Let it Snow!

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We are happy to say that Ober Gatlinburg is up and running! Ride the famous Aerial Tram from Downtown Gatlinburg up 2.1 miles to the Ski Resort and Amusement Park as a great way to kick off your day. The views are astonishing! Once at the top, there are a variety of activities for all members of the family. They feature an indoor ice skating rink, arcade, carousel and wildlife encounters that are perfect for anyone not wanting to brave the elements.

They have a outdoor Alpine Slide and a Ski Mountain Coaster for family friendly outdoor activities. Ober has also opened up Snow tubing, which has been a huge hit for anyone ages 3 and older. It’s just like sledding but you don’t have to walk back up,  Ober has a “magic carpet” that takes care of that! If you have little ones, they also offer a Cubbies Snow Zone for the kids to play. Entry is free with an area/lift ticket.

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The slopes will resume regular operating hours following the start of the 2016/2017 season. Ticket prices vary on amount of days and equipment rental. The resort starting blowing snow last week and already has a base of over 15″ on most of their runs. Of course, you’ll have to check the forecast daily. And with 10 different trails and 7 different lifts, you’re sure to find one to suit your needs.

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Smoky Mountain areas.

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Groundhog Day 2013 and Winter Activities

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Check out groundhog.org!Our favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, says we are going to have an early spring this year. As exciting as that is, let’s enjoy winter while we can! In an effort to encourage you to take advantage of the remaining winter weather, we thought we would remind you (and ourselves) of all the great things to do in the Smoky Mountains during the winter.

Play in the Snow!1. Play in the Snow. We know this one is obvious, but we couldn’t very well neglect to mention it, could we? What happens if you get to Gatlinburg…and it snows? Well, you play in it, of course. What happens if you were hoping for snow and don’t see any when you get here? Well, you have to find the snow. Snowfalls of an inch or more occur on average only one to five times per year in the valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains although Gatlinburg has already had two of these snowfalls in December alone. In the high country, over five feet of snow falls most years. For all the best places to play in the snow, visit our snow post.

See Rainbow Falls!2. Tour the Waterfalls. Winter can be the best time for enjoying waterfalls. Waterfall flows are higher because of greater amounts of snow and rainfall. In addition, there is less uptake by forest plants. Waterfall views and opportunities for photography also improve after the trees have dropped their leaves. Visit our winter waterfall post for some of our favorites.

Where have all the black bears gone?3. Take in the Wildlife. Winter is one of the best times for wildlife viewing in the Smokies. Once the trees have shed their leaves, views into the forest are much longer. Wildlife like elk and deer are active for longer periods during the daylight hours because of the cooler temperatures. What wildlife other than bear and dear might you see? Otter, bob-cat, red fox, gray fox, mink, red squirrel, coyote, and lots of birds. Visit our winter wildlife post for all the details.

Ski at Ober Gatlinburg!4. Skiing Anyone? Ober Gatlinburg offers 8 ski trails serviced by two quad and one double chairlift which keeps you out of lift lines and on the slopes. When temperatures drop, their snow-making equipment blankets 100% of there slopes. Slopes are maintained with the latest in snow-grooming equipment to provide a smoother, more consistent surface creating enjoyable skiing conditions. For more information on skiing in Gatlinburg, visit our Let’s Go Skiing post.

Winter Wildflowers!!5. Winter Wildflowers. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosts approximately 100 species of plants that are restricted to a single region of the park. Many of these species are only found in the southern Appalachian Mountains, but some have been documented only inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Think wildflowers only bloom in the Spring? Visit our wildflower post to find flowers year ’round.

ERA In The SmokiesSo never fear…you can always find something to do in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains even in the dead of winter.

This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

Tennessee Winter Special Olympics 2013

Subscribe to A Day In The SmokiesIt does our hearts good to hear of people who raise above their circumstances to accomplish what no one believed they could! Every winter, right here in the Smokies, more of these Ober Gatlinburginspiring stories are born! Ober Gatlinburg is proud to play host to the Tennessee Winter Special Olympics each year. Over 140 athletes with intellectual disabilities compete in alpine skiing & snowboarding and in speed skating events. A variety of skill levels are represented.

“The traditional lighting of the Special Olympics flame will take place on Monday morning at 9:00 on top of Ober Gatlinburg.  Award presentation will begin at 2:00 pm on Tuesday.”

