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Great Bear Does Brisk Business

December 31, 2012, 6:04 PM by Angela Kennecke

Great Bear Does Brisk Business
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The cold weather isn't stopping people from flocking to Great Bear Recreation Park. In fact, the ski business has never been better.

Andrew Bingen and his friends didn't do a lot of snowboarding last winter because of the warm weather and lack of snow. This year started out the same, but now it's a different story.

"I was out here as much as I could last year, but now I've been here eight or nine, maybe ten times this year," Bingen said.

Bingen is not alone. There's a long line to get on the ski lift Monday.

"Last year we had some warm, mild temperatures. It was great to go skiing in those temperatures last year but it really didn't get people enthusiastic about winter. That snowfall we got a few days ago makes it feel like winter all over the region and people have been flocking to Great Bear and having a great time,” Great Bear General Manager Dan Grider said.

Sydney Hybertson brought her neighbor to the park for the first time this winter.  She says the cold weather doesn't bother her a bit.

"I actually like it on these kind of days. It's really icy and smooth and snowboarding, you get to go fast and it's really fun," Hybertson said.

Hybertson isn't the only one who prefers the cold.

"Because it's cold and icy, so then you can go faster,” skier Megan Nelson said.

The only down side, if there is one, is that it takes a little bit longer to jump on the lift to ride to the top.

"We've been on a stretch here now for four or five days, where we've just been so busy. I can't recall it ever being this busy, this long," Grider said.

And even though Great Bear only just opened the middle of this month, the number of visitors could set a record.

"For the number of days we've been open in December, we didn't open until December 14, it looks like we'll have over 10,000 visits in those 16 days we've been open.  And that is a record for that period of time," Grider said.

And with more cold temperatures in the forecast, these kids say they'll definitely be back.

"I like doing 180s and 360s and rails and stuff like that and jumps," Bingen said.

"You get to do all these twists and turns and when you fall down.  It's actually kind of fun because you get to slide down and have fun," Nelson said.

"I love going to Great Bear; it's really fun," Hybertson said.

Great Bear has a fireworks show to ring in the New Year Monday evening at midnight. Great bear is also open Tuesday  and Wednesday, from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.

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