Sledding fun need not be limited to the winter season, as Ober Gatlinburg’s popular alpine slide demonstrates. Take in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains as you race downhill on a cart resembling an alpine sled.
A tried and tested attraction, the alpine slide has been an Ober Gatlinburg favorite for generations. The slide was first installed in 1976 — just a few years after Ober made its mark by installing the aerial tram. Today, young and old visitors alike appreciate both the views and the thrills that this beloved ride supply. This slide might not be new or flashy, but that doesn’t stop crowds from gathering for a thrilling ride. Sometimes, classic rides are best.
Your journey actually begins with the scenic chairlift, which only adds to the experience. Riding the chairlift can prove a bit of a challenge for those afraid of heights, but it’s more than worthwhile for the sake of the alpine slide. If you dislike heights, you can take solace in knowing that you need only ride the chairlift to its midway point, where you’ll be allowed to exit and get in line for the slide. Otherwise, you’ll appreciate the scenic views on the way up. You’ll observe not only the natural beauty of the mountains, but also other riders making their way down the slide.
Once you’ve arrived at the entrance, you’ll be assisted by one of Ober’s friendly staff members. If you’re nervous, this attendant will set your mind at ease with kind words or a silly joke. Otherwise, you’ll receive a brief overview of how the slide works and how you can keep safe before you take off.
In many ways, Ober’s alpine slide functions like the park’s beloved mountain coaster. Your cart looks a lot like a sled, but it includes a lever to help you control your pace. Push forward on the lever for a quick and thrilling ride down the mountain — or pull back to slow down. Ultimately, you are in control of your experience on the alpine slide. This element is appealing to those initially nervous about navigating the track. When in doubt, plan to ride twice; once to test the waters at a slow pace, and once to speed up when you feel comfortable.
Ober’s alpine slide actually consists of two parallel slides. While many visitors take on this journey alone, others ride alongside a friend or even race their buddy down the slope. Tandem rides are allowed for young children, who can enjoy the descent alongside a responsible adult.
If you seek a blend of thrills and throwback charm, you’ll find it with Ober Gatlinburg’s alpine slide. This is one mountain journey worth taking.
Precipitation can play a huge role in the operation of several Ober Gatlinburg rides and activities. This is especially true of the alpine slide. This particular ride tends to be one of the first to close when inclement weather strikes, as problematic conditions can make it all but impossible to maintain a safe track. If you’re determined to try the slide, be sure to visit on a day in which the forecast spells little chance of rain.
Bring a pair of sturdy, close-toed shoes. Not only are flip-flops likely to fall off during this ride, you may not even be allowed to enter if you lack proper footwear.