If you have a special young athlete who would love to participate in this wonderful event, visit the Tennessee Winter Special Olympics website for more information about how you can get involved.

You can also find last year’s results and photos on their website.

ERA In The SmokiesThis blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

Clingman’s Dome Road in Winter

One year, one of our staff members, let’s call her Amy, cross-country skied on Clingman’s Dome Road.Clingman's Dome RoadThis 7-mile road leads up to the highest point in the Smokies, Clingman’s Dome, at 6,643 feet. This road is a popular tourist destination in the warmer months, but in the winter it is closed to all motorized vehicles(until April 1). This high elevation road probably gets more snow than anywhere else in the Park! And since it is closed in the winter, it never gets plowed, creating great conditions for great cross-country skiing and snowshoeing!

Clingman's Dome

Those that are feeling ambitious go the whole distance to Clingman’s Dome – 14 miles round trip! When they arrive at the Clingman’s Dome Observation Tower, they may have the whole place to themselves – a rare occurrence at this popular spot! Amy wasn’t feeling quite that ambitious, so she skied 2 miles in and 2 miles out.

It is amazing how much it snowed that winter here in the Smokies! It made for some treacherous driving, but was also great for winter sports! Up on Clingman’s Dome Road there were between 10 inches and 2 feet of snow (depending on how sunny or shady the spot)! What started out as near perfect powder, became somewhat sticky beneath Amy’s skis as the day warmed up.

My Snow Bear!After an hour or so, she took a break and decided to build a snowman! Over the next half hour Amy had a blast building her creation, which ended up being a snowbear! At first she was sad to leave him, but she was glad that she didn’t have to watch him melt! Hopefully he made a few people smile as they passed by in the following days!

Got Skis?

Unfortunately we don’t know of ANY places around here that rent cross-country skis or snowshoes. Usually we don’t get that much snow, so renting out these items probably hasn’t been profitable in the past. If you are coming to visit Gatlinburg from far away, our advice is to find some cross-country skis or snowshoes before you leave and bring them with you! You can always find them online too. Try Craigslist for a used pair – our friend Amy actually found a few used pairs in the Knoxville area!

SkiingIf you decide to try out Clingman’s Dome Road this winter, we hope you have fun! We recommend parking right beside the closed gate, off to the side so that other cars can get by. The Park Service might prefer that you park in the Newfound Gap parking lot, but then you would need to walk on the sometimes busy road, so we’re not sure which is preferable. Use your best judgement!

Make sure you bring everything you normally would for hiking: water, hat, gloves, sunglasses, snacks. Keep in mind that you will warm up fast since this is GREAT cardio! This is where layering is important. Amy only wore her jacket for about 5 minutes! Then it stayed in her backpack for the rest of the day.

Top 10 Reasons We like Cross-Country Skiing

We will leave you with the Top 10 Reasons Why We like Cross-Country Skiing:

  1. My SkisIt’s Free lift tickets can be EXPENSIVE!
  2. No Lines – you never have to stop moving
  3. No Lifts – you don’t get cold sitting on the lift.
  4. You can bring your dog, and it’s great exercise for him too!
  5. You can do it in your backyard, and a bunch of other places!
  6. It is GREAT exercise.
  7. Easy to learn (and less painful).
  8. You can watch winter wildlife and look for tracks.
  9. It gets you outside and into the sun, which helps beat winter blues.
  10. It’s FUN!

ERA In The SmokiesThis blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

Snow Skiing in the Smokies!

Ski at Ober Gatlinburg!Cold weather is back in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. And, the ski slopes at Ober Gatlinburg are now open!

Ober Gatlinburg features nine trails serviced by two quad lifts, one double lift and one surface lift. The resort offers terrain for all abilities, from a beginner experiencing the joy of snow sports for the first time, to a seasoned expert hitting the moguls and terrain park. Ober Gatlinburg also has a popular snow tubing park, skiing and snowboarding equipment and clothing rentals, an ice skating rink, aerial tramway, restaurant and lounge, shops and more.

Ober Gatlinburg Named one of the top 10 Ski Destinations in the Country.Ober Gatlinburg was recently selected by AOL as one of the top 10 Ski Destinations in the country! It was selected based on its snow-making system, its tram that goes from downtown Gatlinburg, up to the resort, and the views of the Smoky Mountains!

Slopes are maintained with the latest in snow-grooming equipment to provide a smoother, more consistent surface creating enjoyable skiing conditions.

