GATLINBURG (WATE) – Tennessee Emergency Management Agency reported that Ober Gatlinburg was reportedly entirely destroyed, but a spokesperson from Ober Gatlinburg said they are okay and the animals are safe.
“A video posted on Ober Gatlinburg appears to show the facility is OK this morning. We received on-the-ground reports last night and early this morning indicating the facility was destroyed. We are relieved to know this important Tennessee destination is still there,” said TEMA in a statement.
The Downtown Tramway Mall will open Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The opening includes Ski Mountain Grind Haus Coffee Shop, LeConte Deli, Tramway Gifts, Mountaineer Candy Kitchen, Silver Galleon, Miss Sadie’s Old Time Photos, Spa To Go and the Green River Gallery. Free shuttles will be departing from the mall.
Ober Gatlinburg’s Mountain location will reopen December 12. Free shuttles will be departing from the mall. Outdoor activities will be available including: Ski Mountain Coaster, Snow Tubing, Wildlife Encounter and Scenic Chairlift. Depending on weather conditions the Alpine Slide will be open. Indoor activities that will be available include: the Ice Rink, Carousel, Seasons of Ober Restaurant, The Loft Lounge, Sidewalk Cafe, The Market, The Fudge Shoppe, Ober Snack Bar, Ski Mountain Sports, Slopeside Apparel and Gifts, O’Bear’s Playhouse, The Galleria Logo Shop, Family Crests, Jensen Images and The Leather Shop.
The Aerial Tramway will stay closed until inspections are done and cleared. A cable specialist inspected the cables for the attraction Wednesday. A Doppelmayr representative and an electronics engineer will be continuing inspections on Friday. Inspections will include the towers and control room. The state will also complete an inspection for the tramway.
Kate Barido with Ober Gatlinburg said a man who is a shop owner on the mountain posted a video last week showing the ski lodge. Barido said several people tried to evacuate, but got stuck on Ski Mountain Road in Gatlinburg.
“He went back up and our first lot there at the top is actually a safe zone where they stage firetrucks and we had some evacuees actually stay the night in the mall,” said Barido. “Our structure is safe and we have plenty of space around the trees and a lot of our structure is made from steel, so that really set us up to be okay. We’re just really thankful for all the people out there working right now.”
“I actually live on Gatlinburg in the Spur and we evacuated last night at 7:00 p.m. and it was absolute chaos as far as getting off with the traffic and it was basically wild,” said Barido. “I don’t know what else to say, but we had so many emergency people out from different counties really working hard to help us out here. It is really amazing how people come together in these horrible situations.”
Now staying with some friends, Barido said her family is safe.