Ski Season Begins

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Gatlinburg, Sevier County (WVLT) - Last week's cold weather provided great snow making conditions at Ober Gatlinburg and a great start to the new snow skiing season.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb went back on top of the mountain today to find more anxious people waiting to hit the slopes.

"I love winter sports. I love everything from sledding to skiing, snowboarding," says Tyler Williams.

A lot of excited people as they see snow for the first time in nine months and it showed this weekend when Ober Gatlinburg opened.

"We had a pretty good turnout. We probably had five to six hundred people come in on the first day," says Thomas Diriwaechter, Director of Snow Sports.

More than 100,000 people will be hitting the slopes here at Ober Gatlinburg this winter and needless to say some of them will be a little bit rusty.

"I've got up there and twice I think so far I just went out from under me. I'm rusty but I'll get it back," Williams says.

But the slopes also see a lot of new beginners anxious to give it a try knowing they're not perfect but looking for fun knowing they might fall down.

"More than likely I will but my cousin will pick me back up," Breauna Marshall, a first time skier.

Some people see skiing as holy fun.

"Is this a religious event for you?" McLamb says Bill Black, Director of the Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.

"Yes it is," says Black.

For 25 years, Pastor Black has been holding Sunday services on the slopes as a way to bring God along for the ride.

"While folks have that high energy going if you can get them to realize it's part of God's blessings in life it becomes even more fun," he says.

Because of last weeks excellent snow making conditions, Ober officials hope to cruise through the expected warm up this week and say as soon as they get a two to three day period where snow can be made then they plan to open up two more slopes.


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