Ober Gatlinburg prepping for opening day

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Sevier County (WVLT) After December welcomed warm temperatures, snow ski fans are now welcoming much colder temperatures as Ober Gatlinburg prepares to open the season on Wednesday.

As Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb finds out, there's more to ski this year than opening days of year's past.

Chris Harper, a tourist says, "it's beautiful. There ain't nothing else quite like it if you ask me."

A lot has changed at Ober Gatlinburg since just this past Saturday.

Thomas Diriwaechter, with Ober Gatlinburg says, "it was 70 degrees at one point and of coarse nobody knew if the cold weather is moving in and yes, when."

Then Sunday night with an overnight low of 23 changed everything.

Diriwaechter says, "we ran the snow guns from Sunday night all the way till this morning at 11 o'clock."

With fifteen to thirty inches on the ground, people are stopping by to see something they haven't seen in close to a year.

Harper continues, "I love snow. Actually, I was in the Marines so I haven't really seen a lot of snow in the last five years so I was getting pretty excited about it."

Don Lee, a tourist says, "we just wanted to come up on top and see it. Of coarse, we don't get to see much snow in Georgia and wanted to see the snow."

But Ober Gatlinburg's director of snow sports took the opportunity to test out the slopes, for the first time this year.

"Snow conditions are excellent. I skied Mogul Ridge this morning. It was wonderful. It was like skiing powder in Colorado."

Thanks to new snow making equipment, Diriwaechter says when skiers begin arriving at noon Wednesday they'll find more than just the typical three slopes open.

"The result is we can open five slopes at the same time. That never happened before."

While the season is opening about eight to ten days late, it's better late than after Christmas.

"It's not too bad. As long as we get open for the Christmas holidays we are happy."

Ober Gatlinburg will open Wednesday and Thursday at Noon, closing at 10 pm.

Friday and Saturday they will be open from 9 am until 10 pm.

And then on Sunday, Ober will be open from 9 am until 7 pm.


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