GATLINBURG (WATE) - Christmas is just two days away, and a lot of people have traveled to East Tennessee for their winter vacations.
Many made it just in time for opening day of ski season Sunday at Ober Gatlinburg.
Last year, Ober was forced to close early due to warm weather.
After that disappointing season, skiers were more than ready to hit the slopes.
Ski season has officially begun, but this year's opening day still came a few weeks late.
Newbies and experts alike were slipping and sliding, and sometimes falling, on the fresh snow lining the slopes.
Frigid weather the last few nights allowed Ober to whip up some fresh powder.
"They expect to see snow, so we're happy to be able to provide that for them. With the amount of snow making equipment that we've got, we were able to make the most of the opportunity and get three slopes open for today," said Ober Gatlinburg Winter Sports Director John Cossaboom.
Warmer weather at the start of December pushed back opening day.
"We normally average an opening around the 10th of December so obviously we're a few weeks behind that but any day we open before Christmas is always a good thing," said Cossaboom.
Visitors we talked to agree.
Ben Brannon and his family traveled to Gatlinburg from Alabama for winter break.
"John Thaxton wanted to play in the snow and my other son Taylor is out skiing with his mom. Just to enjoy the winter because we don't see much snow in Alabama," said Brannon.
They were afraid their hopes of skiing were dashed earlier this week when they heard Ober still wasn't open, but the forecast finally got in the Christmas spirit.
"They were real excited that they were going to be able to be open and get to do that. We thought we were gonna miss out on it but we made it," said Brannon.
Locals are glad to see Ober back open for business as well.
"Oh yeah, we come here every winter. We wanted to beat the crowd and get as many runs in as possible before it got too busy," said Andrew Irby of Powell.
And Sunday's comfortable weather made the day even better.
"Actually had to make a few trips to the car to take our jackets back," said Irby.
Sunday marks the start of Ober's 50th ski season.
They're pleased with the turnout.
"1200 to 1500 people between our two sessions today and that'll be a good opening day for us," said Cossaboom.
Ober is open on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Christmas Day from Noon until 10 p.m.