The Cabins of Winfield HeightsIf you are interested in renting a Gatlinburg cabin that is located close to the ski slopes at Ober Gatlinburg, check out:

The Cabins of Winfield Heights!


Don’t forget that snow tubing is a great option at Ober Gatlinburg! All tubing sessions are 1 hour and 45 minutes. Ticket sales are on a first-come, first- served basis and may sell out early. Must be at least 6 years old and 42″ tall to ride solo; children ages 3 – 5 must ride with an adult; children under 3 are not permitted to ride.

Let's go snow skiing at Ober Gatlinburg!

OBER GATLINBURG SLOPE STATISTICS

SUMMIT ELEVATION: 3300 feet BASE ELEVATION: 2700 feet VERTICAL DROP: 600 feet LONGEST RUN: 5000 feet # OF TRAILS 7 tree lined, 1 open SLOPE DIFFICULTY: SLOPE LENGTH VERTICAL DROP BEGINNER ......2 Runs  Alpine Way 2,600' 279'  Bear Run 3,200' 393' INTERMEDIATE ..4 Runs  Castle Run 1,100' 163'  Cub Way 1,800' 163' ADVANCED ......2 Runs  Grizzly 3,800' 556'  Mogul Ridge 300' 235' Ober Chute 4,400' 556'  Ski School (teaching area) LIFTS: QUAD - 2 DOUBLE - 1 SURFACE LIFT - 1 LIFT CAPACITY - 6000 people per/hour AVERAGE ANNUAL SNOWFALL - 35 inches SNOWMAKING - 100% snowmaking capabilities AVERAGE SEASON - Mid-December through Early-March NIGHT SKIING - all trails except Grizzly LESSONS - Smoky Mtn. Snow Sport School http://www.smokysnowsport.com SKI RENTALS - 1700 sets step-ins available at area SNOWBOARD RENTALS - 150 sets step-ins available at area ($300 deposit required) SKI SHOP - Swiss Outdoors Gear Shop at area DINING - Snack bars, Food Carts, Cafe, Restaurant and Lounge FIRST AID - operated by National Ski Patrol HOSPITAL - 15 miles TRAVEL - Gatlinburg - 10 minutes via Tram; Knoxville - 40 miles (1 hour) via I-40 east to Rt.66 to Rt. 441 south 

ERA In The SmokiesThis blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

Let It Snow!!!

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Snow is more controversial than I ever thought possible! We have quite a few people who come here looking, hoping, praying for snow. We also have several people who are afraid of snow, or rather what it might do to the roads. In Gatlinburg we do occasionally get some snow, although rarely more than an inch. And it usually melts the next day. Here are some tips on how to enjoy (or survive) the winter weather here in the mountains!

Rent a Cabin in the Higher Elevations!1. Finding the Snow!
If you are one of those people who wants the snow, be encouraged! Just rent a cabin in a higher elevation, and chances are, if there’s the slightest chance of precipitation, it’ll snow at your cabin. If it doesn’t snow at your cabin while you’re here, stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center, and ask the nice folks there if they know of any snow in the National Park that you could get to. On the higher elevations, once it snows, the mountains usually keep that white on their tops for the rest of the winter!


4x42. Avoiding Icy Mishaps!

Since they can’t control the weather, cabin rental companies don’t give refunds due to weather or road conditions. Besides, you’re coming to the mountains to enjoy the mountains! If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, or can borrow one from a friend or rent one, we recommend this. If not, invest in chains for your tires. Our Wal-tireMart here sells them for just $25-$65, depending on tire size. Well worth the investment! If you would still rather just avoid the steep hills altogether, make sure to ask your reservationist for a cabin that has no steep hills to get to. This can be very difficult to find around here, so be sure to book early.

Check the weather for Gatlinburg!3. Timing is everything!
Check the weather before you come. And once you’re here, check your radio, TV, or newspaper for regular weather updates. If there is a chance of snow or ice, plan to do your driving in Gatlinburg at the warmest, sunniest time of day. Don’t wait to go out and about, or wait to head back to your cabin, til after dark, when it will be colder, harder to see, and more difficult to find help if you need it. Don’t stay out much past 7pm, if there is any chance of bad weather. Get to your cabin and snuggle down for a cozy evening. Try to plan your vacation so that you don’t have to leave your cabin early in the morning. (It’s vacation, you want to sleep in anyway!) Give the sun a chance to thaw out the roads for you. If you feel it absolutely necessary to be out early in the morning, remember that 4-wheel drive and/or chains, and maybe even bring a bag of rock salt with you just in case.

