David McConnell Ober Gatlinburg 12-31-05
After yesterday at Cataloochee, I decided to wind out 2005 at my old haunt of Ober Gatlinburg. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not nearly as crowded as Cataloochee was the day before. However ‘waiting’ was the word on the day, at least he word to start the day.
The gate to the ski area did not open until around 8:10 AM (10 minutes late) leaving a line up of around 100 vehicles sitting on Ski Mountain Rd. waiting to get into the parking lot. The ski area itself did not open at 9 as scheduled leaving a mob of people waiting for the gate out onto the snow to open, once the snow was opened up only one of the two lifts was operating for the first 20 minutes or so. I guess good help is hard to find.
Once I made it through the early morning debacle, however; things were really very nice. The early morning conditions were a bit crusty as it had gotten just cold enough to refreeze the granular snow of the previous day but once the sun hit the mountain the conditions softened up very nicely. Ober was skiing on Castle Run, Cub Way, Ski School, Mogul Ridge, and Upper and Lower Bear Run. All of these runs were showing no bare spots and had good base depths; so they should all remain open for the next several days even though the weather does not look favorable for additional snowmaking in the near term.
I am a fan of Mogul Ridge, and it was just that today. It had large moguls over the upper 2/3’s of its run with smaller bumps on its lower flank. Even though it is not terribly long, I think Mogul Ridge is the most challenging run south of West Virginia, but that’s just my opinion. The loose granular snow that gathered in the troughs only made it that much more challenging today.
It was great to see all of the old Ober crowd around, but the interesting person I met today was Anastasia. I rode the lift a couple of times with this beauty that I learned was from Ekaterinburgh (yeah, I had to Google the name to get it spelled right) in Southern Russia and currently attending school in Miami. She was determined to ski Mogul Ridge and was fairing quite well at it considering that it was her third day of skiing.
Oh, well. Happy New Year to all and I’ll see you out on the slopes in 2006.
Jason Tate reports from Winterplace:
I skied winterplace tonight (Dec 30)…I must say the crowd was less than expected for a holiday weekend. The conditions were good, lots of loose snow on the trails. It was icy in a few spots but nothing to bad. It did start to sprinkle a little around 8:30. I am going back tommorow and will have a few pictures to post. I am sure that I can get a pic of a HUGE holiday crowd, as it seems half the hotel I am staying in is occupied by Youth Groups. None the less, expect a great day of skiing anywhere in the southeast this weekend.
Jessea James reports from Winterplace:
I went to Winterplace last week Tuesday through Thursday and can report the conditions were great. We had cold weather, warm weather, 2 hours of rain and snow. The slopes were icy on Thursday after the rain fell on Wednesday night but were still fun. The best part about the week were the lift lines. I had never gone skiing during a holiday week but had heard about the horrible lift lines. The longest I had to wait was 5 minutes to get onto the lifts. The side by side chair lifts are very efficient. Most of the slopes were not too crowded neither.
We will keep a log of the best reporter’s submission, photos and reports. Trust us it is way to time consuming to post every pic…but send them…because we are tallying the scores. The winner of the Best On Snow Reporter for 2005-2006 will win $1000 in cash, a FREE Getaway Vacation and more. The contest will run from now through March 1st and we will choose the winner. Our choice will be based on the following and IN THE ORDER of importance.
Quality of Photos
Quality of Reports (well written, informative, unbiased)
Number of Photo Submissions
Number of Reports
Extra points will be given for getting smiling faces in the photos and including names and cities where you can.
Extra points will be awarded for creative ideas.
We will choose the winner based on how helpful and informative the reports have been.
As of 01/01/2006 here are the top vote getters. (We will only document the top three to five here throughout the season…and we may begin posting the top ten, depending on how close results are.)
1. Lorrie Tomlinson
2. Dave McConnell
3. Kent Jackson
4. Mark McKelvy
5. Joe Harmon