Insider's Guide to Ober Gatlinburg

February 28, 2022

Beckoning you from the heights of the Smoky Mountains is an amusement park like no other. Sitting high in the lap of the “Smokies” and looking upon downtown, Ober Gatlinburg is the pride of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Sitting high in the lap of the “Smokies” and looking upon downtown, Ober Gatlinburg is the pride of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Surrounded by blue mist, Ober Gatlinburg is where nature goes to play.

Ober Gatlinburg delivers the best of nature’s beauty and bounty, no matter the season. You’ll find yourself soaking up the spirit of the mountains and being filled with clear-headed determination.

The vertical drops and professional Ski slopes will feel trivial compared to your buoyed confidence. You are a majestic Skier about to exercise your prowess in the best ski resort in Tennessee. Come, follow us to the heights of fun!!

Your Best Ski Season at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg splits life’s greatest joys into the four seasons of the year. Each season comes with a host of options within signature events and activities. The fun flows in abundance on this mountain top, and all you need to get started is the ticket options and hours!

Wide shot of people skiing and snow boarding down the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Ober Gatlinburg via Facebook

Find Your Season

A planner’s dream, Ober Gatlinburg has organized everything it offers into the specific seasons you can enjoy them in. Check out each: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, to pick the one that appeals to you most. 

Pro Tip: Don’t discount Fall and Winter because you don’t like the cold. There are plenty of indoor activities at Ober Gatlinburg as well!

Related Post: 24 Unforgettable Romantic Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Couples

Hours of Operation

All Outdoor activities are available between 10 AM to 5 PM, allowing enough time to try more than one. Indoor activities extend the possibilities of a good time further by being available between 10 AM to 9 PM.

Can’t get enough of the fresh mountain air and mind-numbing speed? No worries, Ober Gatlinburg Ski slopes are available from 9 AM to 9 PM.

Pro Tip: Always check the current schedule before planning any activities.

Getting There by Aerial Tramway

Beat the traffic and hill sickness by taking the famed Aerial Tramway up to Ober Gatlinburg. Open from 7:40 AM to 9 PM every day. The tram is a great way to absorb the true magnitude of your traversing height.

Pro Tip: Park your car at the conveniently affordable 24-hour parking lot at Parkway and Le Conte Street downtown Gatlinburg.

Built in 1973, this Aerial Tram has transported millions of people to their seasonal adventures in Ober Gatlinburg. Trams run every twenty minutes, and the ride lasts ten minutes. Grab a fantastic round trip deal with Tripster, and you’re well on your way to your adventure!

Close up view of the Aerial Tramway in motion at Ober Gatlinburg with the trees below covered in snow in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Ober Gatlinburg via Facebook

Driving to Ober Gatlinburg

If the tram is not for you, this is the perfect opportunity to experience driving in this much-loved Tennessee mountain. The beauty of the Smokies is unparalleled, and driving up to Ober Gatlinburg only proves the same.

The opening hours for parking vary on different days of the week and season. On most days, it opens between 7:45 AM - 9:45 AM and closes between 3 PM - 7 PM. It’s best to consult the parking schedule for the day before deciding to drive up.

Related Post: 22 Absolutely Free Things to Do in Gatlinburg

Pro Tip: Parking spots are pretty limited, and bagging one may mean a much earlier start than you care for. As such, the Aerial Tramcar triumphs as the preferred option for most visitors.

Perfect Tickets for Your Experience

Individual Tickets

All the best ticket deals vary by seasonal activities and can only be purchased on the day in person. Check out the seasonal delights on the Current Activities & Rates page. 

Psst….Want to know the best way to go about this? We recommend that you take the 8 AM Aerial Tramcar to Ober Gatlinburg.

Queue up immediately for your tickets, equipment, and outfit on arrival. Then, spend your time in the queue planning which additional activities you want to indulge in.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Ober Gatlinburg: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

This way, you can plan the best day depending on how long the line takes and the time you intend to spend on the slopes! Flexibility can be a friend, after all!

Pro Tip: Children under 4 are free for all permitted activities with a paying adult. Give us a yay!

Groups at Ober Gatlinburg

As amazingly flexible as a same-day booking is, groups of over 15 people need to invest in some planning.