Go Snow Tubing at Ober Gatlinburg!4. Enjoy The Adventure That Comes To You!
The snow is absolutely gorgeous! Just imagine waking up to a winter wonderland! Don’t be a worry wart and ruin you and your family’s vacation! Enjoy it! Go sledding! Build a snowman! Snow angels! A fort or igloo! Head to Ober Gatlinburg and try skiing or snow tubing!

Get Some Great Deals This Winter!5. Be Prepared!
Here are some things to have with you:
* 4 wheel drive vehicle and/or chains for your tires
* rock salt
* windshield ice scraper
* flashlight
* starter log and matches or lighter if you have a wood-burning fireplace
* plenty of food
* hot chocolate!
* coffee
* sled
* an adventurous spirit
* a smile!

Now that we’re all ready… Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!!!

ERA In The SmokiesThis blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

 

Clingman’s Dome Road In Winter

Last year, I cross-country skied on Clingman’s Dome Road.Clingman's Dome RoadThis 7-mile road leads up to the highest point in the Smokies, Clingman’s Dome, at 6,643 feet. This road is a popular tourist destination in the warmer months, but in the winter it is closed to all motorized vehicles(until April 1). This high elevation road probably gets more snow than anywhere else in the Park! And since it is closed in the winter, it never gets plowed, creating great conditions for great cross-country skiing and snowshoeing!

Clingman's Dome

Those that are feeling ambitious go the whole distance to Clingman’s Dome – 14 miles roundtrip! When they arrive at the Clingman’s Dome Observation Tower, they may have the whole place to themselves – a rare occurrence at this popular spot! I wasn’t feeling quite that ambitious, so we skied 2 miles in and 2 miles out.

It is amazing how much it snowed last winter here in the Smokies! It made for some treacherous driving, but was also great for winter sports! Up on Clingman’s Dome Road there were between 10 inches and 2 feet of snow (depending on how sunny or shady the spot)! What started out as near perfect powder, became somewhat sticky beneath our skis as the day warmed up.

My Snow Bear!After an hour or so, we took a break and I decided to build a snowman! Over the next half hour I had a blast building my creation which ended up being a snowbear! At first I was sad to leave him, but I’m glad that I don’t have to watch him melt! Hopefully he will make a few people smile as they pass by in the next few days!

Got Skis?

Unfortunately I don’t know of ANY places around here that rent cross-country skis or snowshoes. Usually we don’t get that much snow, so renting out these items probably hasn’t been profitable in the past. If you are coming to visit Gatlinburg from far away, my advice is to find some cross-country skis or snowshoes before you leave and bring them with you! You can always find them online too. Try Craigslist for a used pair – I actually found a few used pairs in the Knoxville area!

SkiingIf you decide to try out Clingman’s Dome Road this winter, I hope you have fun! I parked right by the closed gate, off to the side so that other cars can get by. The Park Service might prefer that you park in the Newfound Gap parking lot, but then you would need to walk on the sometimes busy road, so I am not sure which is best. Use your best judgement!

Make sure you bring everything you normally would for hiking: water, hat, gloves, sunglasses, snacks. Keep in mind that you will warm up fast since this is GREAT cardio! This is where layering is important. I only wore my jacket for about 5 minutes! Then it stayed in my backpack for the rest of the day.

Top 10 Reasons I like Cross-Country Skiing

I will leave you with my Top 10 Reasons why I like Cross-Country Skiing. I am also a snowboarder, but the more I cross-country ski, the more I prefer it to snowboarding*! Here’s why:

  1. My SkisIt’s Free lift tickets can be EXPENSIVE!
  2. No Lines – I never have to stop moving
  3. No Lifts – I don’t get cold sitting on the lift.
  4. I can bring my dog and it’s great exercise for him too!
  5. I can do it in my backyard, and a bunch of other places!
  6. It is GREAT exercise.
  7. Easy to learn (and less painful).
  8. I can watch winter wildlife and look for tracks.
  9. It gets me outside and into the sun, which helps beat winter blues.
  10. It’s FUN!

*Nothing against snowboarding. I still love snowboarding!

ERA In The SmokiesThis blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.