GATLINBURG, Tenn. -

East Tennessee's top winter sports destination has opened for skiing more than two weeks ahead of schedule due to recent snow and cold temperatures.

WBIR-TV reports that Ober Gatlinburg opened on Friday, which makes it the earliest opening date for the Sevier County skiing area since 1989.

About 16 to 20 inches of natural and man-made snow were on the ground as of Saturday. If that snow melts from a late autumn warm spell, Ober can use their "Snow Magic" machinery. It creates 150,000 feet of snow nightly.

Three of the nine slopes are currently open. The remaining trails should be open by year's end.