Warmer weather keeps slopes closed at Ober Gatlinburg

Warmer weather keeps slopes closed at Ober Gatlinburg

Posted:
There was more green than white on the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg in early December. There was more green than white on the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg in early December.
"We would feel a lot better if it was cold right now," said Ober Gatlinburg Director of Human Resources Jerry Huskey. "We would feel a lot better if it was cold right now," said Ober Gatlinburg Director of Human Resources Jerry Huskey.
Despite the warm temperatures, Ober Gatlinburg guests can still enjoy snow tubing. Despite the warm temperatures, Ober Gatlinburg guests can still enjoy snow tubing.
"We thought it would be a little cooler, but we are glad to see the warmer temperatures, because you really can get out and do things," said guest Deane Lawrence of Virginia. "We thought it would be a little cooler, but we are glad to see the warmer temperatures, because you really can get out and do things," said guest Deane Lawrence of Virginia.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - East Tennesseans may be enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, but with the official start of winter a little more than two weeks away, businesses like Ober Gatlinburg are worried.

With temperatures in the 70s in some places, it has not felt like the first week of December outside for many.

And that's bad news for businesses like Ober Gatlinburg, who depend on cooler weather. This year's season is looking like it could be a repeat of last year's extremely mild winter.

In order for the snow-making machines to start producing large amounts of snow at Ober Gatlinburg, the temperature has to drop to 28 degrees, so the ski slopes are closed, for now.

"We would feel a lot better if it was cold right now," said Ober Gatlinburg Director of Human Resources Jerry Huskey. "This is not atypical for this time of the year. It can be warm, but temperatures can change in a moment's notice."

Despite the warm temperatures, Ober Gatlinburg guests can still enjoy snow tubing.

"We were kind of wondering if it was going to be open, but we kept looking online and it said they would be," said Virginia guest Deane Lawrence.

New machines allow special snow to be made in weather up to 70 degrees. Unfortunately for Ober Gatlinburg, they do not have enough of the machines to make snow for the entire set of ski runs.

"The acreage between the slopes and the tubing is a great difference," said Huskey. "It's just not practical to make that snow with the equipment we have."

Even though it would be better for the slopes to be open, guests at Ober Gatlinburg Monday did not seem to mind the warmer weather.

"We thought it would be a little cooler, but we are glad to see the warmer temperatures, because you really can get out and do things," said Lawrence.

"I love it," said Kentucky visitor Theresa Winsor.

Ober Gatlinburg officials say they are not too worried about this warm weather at this point because ski season does not jump into high gear until late December.

To keep track of snowmaking at Ober Gatlinburg, just check their website for daily updates.

Ober Gatlinburg is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

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