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Great Bear Recreation Park Dealing With Strong Winds

January 17, 2014, 4:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Great Bear Recreation Park Dealing With Strong Winds
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Not having the ability to see in front of you creates problems whether you're on the roads or on the slopes. Staff at Great Bear Recreation Park saw the bad weather coming a day ahead of time and closed the hill before the blizzard arrived.

"It was horrible. There were times that you couldn't see the chair lift from the building. So, it was a no-brainer at that point," Jill Lerdal said.

The strong wind was the biggest factor in shutting things down, but there are other things Great Bear management takes into consideration when making that call.

"Wind chill, speed of the wind and the direction is really important. A northwest wind is something we absolutely don't want because that causes the most problems for the chair lift," Lerdal said.

While it may not be to the extent of Thursday's winds, Saturday will still likely pack a punch. As of right now, the park will remain open, but with a few conditions.

"They'll probably try to run the chair lift a little bit at reduced speed. If the outside guys or the ski patrol or management determines at any point that this becomes dangerous or maybe a little unsafe for guests, they will shut the chair lift down," Lerdal said.

The decision to close down a place like Great Bear is based on safety, and the people that go there on a regular basis will be disappointed, but they know that the weather would just get in the way.

"Some of them will be like 'Eh, you know, stay open,' but they understand that they're probably not having a whole lot of fun out there either. So, it's a better decision to close it," Lerdal said.

Lerdal did mention that if the winds are bad enough to close down the lift but are still tolerable, the tubing hill will still be open for anyone who wants to stop out for the day.

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