he must have brought down at least 30 ski poles that were lost in these 'closed trails'.

Long story short, this place is poorly run and treats its guests like cattle.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vero Beach, Florida
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“First time skiing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

In 70 years I had never skied and my first was at the "Cat". These people know how to show hospitality and took care of our every need, I was with a group. The whole check in process was smooth from renting clothing, boots, skis/snowboards and lift tickets. Unfortunately, we had two of our members hurt, not seriously, so we had to use the triage another great experience. The instructors were also great as a first time skier they were very patient and assisted me in transitioning from the bunny hill to a nice beginner slope. By the end of my 7th run I felt great and comfortable. Don't know if I will ever ski again but I had a great experience.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Carolina Smoky Mountains, North Carolina
Top Contributor
310 reviews 310 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
171 helpful votes 171 helpful votes
“Could be great but service was horrible”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013 via mobile

Staff had no idea of what was going on. No attention to cstomers. Took orders but did not listen so ghings came out unlike what was ordered. No drink refills unless you good get severs attention.

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CataloocheeSkiArea, Public Relations Manager at Cataloochee Ski Area, responded to this review, February 18, 2013
We appreciate your comments and your taking the time to express your concerns, but we are confused as to where at our location you are speaking about. Please contact us, via email at ski@cataloochee.com or by phone, 800-768-0285, ext. 302, for us to hear more about your visit. Thank you.
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Gainesville, Florida, USA
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Awful experience”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013 via mobile

Well, coming from Florida any small amount of snow gets me excited, but that's about all I liked at cataloochee. After an 8 hour drive with high expectations it was all down hill. I knew it was a big mistake starting with the 1 hour wait to buy lift ticket, the 45 min wait to get ski boots, the 45 min wait to get skis, and the 45 min wait to learn how to put the skis on to start the snow lesion. We started at 8 am and finally began skiing at 1:45 pm. Hooray, we are skiing- oh no, another 45 min wait to get onto the lift. By the end of the day, 5 pm, we had made it down the slopes only twice because of the crowds. I thought this would be a great first experience, smaller mountain and a little less expensive than Colorado, but it was the worst. This resort needs a makeover!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CataloocheeSkiArea, Public Relations Manager at Cataloochee Ski Area, responded to this review, February 18, 2013
We appreciate your comments regarding your recent visit to Cataloochee. We are sorry your experience here was not a good one but getting feedback from our customers is important to us for through it we are better able to improve our services. We ask that you please contact us, either via email at ski@cataloochee.com or by phone, 800-768-0285, ext. 302, for us to hear more about your visit and concerns. Thank you again for your time.
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