Joys are best when shared, and Ober Gatlinburg is no different. Score yourself the best group deal by filling out this simple form for a quote. Submitting the form does not guarantee a booking, so make sure to keep an eye out for a confirmation!

Related Post: Gatlinburg Hidden Gems: 7 Secret Spots You Don't Want to Miss

Pro Tip: Open the doors to a fun-filled day by wearing the same color! Your photos will look adorable!

Wide shot of people snowboarding down the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg on a sunny day in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Ober Gatlinburg via Facebook

Seasonal Passes at Ober Gatlinburg

Skiing becomes addictive to those that relish the crisp mountain air, winding slopes, and the feeling of flying. However, Ober Gatlinburg understands that when you want to get on the slopes, queueing for tickets daily can get tedious.

The answer to all that waiting? Season passes!

Season passes come with unlimited access to ski slopes, all ski lifts, and unlimited use of the Aerial Tramway! Fancy getting all that within a single ticket!

Season passes are available for individuals or as a family package for up to 5 people. 

Pro Tip: Ober Gatlinburg provides fantastic season pass discounts for Students, Seniors, Veterans, and Active Military Members.

Ober Gatlinburg also honors their local community by running special prices for the residents of Sevier County. Isn’t that the most heartwarming discount you’ve ever come across?

 Fun Fact: All season pass holders receive 10% off at food venues, retail shops, and the Ski & Snowboard Tuning Center. Don’t forget to ask for yours!

What’s Included in Your Skiing & Snowboarding Tickets

Ober Gatlinburg isn’t so popular because it is the only ski resort in Tennessee. Rather its appeal lies in the vast array of ski slopes, the abundance of wildlife, and other fun indoor and outdoor activities.

Skiing & Snowboarding Tickets

Skiing and Snowboarding tickets vary between $40 to $70 depending on the day of the week and time of year. Professional skiers will testify that this is a bargain! 

Pro Tip: Ober Gatlinburg considers children above the age of 12-years to be adult skiers, so you need to plan your budget accordingly.

Related Post: Current Festivals and Events in Gatlinburg

Fancy 2-3 days of uninterrupted skiing? Go for the skiing pass to avoid standing in queue for tickets every day!

Pro Tip: Consecutive day tickets come at a $10 discount to each day rate.

Close up of instructors giving snowboarding lessons on a sunny day at Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Ober Gatlinburg via Facebook

Skiing Equipment and Outfits

You may now find yourselves wondering about equipment and lessons. Never fear; Tripster has all the answers!

You can rent equipment and outfits at Ober Gatlinburg, and here is what you need to know:

  • Ski and Snowboard rental equipment prices include the cost of shoes and equipment
  • Ski rentals range between $29 and $34
  • Snowboard rentals can cost between $34 to $39

Pro Tip: Much like the daily tickets, the rentals are only valid for the day. Make sure you return all your equipment to avoid incurring additional costs.

Skiing Lessons

Feeling a little rusty? Want to level up to the pro slopes?

Ober Gatlinburg offers skiing lessons to help you perfect your craft. Lessons for adults and juniors cost the same and can be taken in a group or privately.

Related Post: What You Should Know Before Visiting Gatlinburg for the First Time

Group lessons cost $25 per person, and private lessons are $65 per person.

Pro tip: You can add another person to your private lesson for just $25. What a bargain!

What to Wear  

A lot goes into crafting a perfect ski outfit, and as such, we wouldn’t want you to miss anything. Here’s a little checklist to make sure you have everything you’re going to need:

  • Your ski outfit is comprised of a base layer, a middle layer, and an outer shell
  • The base layer keeps you warm and is usually a long-sleeved wick shirt and slacks
  • Your base layer can range from athletic wear to a merino wool set but should never be cotton
  • The middle layer is for preserving upper body warmth and usually manifests itself in the form of a down or puffer jacket
  • The outermost layer is the shell and comprises of a jacket and trousers or bib
  • A bib is almost like a jumpsuit, and it is a matter of preference whether you pick a trouser or a bib
  • Gloves are about as essential as oxygen when skiing. Pick between gloves and mittens depending on whether you prefer the flexibility of gloves or the warmth of mittens
  • A helmet is as necessary to your skiing experience as any other part of your equipment
  • Your helmet will need to fit well and also leave enough space for your skiing goggles
Close up of people wearing their ski gear with the slopes behind them at Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Ober Gatlinburg via Facebook

Exceptional Winter and Spring Activities at Ober Gatlinburg

Feeling tired after a few runs on the slopes? It’s natural! Skiing & snowboarding are great, but you will invariably need a break as they are strenuous activities.

