Pros: Convenient, friendly, great value, terrain park, lots to do for non skiers
Cons: Climate, conditions, it's small, and has lots and lots of beginners.
Set in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge area, it is the perfect place to come ski if you have non skiers in your family or group. The whole place is set up for destination tourism and really, there are just too many hotels, restaurants and attractions to list.
To get to the resort, you can drive up but you are better off taking the Aerial Tramway. Two cars with a capacity of 120 passengers each travel back and forth about every 20 minutes, making the 2.1-mile ride up to the resort in about 10 minutes. So instead of driving up the mountain, trying to find a place to park , and then carrying your gear up from some lower parking lot, you get to ride one one of America's largest aerial tramways, get a fantastic scenic view of the Smoky Mountains, and you are then delivered right to the resort.
Once inside, everything seems designed to quickly and smoothly handle an incredible amount of people. Inside the resort itself you will find an ice rink, shops, a ski shop, snack bars, a restaurant and a lounge.
After you get your lift tickets, you can rent a locker and rent your equipment. One suggestion is that if you didn't bring your own equipment and have time, you would be better of renting your equipment at Alpine Ski Center in nearby Knoxville. Ober attracts large amounts of beginners, and the employees seem to be foreign guest workers. This can make their equipment rental process less than optimal, and with the conditions that Ober can have, sharp skis and correctly fitting boots are vital to get the most out of it.
The climate, and being only a little over 30 acres are really the only drawback of Ober Gatlinburg, other than it being so crowded. It's a great place to ski!
About those conditions... there is nothing Ober Gatlinburg can do about the climate in the South. But they have learned to wring every ounce out of it they can and will make snow when people would think it's impossible for them to do so.
However, you have to accept that the best skiing is from opening to lunch, after lunch it's probably going to be wet, and a soon as the Sun sets early behind the mountains, all the wet artificial snow that has been packed down and scraped by the throngs of that day's beginners is going to freeze hard.
But if you are good in those conditions and have sharp skis, as the dusk settles the lift lines are going to clear out, the new skiers are going to call it the day, and you and other more experienced skiers are going to have the run of the mountain. It is common to ski down and right onto the next chairlift. The evening is is my favorite time to ski.
Hope to see you here!