Snow tubing to open this weekend, the earliest ever

Snow mounds 20 feet tall at Ober Gatlinburg made from new snow machines. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Ober Gatlinburg plans to open snow tubing on Friday, which will be the earliest the ski resort has ever offered tubing. Ober Gatlinburg says this will be the earliest tubing in the Southeast.

Ober Gatlinburg has been working on building snow for the 400 feet long, 50 foot vertical drop since the middle of September using a new snow making system called SnowMagic.

The SnowMagic Infinite Crystals Snow making (ICS) system is revolutionary and completely different from other snow making systems that require temperatures below freezing. The ICS system freezes water to create tiny snow crystals. Using its controlled and cooled forced-air technology, the snow crystals are blown out with explosive force, creating snow with a natural feel and texture at an average micron size of 0.3 millimeters in diameter.

“We are excited about the prospects of a great season.” said Bruce Anders, president of Ober Gatlinburg, Inc., “The SnowMagic system allows us to offer snow tubing to our guests much earlier and gives us the capability to maintain the quality of the tubing surface in the event we experience another unusually mild winter.”

The snow tubing schedule this weekend will be 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, with 1.5 hour sessions beginning every two hours. Rates per session are $20 on weekdays and $25 on weekends and holidays. Special rates are available weekdays for church, school, scout and other groups.

Ober Gatlinburg is celebrating 50 years of business in the Smoky Mountains this year.

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