Did You Know that there is a Ski Slope in Alabama?
Winter has arrived and brought with it bone chilling, frigid temperatures. While it has only brought a few inches here and there of the white stuff, the well below freezing temperatures were enough to make one local attraction very happy…and a lot of their customers too!
Cloudmont Ski Resort, the only ski slope in Alabama, is located right here on Lookout Mountain in the tiny resort town of Mentone. This season, they have managed to cover a full 1000 foot slope that has an elevation of 1,800 feet and a vertical rise of 150 feet on one side and a teaching slope on the other with enough of the white stuff to create a fun adventure for the whole family.
Whether you are a “newbie”, which is a beginner, or a serious amateur, which is not a beginner, this is the place for you! By offering rental equipment, such as skis, boots, poles and snow boards, expert guidance from their instructors, snacks, drinks and a cozy wood burning fire, Cloudmont shows off their accommodating southern hospitality.
It is a great place to take the entire family. Thousands come during the season at Cloudmont, which usually lasts as long as Mother Nature cooperates. They need a few days of below freezing temperatures before they can begin to make the snow and then a few days to get the slopes covered. We had cooperating weather for a while and they were able to cover both slopes, but then Mother Nature swooped in with 60 plus degree weather for a few days and took some of the white stuff with her. With the below freezing temperatures back, they are back to blowing snow.
If you have never been skiing, now is the time to give it a try. Or if you haven’t been this year, it is still a good time for you to give it a go!
I remember my first time on the slopes; it was just a few years ago when I became eager to learn how to “hone” my skills at Cloudmont Ski Resort. You can go ahead and laugh now. I remember laughing hysterically on the inside because my body outside was too sore to move.
I stepped into the rustic mountain lodge to order my boots and skis from the lady behind the counter. “Size 7 please”, I said. She was very polite and helped me get my boots and my skis picked out and handed me my poles. No way am I trying the snowboard very first thing. That will come after I have mastered the skis. She asked, “Is this your first time skiing?” I replied, “Yes ma’am, it is.” She proceeded to tell me about the FREE beginner lessons that are offered. Thanks, but no thanks. I can do this myself. I am an athlete, I will be fine. So I politely declined.
I am an athlete. I played basketball, co-ed softball, volleyball and ran track. I can ice skate and roller skate. Surely I can ski, even though I have never tried. How hard can it be? I do not need to waste my time taking lessons on the “bunny slope”. I AM AN ATHLETE for crying out loud!
So I grabbed my lift ticket and head over to the benches around the fire to sit down. I put on my boots and bundled myself up, then I headed out the door. I walked (looking somewhat like a robot, I am sure) through the snow toward the ski lift. I dropped my skis, popped them on and glided over to hop on the pony lift.
I thought to myself, this looks easy enough. The cable comes around, you grab the T-bar, hold on tight and it takes you to the top. No problem. So I take off. The cable came around, I grabbed the T-bar, held on tight and there I went…face first into the snow. What just happened? Why am I lying on the ground? Then I heard someone say, “roll out”! Roll out? What? Then I realized he was talking to me so I began to roll from under the lift cable. I looked up to see a nice young gentleman standing there to help me up. Thank you kindly, young lad. So, with my mildly bruised ego, I headed off to try it again. This time I was victorious and made it all the way to the top. This is going to be fun, I thought. So I glided over very gracefully to the top of the hill. Here goes nothing.
I pushed off with a gentle glide and my downhill decent began. Three seconds later I was on my butt, but not stopping. I had managed to sit down on my skis just perfectly so that I couldn’t get back up, I couldn’t use my poles (which I promptly dropped), I couldn’t steer, and my speed downhill was rapidly increasing. This is just great! So, I held on for dear life and screamed like the girl that I am. Finally, I landed mangled in the orange netting at the foot of the hill. By the way, you were supposed to stop yourself way before you got to this point!
I gathered my composure and sprung to my feet only to hear that tiny part of my brain screaming, “How about those FREE lessons now?” Yes, I think so.
So, I took my free lessons on the bunny slope, as first suggested; too bad I didn’t listen. The instructor was great. He showed me how to keep my knees bent, but not so far that I actually sit down, and keep my skis pointed slightly inward so that I could keep them in control (somewhat). He spent enough time with me so that I was comfortable and was taking the bunny slope like a champ!
I spent the rest of the day perfecting my stride down the hill, not without a few tumbles, bruises and yells along the way though. This was an adventure for the books and well worth the money. I do suggest the free beginner lessons if you have never been before. They are a must, athlete or not!
Cloudmont is located on County Road 614 in Mentone. Their hours of operation are (as previously stated, dependent on weather) as follows: weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; weekends and holidays are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Please call in advance to make reservations and check skiing conditions before you go. Also note that ski equipment can be reserved.
For more information you can call 256-634-4344 or go to www.cloudmont.com. An assortment of ski chalets, cabins, bed and breakfast inns, and hotels are available within a short drive to Cloudmont Ski Resort for those looking to stay overnight. For more information about local lodging, visit our Lodging page. #SkiBama