Ober Gatlinburg Hoping For Snow

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Gatlinburg (WVLT) - Snow -- or a lack thereof -- has really put a damper on the ski industry in the Smoky Mountains.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel spent the evening in Gatlinburg to see what people have been doing while they wait for some snow.

They won't have to wait much longer. They're making snow right now at Ober Gatlinburg. Two nights of snow-making can produce as much as a foot of the white stuff, and that means you could be hitting the slopes by the weekend.

"We were here to ski, but as you can see, the slopes are closed, there's no snow. It's been a mild winter," said Ryan Burke, who wanted to ski.

Mild winter might be an understatement. Take a look at the ski slopes in Ober Gatlinburg.

"Right now we are closed until we get to make snow again," Thomas Diriweachter from Ober Gatlinburg said.

That could happen as early as Monday night with hopes to re-open by Thursday.

"The forecast looks very positive, and it looks like we can make snow for all day long tomorrow and the following night," Diriweachter said.

In the meantime...

"I guess we're gonna head down to Pigeon Forge and go Go-Kart racing or something, check out the arcade or they got the Aquarium here in Gatlinburg," Burke said.

And local businesses are loving the extra attention.

"Pucker's is a fun, fun bar. We get a lot of people from all over the place. It's just a fun atmosphere. People come in here and have a really good time," Jennifer Kennedy from Pucker's Sports Bar and Grill said.

In fact, when the sun shines, business booms.

"When the weather is beautiful, more people get out and walk and it definitely increases our business versus when it's cold and rainy and snowy," Kennedy said.

"This feels like summer. Actually, I've never been here at a time with so little snow or no snow at all," Diriweachter said.

But if there's no snow on the mountain, there's plenty to do: Ice skating at the resort or shopping the strip in Gatlinburg.

"We're here, got a hotel room, and so we're going to spend our time, do what we can, and hopefully we can try again next year," Burke said.

Folks at Ober Gatlinburg say they haven't had a dry spell like this since the 1991/92 ski season. Ober counts on the next one to bring in the big bucks. That's Martin Luther King Junior day, one of the ski industry's biggest weekends.