In a release sent on Wednesday, Ober shared that it was purchased by a “local group” led by the families of Sevier County natives Joe Baker, Cory Cottongim, and Chuck Edwards. Baker founded the Ole Smoky Distillery in 2010 and Yee-Haw Brewing in 2016.
“Gatlinburg is our home,” said Baker. “The vision for Ober Gatlinburg that was laid out by its founder, Claude Anders, is inspirational. He saw that the greatest views of the Smokies exist up there, high above town, and made it someplace special. His sons have carried on his legacy, and we’re looking forward to celebrating their heritage and continuing their vision.”
Ober Gatlinburg is the only ski area in Tennessee and was first opened in 1962 as the Gatlinburg Ski Resort. In 1973, Claude Anders built the Gatlinburg Ariel Tramway. Later the Anders family took over the ski area lease officially forming Ober Gatlinburg in 1977.
New attractions added since then include the Alpine Slide, Indoor Ice Arena, Wildlife Habitat, Scenic Chairlift, Ski Mountain Coaster, and a year-round tubing hill.
“The Baker family and their partners care deeply about this community,” said Kent Anders, former President of Ober Gatlinburg, Inc. “Families have been making memories here for over 50 years, and we’re excited to see the opportunities that this transition will offer our guests and employees.”
Mark Adams, former president and CEO of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been hired as the President and CEO of Ober Gatlinburg according to the release.
“Having led the convention and visitors bureau in Gatlinburg over the past five years, I know firsthand how special Gatlinburg is as a premier travel destination,” said Mark Adams, Ober Gatlinburg’s incoming president. “I am so excited for the opportunity to build on Ober’s rich history and lead the Ober family for years to come.”
Adams also shared with WATE that they are planning to release a new logo and eventually rename the resort Ober Mountain. He added they are hoping to move toward lodging in the future.
In the near term, Adams says the public will see mostly sprucing-up but also some expansion. Adams says a fact the resort “doesn’t want to lose sight of is that our land backs up to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park” and so Ober wants visitors to understand the history of the park, the flora and the fauna.