East Coast vs out West Skiing


Living in South Carolina, most of us have taken weekend ski trips to Sugar or Beech Mountain in North Carolina. However, skiing out West is an entirely different experience. I have experienced both east coast and west skiing numerous times. Therefore, I am the most qualified reporter to analyze and compare the differences between these skiing experiences. In this article, I will compare the people, runs, culture, weather, and overall experience between these ski spots. 

The people

There is a big difference between the crowds that partake in skiing out West and East Coast skiing. Your average East Coast skier is usually there just for fun and on a big group trip with their friends. If you are looking for a low cost, short commute, and an overall fun time, East Coast is for you. The attire for an East Coast skier is normally ski pants, rented skis, a sweatshirt, and minimal layers. Because the temperature is barely below 50 degrees, there is no need for thermal layers. However, I personally like to layer up while skiing on the East Coast in fear of falling on straight ice. Sometimes on these slopes, you can catch a brave skier in only a bathing suit. In fact, on my ski trip to Sugar Mountain in the 7th grade, me and my friends wore only bikinis down multiple runs. This is exactly the appeal about East Coast skiing: fun, relaxed, low stakes skiing. Sugar Mountain in North Carolina

One comment about East Coast skiers is that they are scrappy and talented. Due to high temperatures and low altitude, there is little to no natural snow, meaning the runs consist of ice and a sorry excuse for fresh powder. This makes the runs exceptionally difficult. You are constantly hearing the harsh and dragging scratch of your skis attempt to turn on the ice and the distant cries of the unfortunate souls who have shattered their tailbone on the cement-like “snow”. Because of these harsh conditions, if you are still good at skiing on the East Coast, I have major respect. These are no bunny slopes. 

Now for the West skiers. Your average skier in the West is either on a spring break ski trip with their family or a pro who lives on the mountain. Either way, these skiers are no novices. You will catch them dripped out in Spyder, North Face, and Perfect Moment. You will most likely get on a lift with them just to find out they are about to hike up to the chutes to shred a triple black. Beyond their ability to show you up in any run, these pros are the most humble and sincere skiers you will ever encounter. Every single time I have asked one of these pros a question about where to ski or recommendations, I have been pleasantly surprised by an eagerness to help and share their knowledge. 

Along with humble pros, there is a different type of West skier that is not as pleasant. These are the affluent couples who ski just to say they ski out West and think every day is a fashion show. No doubt they will be stunting in their Apres Ski wear consisting of Love Shack Fancy, Moncler, and Canada Goose.These West skiers are either insanely good or absolutely terrible; there is no in between. I have seen a woman dressed in a full Moncler ski suit pizza all the way down a green and a child decked out in all Love Shack Fancy absolutely shred a black tree run. Hence, the affluent and flashy West skiers are either the best or worst people you will ever meet. No matter their ski skills, they will never fail to take ski shots and party apres ski right at 3 o’clock. 


Sugar Mountain in North Carolina
Deer Valley in Park City, Utah

The Runs

The ski runs that you complete are drastically different depending if you are skiing on the East Coast or out West. In the East, the runs are so icy and the only difference between a green and a black is the steepness. There are no moguls in the East. Hence, I was in a rude awakening when I began skiing out West. Along with the ice, the massive crowds of beginners creates a natural challenge of avoiding them. Meanwhile, out West, there is only 3 other skiers on the same run as you at a time. Since the mountains are bigger and taller out West, the runs are relatively more challenging. For instance, a black diamond ski run might be harder than a black diamond on the East Coast. Overall, the physical runs out West are usually more difficult than the East coast. However, the inexperiences people and the large crowds on the East Coast offer a different challenge. 


The WeatherTemperatures swing: East feels warmth as cooler air targets western US

Along with the runs and the people, the climate on the East Coast and out West are completely polar. Mountains on the West Coast tend to be much higher in elevation. Western mountains often soar over 5,000 feet; the tallest mountain is Breckenridge in Colorado at around 12,840 feet. Meanwhile, Eastern mountains tend to be between 1,000 and 4,000 feet, with the tallest mountain being Beech Mountain in North Carolina at 5,506 feet. Therefore, the climate is much cooler and drier out West. When I went skiing out west my skin, hair, and eyes got extremely dry. I was constantly drinking water and using lotion. Therefore, a pro about skiing on the East Coast is that you won’t be fighting the dryness throughout your trip.



Overall, there are many pros and cons about both skiing on the East Coast and out West. The people on the East Coast are much more relaxed; however, they are usually beginners and will become difficult obstacles. So, if you are looking for a laid-back, low stakes ski trip for you and your friends, skiing on the East Coast is perfect for you. On the other hand, skiing out west is full of pros who live on the mountain and wealthy couples. The runs are much more fun to do because of the numerous inches of powder and the wide, steep mountains. If you are looking to focus on your form and willing to spend a little more, you should definitely try skiing out West.