2 U.S. Ski Resorts Forced to Close Early Due to Warm Temperatures and Lack of Snow

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Ober Mountain
Snow cannons could not save the Ober Mountain ski area this season | Picture: Ober Mountain Facebook Page

While the West Coast has been inundated with record snowfalls this season, other ski areas in the Mid-West and Mid-East have not faired as well. Ober Mountain, TN, and Paoli Peaks, IN, closed their ski areas yesterday, Wednesday, February 22, 2023, and won’t reopen for the remainder of the 22/23 season.

Ober Mountain
Ober Mountain in the last few weeks before being forced to close | Picture: Ober Mountain Facebook Page

Ober Mountain is Tennessee’s only ski area and celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. The ski resort is located in Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains, about 225 miles from Nashville. The resort is situated at 2,687ft and reaches 3,455ft at its peak elevation. Six lifts service ten runs. The resort has invested recently in snowmaking, but unfortunately, it was simply too warm this year to continue operations. The resort stated on its website:

Due to continued unseasonably warm temperatures, as of Thursday 2/23/2023, the Ski/Snowboard Slopes are Closed for the 22/23 Winter Season. Thank You 

While the ski area is closed, their aerial tramway and scenic chair lift remain open, as well as the Ski Mountain coaster and ice skating rink.

Ober Mountain
Ober Mountain Trail Map | Picture: Ober Mountain Website

Trail Map Paoli
Paoli Peaks Trail Map | Picture: Paoli Peaks Website

Paoli Peaks is a small ski resort in Indiana in the Hoosier National Forest, 100 miles south of Indianapolis. Paoli Peaks is situated on a natural hill at 900ft altitude and offers 300ft of vertical—eight lifts and tows service 17 runs. Paoli Peaks uses its snowmaking capabilities to ensure plenty of snow for visitors. Paoli Peaks likewise announced yesterday on social media and their website:

Today is the last day of the 2022-23 season at Paoli Peaks. 
Mother Nature wasn’t on our side this year, and while we worked hard to manage through the rain and warm weather, we no longer have the snow base needed to remain open. We are deeply grateful to our team members who made snow at every opportunity and operated the hill with dedication and passion. You are the heart of this resort – thank you!
And to our guests, we extend our gratitude for your understanding, and for your passion for skiing and riding. We’re just as disappointed as you that this season didn’t have better weather in store, but we have no doubt we’ll all be back soon. We care deeply about this resort and will be working hard in the off season to prepare for a better season ahead. We look forward to welcoming you out to Paoli Peaks next season.
If you purchased tickets for skiing, snowboarding, tubing or ski school lessons, we are proactively emailing guests to issue refunds. Thank you for your patience as we work through this process.
– Chris Shadid, General Manager
Paoli Peaks
The last few days at Paoli Peaks before the closure | Picture: Paoli Peaks Facebook Page
It has been a tale of two cities for the US this year, with the West Coast breaking 30-year records while the rest of the country has been experiencing a below-average season. Many ski areas in Vermont had to close temporarily earlier in the year as the state recorded its warmest January on record. Hopefully, Vermont ski resorts will be able to see their ski season through to March, as a storm is expected to bring up to 15 inches of snow in the next 24 hours. Catskills ski resorts have reported springlike conditions in the last few weeks after the brief cold snap earlier in February. New York had its second warmest January on record, while New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut recorded all-time warmest January.
January USA weather
Weather events across the US in January 2023 | Picture: NOAA Website

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