SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Ober Gatlinburg opened its slopes for the first time this winter on Saturday. A “temperature inversion” and an unseasonably warm December delayed the start of their season.
Many took advantage of the winter weather conditions, which is a sight the President of Ober Gatlinburg, Kent Anders, was ecstatic to see.
“We have finally reached a long-awaited opening season day,” he said.
Anders said this is the latest he remembers them opening the slopes in at least forty years.
“We cannot tell you how excited we are to be here. Look around, if you look at this, this is about three full days of really hard work, taking advantage of every second of cold weather that we’ve had. We finally got it done and we’re open. There’s a lot of people out here having fun today.”
All four of their parking lots on Ski Mountain were full by noon on opening day. Haley Hastings said her family was one of the first cars in line before they even opened the slopes,
“We actually got up here this morning at like 9. We wanted to get the first-row parking and we knew it was going to be like packed.”
Her family came up from Chattanooga earlier this week hoping the slopes would open with the current weather conditions. They were hoping to go skiing for their son’s seventh birthday.
“So we leave tomorrow and then yesterday, they were like we’re going to open it so it’s like happy birthday! Because this is what he chose instead of presents or a birthday party or anything.”
Her two boys have tried their hand at skiing before but this was their first time snowboarding. Her youngest said his favorite part was going down the mountain really fast.
“He did great,” Hastings smiled. “He had a couple of stops but he did well.”
It was a fun day for first-timers and those who have a little more experience. Ted Sullivan said, “we were here at 8 a.m. this morning ready to go.”
Sullivan and his friend Greg Woodard traveled from Nashville just to ski at Ober.
“For the south this is fantastic,” said Woodard.
“This is as good as it gets for the south,” added Sullivan.
This was Ober’s fifth attempt to open the slopes this season. So they’re glad to see skiers and snowboarders just as excited they are. Plus, Anders said it’s a financial relief.
“This represents about 50 percent of our revenue for the entire year so it’s very important that we get this up and get it going.”
For the most up-to-date information, you can check the slope report on Ober Gatlinburg’s website obergatlinburg.com/slope-report.