OLYMPIC ZONE: A taste of the Winter Olympics on the slopes in AL - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

OLYMPIC ZONE: A taste of the Winter Olympics on the slopes in Alabama

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MENTONE, AL (WRCB) -- The winter Olympics feature seven snow sports and even though we don't get much snow here in the Tennessee Valley you can do just about every winter sport including skiing and snowboarding.

Of course we're talking about the southernmost ski slop, Cloudmont Ski Resort in Mentone, Alabama.

Part owner Gary Jones is the Yellowhammer state's only head snowmaker, you can also call him the mad scientist because after decades of making snow he's got it down to a science.

Jones said, "if you wanted to make powder you have to do it a certain way. You can't just jump out there and make snow. It's a lot of hard work but I enjoy doing it. So if done the wrong way you end up with a hill of ice. Yeah and that's no fun."

They've been making snow in Alabama for more than four decades, which is a feat by itself but they're not just making it to make snow. They're giving the public to get a taste of the Winter Olympics. You can rent snowboards, skis and even take lessons.

Jones said, "we've taught probably 100,000 people how to ski from here and all over the area."

Scottsboro native Alan Everett learned to ski at Cloudmont 20-years ago, he's since traveled the nation skiing but still comes back five times a year.

"It's a good place to learn, especially if you're going out to aspen it's good to come and spend a couple of days and get your ski legs under you and head on out," said Everett.

On a good year Cloudmont is open for 80-days and during Olympic years business spikes.

"People they start saying skiing, they hear Alabama and they're close, they say lets go check it out. That's good. It gets everybody fired up," said Jones.

Regular Becca Guthrie says getting the chance to ski gives her more reason to appreciate our Olympic athletes.

"It's just inspiring, you watch them realize how hard they work because you get to come up and practice."

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