As a real estate broker, Donald Mihalik has reimagined the entire sales process, working tirelessly to pair potential customers with properties. He values his client’s needs and lifestyles to find that perfect match. It’s a profession he takes seriously, but it isn’t his only purpose either. Donald Mihalik is a regular volunteer and wildlife conversationist. Juggling all of these responsibilities can make anyone work up a sweat.
That’s why, when Donald Mihalik does take a break, he’s looking for something cool. Literally. As an avid skier, he is always searching for an excuse to hit the slopes. But that’s not always easy for the Lakewood Ranch, FL, resident. After all, the area is known for endless sunshine and sandy beaches, not powdery slopes. Luckily, he doesn’t have to travel far to find a hillside worth carving up.
As its name implies, Cloudmont Ski & Golf Resort offers a wide range of year-round activities. However, once the overnight temperatures drop below freezing, the real fun can begin. Since 1970, skiing has been the 800-acre resort’s main attraction. It’s an ideal destination for families hoping to tip their toes in the snow on beginner-to-intermediate slopes. Less than nine hours from Lakewood Ranch, Cloudmont Ski & Golf Resort is a short drive for Florida residents. Or, you can fly into Chattanooga and cut the drive to under an hour.
North Carolina is littered with ski resorts. Located in the state’s High County, Beech Mountain Resort is a hidden gem. Often overlooked by the area’s larger slopes, this destination combines picturesque peaks with a low-key atmosphere. Here, guests can enjoy freestyle terrain or even snow tubing at one of its 15 scenic trails. Although group instruction and private lessons are available, the resort’s sky-high eatery and quaint lodging may be the true standouts. And it only takes approximately 12 hours to reach this relaxing spot.
Also nestled in North Carolina, the Appalachian Ski Resort is one of the most affordable, family-friendly options in the area. In fact, it’s routinely rated as one of the best places for kids to learn how to ski. That’s because the southern portions of this mountain range are much closer and cheaper when compared to other areas. However, despite being on the smaller side, there are still plenty of options for more advanced skiers. Appalachian Ski Resort is home to the French-Swiss Ski College, which has offered group and individual instruction to rookies, novices, and professionals alike.
Extend your experience even further with a trip to West Virginia. Although it is over 14 hours from Lakewood Ranch, Snowshoe Mountain Resort is worth the drive. This five-star locale checks all the boxes. While the entire resort spans a whooping 11,000 acres, the numbers go much deeper. It includes 257 acres of skiable terrain, over 60 trails, and more than 1,500 vertical feet. Snowshoe Mountain Resort is one of the most popular destinations in all of the southeast. Since it’s situated inside a national forest, hotels are spares. Yet the resort features more than 1,400 available lodging units.
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