Ober Gatlinburg — which offers skiing, tubing, ice-skating, an aerial tramway, Ski Mountain coaster, alpine slide, wildlife encounter and more — was not affected by the wildfires that ravaged the surrounding city and countryside in late November, according to the attraction’s website. Though access was restricted due to the city’s evacuation and following relief efforts, Ober Gatlinburg was expected to reopen by mid-December, the website stated.
Whether you want to spend several days skiing or are just craving a snow day, the powdery white stuff may not be as out of reach as you think. You're probably familiar with one of our better options, Ober Gatlinburg, which, thankfully, wasn't harmed by the recent wildfires that devastated the city — but there are also other spots just a few hours away to get your snow fix.
Though the snow is likely to be manufactured, skiing is possible as close as Lookout Mountain at Cloudmont Resort in Mentone, Alabama, if overnight temperatures drop to 28 degrees or colder. The resort's two 1,000-foot runs are great for novices, especially children, to try out the sport for the first time, though they may bore an expert skier. In addition to being less intimidating, Cloudmont is much less expensive — about $50 for lift tickets and equipment rental for the day — than traveling to a larger resort up north or out west. Cloudmont offers both group and private lessons, as well as ski, snowboard and boot rental. (Note: Since the resort has limited equipment in small sizes for young children, if you've got a few in your group, you'll want to arrive early.)
Ski season runs through March 15, though remember, the season is dependent on the temperature. Packages including lift tickets and equipment rental range from $28-$55, and lift tickets only are available for $18-$33. Group lessons cost $15 per person. Visit cloudmont.com or call 256-634-4344 for more information.
Even if Mother Nature chooses to be stingy with snow this year, you can still create your own snow day with a two-hour road trip to Snow Mountain, located in Stone Mountain Park outside Atlanta.
The park offers several options for those looking to barrel their way down hills of snow, from the classic tubing experience to Avalanche Alley, a 400-foot tubing hill families can travel down together as a group on a giant tube. There are also hills just for snow bunnies age 3 and younger.
Not into pummeling down an icy hill? You can also experience for a day what it must be like to live in a place with enough snow to build a life-size snow person in Snowman Alley, or mold the icy cold powder into your own hideout in Igloo City. Take aim at targets that flip and spin at the park's snowball shooting gallery, or explore the tunnels and slides of the playground constructed in snow. Get toasty at the end of the day by roasting s'mores over an open fire.
Open through Feb. 26. Passes for adults and children cost $28, and admission is free for kids age 2 and younger. For more information visit snowmountainpark.com.
Located 30 minutes north of Asheville, North Carolina, Wolf Ridge Ski Resort features 15 runs — something for skiers of all levels. Depending on conditions, the season typically runs through mid-March. Half-day lift tickets range from around $20-$50, and full-day passes cost between $30-$60. Ski rentals cost $19 and snowboard rentals cost $34, and lessons are available. Accommodations are available on-site. Visit wolfridgeski.com to learn more.
North Carolina's Sugar Mountain, about a four-hour drive from Chattanooga, boasts 21 ski slopes, 15 of which are lighted for night skiing, and four tubing runs. The resort also offers snowshoeing and ice-skating.
The majority of the slopes are rated intermediate, though there are plenty of options for beginners, and the mountain includes several expert runs and one double black diamond.
The season typically runs from Thanksgiving through the end of March. Winter value packages including accommodations, ski passes, equipment rental and discounted lessons are available, with prices varying depending on the accommodations. Visit skisugar.com or call 1-800-SUGARMT for more information.
The best option in the region is probably West Virginia's Snowshoe Resort, about a 7 1/2-hour drive from Chattanooga. The amount of natural snowfall is unmatched in the Southeast, though the resort does make its own snow as well. In fact, through March 12, 2017, Snowshoe guarantees it will have more open terrain than any other resort in the Southeast or you will receive the next day of skiing free of charge. The resort also offers discounted packages for three days of skiing for $159.
Snowshoe also offers snowmobile excursions, tubing and five terrain parks to help you practice your snowboarding skills. Visit snowshoemtn.com or call 1-877-441-4386 to learn more.