SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Great Bear Ski Valley re-opens Thursday after being closed since Monday in order to make new snow. This unusually long three-day shutdown will allow Great Bear to open all of its runs for the rest of the season.
Snow guns have been taking aim at Great Bear Ski Valley’s snow-depleted landscape, day and night, all week long.
“Behind this mask I’m smiling. Yeah, it’s great to be 100-percent open,” Great Bear Ski Valley General Manager Dan Grider said.
Great Bear usually has all of its runs open by the holiday break. But Great Bear had only been operating at 50-percent this season, while relying on its maintenance crews to artificially build-up the base.
“We always want to make sure we’re fully-staffed day and night, so we can take advantage of the best conditions to make snow,” Great Bear maintenance worker Nathan VanMaanen said.
“It’s a cool feeling to know that you’re the one who makes all the snow that people ride on and enjoy. It’s a lot of fun knowing that people have fun because of you,” Great Bear maintenance worker Romario Rodriguez said.
While being shut down in the middle of winter is not ideal, Great Bear says the timing of this cold spell is just right when it comes to making a fresh batch of new snow.
“We saw this forecast coming, it came at the right time, kind of slow days, Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, we said, let’s shut her down and bury the hill,” Grider said.
Great Bear has been on a record pace for attendance this season. And the crowds that have been absent for the last three days are expected to pick up where they left off, once the snow guns shut down and the park opens up.
This lengthy snow-making session will likely mean no more temporary closures during the season at Great Bear. Crews can still make snow at night if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.
Great Bear officially reopens at 3 p.m. Thursday.