Winter weather boosting ski season, Gatlinburg economy

Winter weather boosting ski season, Gatlinburg economy

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All this winter snow and cold temperatures are boosting business in Gatlinburg, as well as creating one of the best ski seasons in years at Ober Gatlinburg. All this winter snow and cold temperatures are boosting business in Gatlinburg, as well as creating one of the best ski seasons in years at Ober Gatlinburg.
There's more snow on the mountain at Ober Gatlinburg then there's been in years, which is a big help to the slopes and the shops lining the sidewalks. There's more snow on the mountain at Ober Gatlinburg then there's been in years, which is a big help to the slopes and the shops lining the sidewalks.
The recent winter storms and frigid temperatures are shaping up to make a great season. The recent winter storms and frigid temperatures are shaping up to make a great season.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - All this winter snow and cold temperatures are boosting business in Gatlinburg, as well as creating one of the best ski seasons in years at Ober Gatlinburg.

Amounts of snow in Sevier County last week ranged from five inches in Pigeon Forge to nearly 16 inches in the Smoky Mountains National Park. There's still plenty of snow in Gatlinburg as of Monday. In fact, over the weekend Sevier County received about an inch of snow.

There's more snow on the mountain at Ober Gatlinburg then there's been in years, which is a big help to the slopes and the shops lining the sidewalks.

Snapping into his skis, Brian Carl is ready for runs.

"I can't remember in the last five or six years nearly as much natural snow as there's been this year," he said.

By the looks of it, he's right. The recent winter storms and frigid temperatures are shaping up to make a great season.

"Well over 60-inch base right now, and there are places I've measured well over six feet of snow," said winter sports director John Cossaboom.

The conditions make for even better news.

"One hundred percent of the mountain is open. That's the first time we've been able to do that in three years. That's 100 percent due to snow making and those days when we had single degree temperatures," added Cossaboom.

Off the mountain, the white stuff is creating a lot of green. While it's too soon to tell just how much money was spent, one thing is clear.

"We've absolutely had an uptick in our hotel bookings, restaurants, and people being in town," said Marci Claude with the Chamber of Commerce.

For out-of-towners, this snow is exactly what they were seeking.

"This is what you want when you come here. This is what you're hoping for and this is exactly what we got," said Renee Mullenix from Mobile, Ala.

Warm conditions forced Ober Gatlinburg to end their ski and snowboarding seasons early for the past two years, but that's not the case this year.

Ober opened earlier than ever this season, the weekend before Thanksgiving, which is the earliest in 29 years. Officials say they expect to stay open until late March depending on the weather.

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