Head to the Smokies for a Fantastic and Thrilling Ski and Snowboarding Adventure

Tennessee might be in the South but it gets plenty of cold weather and has some of the best mountains for skiing and snowboarding for experienced bombers and beginners. Here are our top picks for your skiing adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains this winter.

Ober Gatlinburg

Winter in the Smoky Mountains is magical – beautiful views from your Mountain Cabin hot tub, warm and inviting restaurants and thrilling fun on the mountain slopes. Ober Gatlinburg is THE ski spot right in Gatlinburg.

Start your day at Ober Gatlinburg by boarding the Aerial Tramway in downtown Gatlinburg and avoid the drive up the mountain while taking in, arguably, the best views as you soar above Gatlinburg for more than 2 miles. The cable car has been taking passengers from downtown Gatlinburg to the Ober amusement park and ski area since August 1973. Check out this video for a taste of what you’ll experience!

An Aerial Tram heading through snow-covered mountains.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Once you reach the top, outdoor adventures at Ober Gatlinburg include Skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and the children’s play area – Cubbies Snow Zone – where younger children can just, well, play in the snow for $5 or free with a current ski area ticket.

The slopes are open for skiing and snowboarding noon to 10 p.m. from Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. Find lift pass rates here. Ober Gatlinburg offers ski and clothing rental, along with lessons for young and old. For the more experienced, there are plenty of great trails, and there are races!

Ober Gatlinburg has 10 trails from beginner to advanced, including moguls and a  freestyle Terrain Park. There are seven lifts to get you there.  Check out the Slope report and the live webcams. One camera points at the activities going on. The other camera is the Mountain Valley view.

Some things to know before you go:

All Skiers and Snowboarders must have a valid ski-area ticket and approved equipment (skis or snowboard only) to enter the slopes. Tickets range in price from $30 to $65 depending on adult or child and time of day.  Ober also offers two- and three-day tickets that will save a little money.

Ober rents gear and will fit you for everything if you don’t know sizes. Skis or snowboard and boots will cost between $20 and $30. Ski jackets and pants also are available for rent for $12 a day. Helmets are $6 a day.

The best way to learn downhill skiing or snowboarding is to take a lesson –something that is mandatory for first-time skiers or snowboarders at Ober – and most ski areas. They want you to be safe and have a great experience.

Lessons

Beginners are taught the techniques of gliding, slowing down, turning and stopping. Group lessons and private lessons are available. The easiest and most economical way route is a group lesson. You will be matched with other beginners, so that you can learn in a low-pressure environment. These lessons take you through the basics on Ober’s “Ski School” slope and allow you to practice using the “Mighty Carpet” surface lift. Mighty carpet allows you to keep standing, hold onto a rope and as it carries to the top of the slope.

“A more personal approach, private lessons offer one-on-one training for beginners or for those who want to improve upon specific skills. Private lessons offer more flexibility, whether you would like to practice on the “Ski School” slope or take on more advanced slopes, learn about lift-riding and safety guidelines on the slopes.”

Group lessons are $20 per person per hour; private lessons are $60. Lessons are arranged when you buy your lift ticket at Ober.

How it works:

  • Stop in ticketing and purchase your ski area ticketrental equipment &  lesson.  You will then proceed to the rental shop to pick up your equipment.
  • Go to the counters to be assigned your equipment. Don’t forget your helmet – here’s why.
  • Exit the Rental Shop onto the snow and proceed to the Ski School area located just beyond the Slope Gate.
  • Coin lockers are available throughout our facilities to safely store your personal items. If you need assistance, at any time during this process, please do not hesitate to ask any of our employees.

Here’s more info and a guide for beginners that includes helpful information such as “how to get off a chair lift.” Also – what to wear:

*Wicking base-layers. Avoid cotton layers at all costs, they do the opposite.

*Wear one pair of ski or snowboard specific socks, and only one pair. They are designed to keep you warm.

*Waterproof, breathable snowpants appropriate for the climate. Underneath – only base layers.

*Mid-layers depend on the weather and your personal preference. Layering is great as the day’s weather changes, so can your outfit. “A little cold put one on, a little warm take one off.”

