Plan A Ski Trip to the Smoky Mountains

Get ready for chilly downhill thrills: Smoky Mountains ski season is almost here. Find out what to bring and how to pack maximum fun into a snowy vacation to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

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When Can You Hit the Slopes?

The Smoky Mountains ski season waits on nature. At Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, the slopes are open from mid-December to early March. Ober Gatlinburg makes its own snow but needs the right weather conditions to create the wonderful white stuff. So follow the forecast: If you see at least two consecutive dry nights with temperatures around 28 to 29 degrees, check the Ober Gatlinburg website for specific opening dates—that’s ideal snow-making weather.

For cross-country skiing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, watch the weather for Dec. 1, the day the park closes Clingmans Dome Road for winter. When the road is snow-covered, it’s an ideal ski trail to the mountaintop observation tower. Call park headquarters, to find out when conditions are right for cross-country skiing.  

If Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, try snow tubing. Thanks to different snow-making methods, tubing hills open earlier than ski slopes. Ober Gatlinburg’s outdoor tubing opens Nov. 21. For indoor snow tubing, visit Pigeon Forge Snow, open all year, no reservations needed.

What Should You Bring?

Bring your skis and snowboards—or rent some here. Ober Gatlinburg rents them, plus ski pants, jackets, and helmets. What else do you need?

  • ·         Layers. Winter temperatures here vary from the 20s up into the 60s. Pack layers you can pop on or peel away easily, and don’t forget snow boots and hat.
  • ·         Goggles. Winter air can dry out your eyes, and the glare when sun hits snow can be blinding.
  •           Gloves. These are not just for warmth but also for a safe grip on your ski poles.
  •           Face mask. Those trips up the mountain on lifts and back down on skis will chap your cheeks. To stay outdoors longer, wear a mask.

What Makes Smoky Mountains Ski Season Special?

Ski season is about more than your best downhill run. Make the most of your trip by enjoying the other unique winter fun in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Ober Gatlinburg is home to ice skating, a mountain coaster, ice bumper cars and more. Anakeesta theme park holds its sparkling Enchanted Winter event Nov. 19-Feb. 17. The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade on Dec. 4 illuminates Gatlinburg. The New Year’s Eve fireworks at Gatlinburg’s Space Needle are a midwinter tradition. Gatlinburg Skylift Park is open all winter, offering chairlift rides to see gorgeous, frosted views.

Return each day to your private cabin. To find the perfect cabin for a Gatlinburg ski trip, visit us at Colonial Properties Cabin and Resort Rentals.