Being on the slopes tests your mental and physical prowess, and after a couple of hours, you may crave something less demanding.

Try some of these Ober Gatlinburg delights in the form of the perfect answer!

Scenic Chairlift

The Scenic Chairlift is precisely as the name promises. A chair lifts you high above tree level to give you spectacular views of the Smokies. It even takes you above the peak of Mount Harrison! In addition, the Scenic Chairlift elevates you high enough to see Douglas Lake and Mount LeConte!

Bring your childhood dream of flying into your reality by pampering yourself with this experience. Feel the fresh wind in your face, let your hair fly loose, and leave your worries at ground level.

Fun Fact: The towers supporting the Scenic Chairlift were originally built for the 1956 Italy Winter Olympics!

Related Post: 7 Spectacular Things to Do in Gatlinburg at Night

Alpine Slide

Did you know that you can also combine your Scenic Chairlift experience with another fantastic adventure?

The Alpine Slide is a unique opportunity to explore the terrain of Mount Harrison at your own pace. Take the Scenic Chairlift to the midway point and get into a sled-like cart.

Control your speed with the lever and be the master of your own experience! Can you smell the heady Spring mountain fragrance already?

Close up of kids riding the Alpin Slide on a sunny day at Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Ober Gatlinburg via Facebook

Wildlife Encounter

Wondering if you can expect to run into any black bears? Hopefully not on the ski slopes, but Ober Gatlinburg is home to a wide array of Smokies wildlife.

In an environment safe for you and the animals, you can meet a family of Bears, River Otters, Bobcats, Skunks, and many more. None of these animals have been captured from the wild in compliance with state laws.

On the Wildlife Encounter experience, you can expect to see at least a few of these species. Having formed a trusting relationship with the Skiers and tourists over time, many animals may pop out to say hello!

Related Post: 16 Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Adults You Don't Want to Miss

Spectacular Summer and Fall Activities at Ober Gatlinburg

What is even the point of summer if you don’t get to splash around in the water? Ober Gatlinburg has made sure that a summer visit is not missing the thrill and adventure of the Ski season.

Water Raft Rides

Not far from the slopes lie your summer escapades, the water raft rides! So pick between The Blue Cyclone, Shoot the Chute, or The Lightnin’ Water Ride, and level up your summer.

Blackout tunnels, steep chutes, and high-speed water slides that fill your world with just two sounds; splish and splash. Put away all your cares and concerns and never mind your beautiful hair and make-up. Summer is here, and nothing celebrates it better than immersing yourself in it. 

Pro Tip: Share a raft with your partner at The Lightnin’ Water Ride and steal a quick kiss as you take off!

People splashing into the water at the bottom of Blue Cyclone Rapids waterslide at Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Ober Gatlinburg via Facebook

Snow Tubing

Undisputedly one of the most popular activities at par with Skiing and Snowboarding at Ober. Snow tubing is open from November until March and is one of the few activities that accept advance bookings.

Pro Tip: If Snow tubing is on your list, we recommend that you book it several months in advance.

Tubing sessions last for 90 minutes and cost between $30 to $35, depending on the day of the week. Glide down the 350-foot-long slope in your tube and revel in the thrill of the 50-foot drop. Then go right back up with no effort on an escalator called the “Magic Carpet.”

Pro Tip: When booking your Snowtubing trip, each tuber above the age of 6 will require an email to complete the process.

Unmissable Indoor Activities

Indoor Ice Skating

Open all year round is the pride and joy of Ober’s Indoor arena, the Indoor Ice Skating Rink. The skating rink is friendly to both novices and professional skaters.

Fun Fact: This skating rink is large enough to host the Tennessee Special Olympics Ice-Skating competition each year.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is abundant in expert ice skaters. Therefore, whether you skate or not, pop by the skating ring to behold the fantastic local talent on display.