*Waterproof and possibility insulated jacket. If it’s going to be cold, you’ll want a neck gaiter to keep your neck and face warm.

*A properly fitted helmet designed for skiing or snowboarding. A bike helmet won’t do.

* Ski googles to protect your eyes from the sun (snow is very reflective), keep the elements out, and help you see where you are going.

*Gloves or mittens – it’s a personal preference.

At Ober Gatlinburg, there is natural snow as well as man-made snow.  Whether fresh snow is being made depends on the weather usually – you can find out each day via the Slope report. Find out all about snowmaking here: https://obergatlinburg.com/snow-making-explained/

Sustenance!

After you’ve worked up an appetite on the slopes or when you just want to take in the view at the top with dinner or a snack, Ober offers seven eating experiences.

Sit down at Seasons of Ober Restaurant and take in spectacular Smoky Mountain views while dining on hand-cut steaks, chicken or pork and homemade sides that include cinnamon apples and sweet potato casserole. Some of Season’s signature dishes include a strawberry avocado salad, fried green tomatoes and a center-cut pork chop.

The Ober Loft Lounge offers a full wine list, spirits and beer along with bar bites including chicken wings and fried pickle chips. The loft lounge is a great place for an Apres ski cocktail. Trust me, you’ve earned it!

Also on the mountain is The Market, a sit-down Mexican eatery; Sidewalk Café with burgers, pizza and more; and Fudge Shop for some homemade confections.  Fudge is a southern favorite that comes in many flavors – with and without nuts. It is rich and delicious and tastes like nothing else!

Be sure to bring some snacks for your jacket too. You might need to munch on something for energy on a lift ride or just while resting at the top.

Snack tips:
*Bring things that won’t freeze or if they do, you can still eat them. Gogurt anyone?

*Smashability – avoid highly the highly smashable. Bananas might not be the best snack in that case. Apples on the other hand, thumbs up!

*No glass or bottles.

Snack ideas:
*Small apple
*Granola bars
*Peanut butter and crackers
*Sandwiches
*Scones
*Fruit Leather
*Gogurt – take it frozen
*Breakfast burrito
*Leftover pizza

For even more about Ober and its indoor adventures, see our blog.

More Ski Adventures in Driving Distance of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Staying for a while and want to try some other mountains and trails? Take a day trip to North Carolina.

At the Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, NC, there are 18 slopes and trails to explore about an hour and a half from Gatlinburg.

The trails are 44% beginner, 39% intermediate, and 17% advanced to expert.

Elevations are :

Top Elevation 5,400′
Base Elevation 4,660′
Vertical Drop 740′

Lift Systems:

  • 5 lifts total: 1 quad, 1 triple, 1 double chair *
  • 2 moving carpet surface lifts

*Omigosh lift features midway loading and unloading.

Trails are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekends and holidays. Night skiing is offered from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Lift tickets are $72 for adults.

Contact Cataloochee Ski Area at (828) 926-0285,  (800) 768-3588 for a 24-hour snow report. And check out the webcams!

Another North Carolina option is Wolf Ridge Ski Resort – about 2 hours east of Gatlinburg in Mars Hill.

 

With a vertical drop of 700 feet and 54 acres of terrain, Wolf Ridge is another good spot. Open Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Lift tickets for adults are $42 weekdays and $65 on weekends and holidays.

Contact Wolf Ridge at (800) 817-4111 and check out its webcam.

Book your cabin for a winter ski adventure now!

When it’s time to get the gear off and settle in at home, American Patriot Getaways has a cabin just for you. Our hot tubs will sooth sore muscles and make a perfect end to your adventurous day!

Check out these cabins with hot tubs and book today for a winter wonderland stay in the Great Smoky Mountains!

When you book one of our Gatlinburg cabins , you’ll be close to all the action, excitement, and new attractions the area has to offer. Book today and let us help you plan an incredible vacation.

Give American Patriot Getaways a call at 800-204-5169. Let our experts help you find the right cabin and all the right fun, food and entertainment for an adult or family vacation that will have you wanting to come back as soon as possible.

See our Pinterest board Cabins with Incredible Mountain Views. For more adventures, go to our Smoky Mountain Travel Guide

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