Donner Ski Mountain, a popular mountain resort near Florence, Georgia, is returning to life as of Saturday afternoon, after two years of renovation and major changes to its main attraction.
The mountain reopened on April 6, 2018, after a $5 million renovation, and will offer more than 200 days of snow, with the majority coming during the peak season, which runs from April through October.
“We have been working hard for years to keep the resort in a top-notch condition, and we are pleased to finally have it back,” Donner Chairman and CEO Gary T. Donner Jr. said in a statement.
The ski resort is open to the public this season, with reservations accepted starting today, and customers can book tickets for any day of the year, starting April 6.
The resort has been closed to the general public since October, after the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) shut down the property and the Georgia Dome on the grounds of the mountain’s construction.
The DNR closed the site on October 30, 2018.
It reopened after two seasons in a “closed” condition, where it was “virtually impossible to get to the resort and enjoy the resort,” according to a statement on the resort’s website.
The property has since been re-opened, with an estimated cost of $10 million.
“This will be our first season as a full-service resort,” Donnner Ski Resort CEO John R. Mowrer said in an email.
“While the park is closed to non-residents, we expect a lot of our guests to enjoy the ski resort and all of its attractions, including the Georgia State Fair.”
The DOR shut down portions of the resort for two years after a flood in January 2019.
After the closure, the resort had to relocate its ski area to a new location in Florence, according to the DNR.
The new facility has also been equipped with water filtration systems, new bathrooms, new food and beverage concessions, and the addition of new lifts and elevators, according the DOR.
The hotel and the rest of the park will remain closed for the duration of the restoration project.
The reopening will be followed by a three-day ski festival at Donner Mountain from March 26 through April 10, and a three day snow festival from May 12 through May 19.
The Georgia Dome, a state-of-the-art structure located at the top of Donner’s hill, will be restored in 2019, but its reopening is not expected to happen until the fall.
The Dome, which has been on the market since 2016, was originally supposed to reopen in 2019 after it was closed for two months during Hurricane Irma.
“The Dome is now the state’s most popular destination and will remain so for many years to come,” Donneners management said in the release.
The restoration project is expected to take at least six months, the DDO said.
“As the park and the surrounding area undergo extensive restoration and rehabilitation, the ski resorts in the area will be open for the public to enjoy, including both the outdoor and indoor facilities,” the D DO said.
It also noted that the project will not affect the general operating budget for the resort, which is expected not to incur any additional costs during the reopening.
A snow festival in Georgia’s capital city of Athens, Georgia will be held this weekend, with events ranging from food trucks to live music, according Facebook page for the event.
“Donner Ski & Snow is pleased to announce that our second WinterFest event will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2019 at the Donner Hotel in Athens, GA,” the event page said.
In an email to the News24 staff, Donner said, “After more than a decade of preparation and hard work, the Donnners historic Donner Resort is back in operation.
The skiing and snow sports will once again be the focus of the entire resort and the entire Donner family.
We have been able to make this historic location and its iconic attraction more accessible for guests of all ages, in an effort to make sure they can enjoy the park at their own pace.”
The resort was closed to residents of Georgia and the District of Columbia for three months in 2019 following a flooding event in January.
In February, the owner of the Donners property, Gary T Donner, announced the resort would reopen on May 10, 2019, in order to allow for more extensive repairs and improvements.
The park was closed from January 26 through May 5.
Donners ski resort will be one of the largest in the world, with nearly 300 million skiers and snowboarders taking part in its annual snow event, which lasts through the end of May, according a website for the park.
The snow event is one of several annual celebrations held at the park, with other events such as the annual Georgia State Flag Day and the annual State Flag Parade.