Tennessee: It Means Incredible Scenery At Ober Gatlinburg -
Skiing in Tennessee means Ober Gatlinburg, a family resort tucked into the Great Smoky Mountains near the border with North Carolina, an hour southeast of Knoxville.
Ober Gatlinburg has eight ski trails served by two quad chairlifts and a double, a summit elevation of 3,300 feet, vertical drop of 600 feet, 100 percent snowmaking coverage, and night skiing on all trails except Grizzly, an expert run.
The longest run is 5,000 feet, just under a mile, and terrain is weighted toward beginner/intermediate skiers and riders. Ober opened a Snow Tubing Park for the 2008/2009 season with 10 lanes and 50 foot vertical drop, served by a carpet lift.
The ski area is on the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with incredible mountain scenery. Operators realized that the alpine location had one drawback – the access up and down Mt. Harrison. So they decided to install the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, completed Aug. 5, 1973. Two tram cars carry passengers from ample parking in Gatlinburg 2.1 miles to the ski area, avoiding the drive that operators describe as “slow” and “precarious.”
New tram cars were installed in 2007, in a joint project with Doppelmayr CTEC based in Utah and CWA Constructions in Switzerland.
Installation of the new cars completes Phase II of Ober Gatlinburg’s continuing effort to keep the tramway system modernized. Ober completed a major upgrade to the tramway electronics and computer system in 2001. The resort installed new control panels in the cars, and replaced the brakes and drive motor to conform to new safety standards.
The tramway has transported over 18 million passengers since it began operating in 1973. Service runs every 20 minutes from downtown Gatlinburg.