Wide shot of Ober Gatlinburg-Ice Skating Arena with people on the ice and a cafe in the back in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Jessica Mencia via Facebook

Ice Bumper Cars

Ready to begin 10 minutes of bumper car joys?

Not everyone is a skater or an aspiring skater, but that doesn’t mean they cannot venture out into the rink.

Book yourself a bumper car fun ride and ride around on a section of the rink. Occupying one-third of the ice-skating rink, bumper cars probably produce 100% of the giggles from the rink. Whether you take your car in a circle or bump other cars, this experience is fun guaranteed.

Food & Shopping at Ober Gatlinburg

No day out is ever complete without a spot of delicious food and shopping. With all the tantalizing experiences available at Ober Gatlinburg, why should this experience be any different?

Related Post: 11 Most Romantic Restaurants in Gatlinburg

Unmissable Restaurants and Cafes

Ober Gatlinburg is a delight for all five senses, including smell and taste.

Working up a spectacular appetite on the slopes, wildlife spotting, and skating rink makes hunger inevitable. So head to Seasons of Ober restaurant to relish hand-cut steaks, chicken, and pork with homemade sides.

Seasons of Ober also has one of the most divine views of the Smokies to accompany your food.

If beer and spirits are your preferred refreshers, then The Ober Loft Lounge is perfect for you. You’ll find all your favorite beverages, including craft beer, your favorite wines, and the best spirits your heart could desire.

For a more niche kind of craving, head to:

  • Ski Mountain Grind Haus for delicious coffee and pastries
  • Fudge Shop for some homemade fudge goodness
  • Sidewalk Café for burgers, pizzas, and more!

Pro Tip: The Sidewalk Café overlooks the ice-skating rink. The right table feels like a front-row seat to the Olympics.

Close up of two coffees from Grind Haus at Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Ober Gatlinburg via Facebook

Ski Shops, Souvenirs, and Local Shopping

In league with the best ski slopes of the world, Ober Gatlinburg has also perfected this last detail.

Forgot some of your equipment at home? Want to cement your commitment to skiing today itself? The shops at Ober Gatlinburg have everything you could need.

Head over to:

  • On the Mountain for slope side apparel and gifts
  • Ski Mountain Outdoors for year-round outdoor apparel
  • ·Galleria Gift Shop for the best collection of skiing, snowboarding, and Great Smokies souvenirs
  • O’Bears Playhouse for toys, games, books, and more for the little ones
  • Beer Necessities for gifts after the hearts of beer lovers
  • Family Crest for personalized items, collectibles, pins, and more
  • Puzzled for the best collection of puzzles and games
  • Jensen Imaging  to pick up photos you took on the Tramway

Related Post: The Ultimate Gatlinburg Winter Vacation Guide

After a fantastic day at Ober Gatlinburg within the Great Smoky Mountains, you will feel refreshed. You may also find yourself wondering why all ski resorts don’t offer such a holistic experience.

When you arrive at Ober, there is something for everyone. The adrenaline addicts can spend a day at the ski slopes, and those who would instead sample all activities can go about doing precisely that!

It’s impressive how Ober has taken every season of the year and built a fun experience around it. Whether you try one season annually or return four times a year, OG feels different and familiar all at once. What’s better than that?

Have any other expert planning tips for Ober Gatlinburg?

Let us know in the comments below!


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Written By Sarina

Sarina Byron is a California-based writer whose work has been featured in leading publications such as  Authors Publish, Introvert, Dear, Thrive Global, Boo ...

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    • Hello! The slopes are usually open from mid December through President’s Day weekend at Ober Gatlinburg. Happy skiing! ⛷️

  1. Cheryl Warren says:

    never been to gatlingburg and would love a step by step “best plan” for getting to the slopes will be staying in town and planning on taking tram. when do we buy tickets for tram? when do we buy lift tickets? I figure once we are up there, we find the line for equipment to rent but need help on how/when to get those tickets. Would love to order online a day or two ahead to be ready to go. Thanks in advance for the help!

    • Teresa says:

      Hi Cheryl, we’re so excited you are heading to Gatlinburg! We have updated this article, and we hope you’ll find all the information you could want or need to help plan this incredible trip. Enjoy!

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