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Tennessee Ski Area Guide -- Very Complete

  • Ober Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg • 32 skiable acres on 600' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 3300'; Base elevation: 2700'. 5 Lifts: 1 tram, 2 quads, 1 double, 1 surface. Uphill Capacity: 6000/hr. Terrain Mix: 25-50-25. Longest Run: 5,000'. Season: usually mid-December through early March, 7 days. Night Skiing Mon-Sat. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 35". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Best skiing in Tennessee! That being said, this is a small, novice-type ski area with doubtful snow conditions, and masses of inexperienced skiers. But that's ok -- they're either here for the wax museums and ticky-tacky tourist strip, or because this is the closest down home ski area. Recognizing that skiing is at best a novelty in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg does a great job considering all the odds stacked against it. Locals with nowhere else to go can find good value here, as long as they avoid the mobs during Christmas, MLK Weekend, and President's Weekend. When OG isn't crowded, the lifts and slopes are quite pleasant. Even the expert skier can feel slightly challenged on Mogul Ridge. For those who aren't ready to click in and slide down the hill, OG has a tourist chairlift for non-skiers to ride...I like that idea. Nice indoor skating rink as well.
    Signature Trail: Bear Run.


  • Gatlinburg Snowsports Center, Gatlinburg
    The SKInny: This is the ski-resort specific website, and ski instruction arm of Ober Gatlinburg, where you can instruct groups, get individual lessons, rent skis, rent ski jackets, or whatever else you might need to get involved in snow sports.


trail map of Ober Gatlinburg ski area

Below: Gatlinburg Ski Lodge circa 1970

1970 era photo of Gatlinburg ski area


Additional Links

Pleanty of additional skiing in nearby North Carolina.

More info on North Carolina ski websites, SkiNorthCarolina.com. Once you've used our state-specific information, this should be your next click if you're sole interest is NC ski areas.

This site, DC Ski, has quite a few members who frequent the sweet tea ski circuit. Great online community.

Use this to get Lift Tickets at Discount: There is a "clearinghouse" of sorts that many ski areas use to raise cash by selling discount tickets in advance, called Liftopia . If you haven't used this service, it is usually best to know for certain that you are going on a specific date. The deeply discounted tickets must be purchased in advance; generally up to two days out. The sticking point is that some ski resorts only make a limited number of tickets available to Liftopia for any given day, so they might be sold out if you wait too long...so, as soon as you are absolutely, positively sure that you will be skiing on a certain day, click this link to get deeply discounted tickets . I've used this service many times, usually when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. Some resorts offer "flex" tickets with which you can specify the date, and some have a few different tiers of pricing. In other words, you might be able to get a lift ticket that can be used on different days, but you'll pay a little more for that privilege. You need to have access to a printer to print out your receipt, and you have to take identification with you to the mountain. I've knocked a third off -- even half off -- the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking before you head to the slopes.

A tiny portion of your Liftopia purchase helps fund this website, at no added cost.

Key

Lifts We don't consider a ski area's tubing-only lifts as part of the total. Signature Trail Is mostly subjective. Whether it's history, reputation, the view, or degree of difficulty...it's the run you have to do, even if it isn't necessarily the best the resort has to offer.

Finally, a note about ski area statistics: Although it's hard to believe, some ski areas are (gasp!) less than truthful with their numbers. Like the guy who lies about his, uh, shoe size, some ski areas believe that inflated numbers make their resort sound more appealling. When these numbers are obviously questionable, we put a note: (?!) and will attempt to verify the legitimacy of the claim.

If the ski resort business interests you, I strongly recommend a book by Hal Clifford called Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment. It provides an inside look at the marketing logic behind clocktower villages, and the dubious practices of the US Forest Service that enables these resorts to be built. Fascinating reading.

Ski Movies for Mere Mortals

Did you ever feel like those big money ski movies are often a big let-down? You get all pumped up for the new release from some ski film company, and it's mostly incredible footage of guys jumping out of helicopters and shredding down some un-named mountain on the far side of the globe. They're neck deep in powder, skiing lines that you'll never, ever see. If you want ski movies you could actually relate to, a bunch of guys called The Meatheads, from Burlington, VT have made a series of "Ski The East" films. They film at real resorts like Sugarloaf, Blue Mountain, Big Boulder, Mount Snow, Ski Sundown, Stowe, Jay, Mountain Creek, Killington, Sunday River...urban locations ranging from Virginia to Quebec...mogul skiing with The Hammer and Radio Ron...and backcountry throughout New York, New England, and the Chic Chocs. It's simply fantastic -- and since it's the same terrain we can get to, it's inspirational!

Their most popular current release is No Matter What , which received the ski equivalent of an Oscar for the Jay Peak powder segment, filmed during 2012 of all things. One that is probably their best is from a year ago, called Prime Cut . Another favorite is Wanderland: An East Coast Ski Thriller. All Meatheads DVDs have hours of "bonus" footage, so it's like getting three ski movies for the price of one. The links go to Amazon.com, which enables you to order and return if you don't like them. And a small percentage of the sale helps us pay the expenses of this website, at no extra cost to you.

Here's a preview, courtesy Youtube...