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November 22, 2004 06:15 PM

Great Bear Snow Making Delayed


The mild end of fall has skiers and snowboarders wondering where the snow is. Workers at Great Bear are also concerned about when Mother Nature will drop temperatures.

It may boast the only snow in eastern South Dakota, but Great Bear has a long way to go. The snow guns at the hill started up Sunday morning to cover the slopes. But above average temperatures are slowing the full-time operation.

Area Director, Dan Grider, says the initial snow was just a test. He says, "You just want to make sure your system's up and working correctly and you don't have any problems so if it does get really cold out, you can go right after it."

Grider is optimistic about a cooler forecast. He just hopes the weather turns in time to prepare for a big snowboard competition less than three weeks away.

Grider says, "It doesn't take a whole lot for the weather to change to get us going. But this is kind of unfortunately typical recently."

Last November, it was clearly a different story at the hill. But Grider says that was an extraordinary case.

He says, "Last year we started making snow November 6 which was a record for us as far as starting early."

And while Great Bear may look more like spring than early winter, Grider says they only need five days to get the hill ready.

He says, "We're going to get this open as soon as we can but, you know, we're ready, we just need the weather to change."

Temperatures have to stay below 28­ and the humidity can't exceed 85%. Weather permitting, Grider would like to have the hill open by the beginning of December. But there's only one thing skiers and snowboarders can do for now.

Grider says, "Be patient. We're trying to be patient as well."

If the weather cooperates, Grider says they'll begin making snow again by tomorrow night.

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