DATE : December 21, 2017
Hit the Slopes At Ober Gatlinburg
The popularity of winter sports has grown tremendously over the past couple of decades, thanks in large part to world-class American skiers medaling in the Olympics as well as the surge of interest in snowboarding and similar sports. At Ober Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, winter sports are an attraction that draws couples and families to the area to enjoy the cold air, snow and the thrill of fast downhill movement.
Does Ober Gatlinburg get enough snow?
The mountains of eastern Tennessee can get up to four feet or more of natural snow during a winter season, or they might receive less than a foot. Because the snowfall rate is so variable, it would seem that skiing and other winter sports wouldn't be possible. However, Ober Gatlinburg is experienced in making snow when the temperatures are cold enough but the precipitation isn't present.
Snow making can occur when temperatures are just below freezing for several hours in a row, primarily at night beginning in early to mid December. A fine mist of water blown from a special machine turns to snow before it hits the ground, providing the coating needed. Snow can typically be made into March. Snow tubing trails, which require less coverage than ski trails, can be put into use even when the temperature is slightly above freezing.
Snow skiing and snowboarding
When it's cold enough to make snow or to take advantage of the natural snow Mother Nature provides, the Ober Gatlinburg season begins, generally between early and mid December. Skiing continues until weather conditions no longer allow snow to be made effectively. Ober Gatlinburg Skiing is open to adults, teens and children as young as age six. Children five years old and younger can take advantage of the slopes, but must be accompanied by an adult. The equipment skiers and snowboarders bring to the mountain must be approved by the staff before it can be used If you'd like to ski but don't have your own equipment, rentals are available.
If you've never skied or snowboarded before, an introductory lesson is mandatory. Even skiers and snowboarders with some experience can benefit from a refresher from experienced teachers. Ober Gatlinburg Skiing instructors put the emphasis on safety and fun when teaching the basics of downhill skiing and snowboarding. To make the skiing experience more enjoyable and prevent injuries, the skills of gliding, turning, slowing down and stopping are highlighted.
OGFT Park (Ober Gatlinburg Freestyle Terrain)
The explosive growth of freestyle terrain skiing and snowboarding hasn't been ignored by Ober Gatlinburg. Understanding that boarders and skiers alike enjoy challenging themselves by doing acrobatic tricks and jumps, the park opened a Freestyle Terrain Park more than five years ago. In particular, the freestyle terrain park features a number of jibs that let skiers and boarders ride or jump over obstacles that aren't covered with snow. Created and maintained by experienced skiers and boarders, the Terrain Park focuses on a fun and creative outlet that's also safe.
Snow tubing, which opens in the middle of November and runs through the beginning of April, offers daily tubing opportunities with 90-minute sessions. Riders don't have to climb the hill after each run, but instead are able to take a "Magic Carpet" escalator to the top of the snow tubing hill. Anyone the age of six or older and at least 42 inches tall can enjoy a thrilling slide down the snow tubing hill by themselves. Children three to five years old can ride with an adult. Ober Gatlinburg provides the tubes. Because snow tubing is so popular, tickets for specific sessions often sell out quickly, so you'll need to plan ahead.
Gliding over the ice on skates on a frigid winter day is a childhood dream that lasts into adulthood. At Ober Gatlinburg, ice skating dreams can be fulfilled all year long. Not just a winter sport, ice skating can be enjoyed in an indoor skating rink in the enclosed Ober Gatlinburg Mall. Skates are provided as part of the admission price, and sessions run three hours.
Ski Mountain Coaster
Although it isn't dependent on snow, the Snow Mountain Coaster snuggled next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides an exciting ride even when there's snow off the ground. The coaster drops about 3,700 feet, reaching speeds of nearly 25 miles per hour. A ride of about five and a half minutes is available any season of the year. Riders can choose to ride alone or with a friend.
Ober Gatlinburg Season Pass
If you're interested in taking advantage of Ober Gatlinburg Skiing or other winter sports on a regular basis, a season pass may be the best choice. A season pass not only offers unlimited access to the ski slopes any day that Ober Gatlinburg is open. It also provides access to the ski lifts that serve the slopes as well as the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. A parking permit is included in the price of the season pass.
You don't have to leave the Southeast to participate in winter sports. Tennessee offers families, including younger children and teens, plenty of exciting activities at Ober Gatlinburg that they can enjoy together. Make plans to make memories together during a day, a weekend or a week at Ober Gatlinburg. Reserve your stay today at The Bearskin Lodge, within walking distance to Ober.