Great Bear Ski Valley enjoying record start to winter season

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — After starting the season later than desired due to a lack of snow, business is booming at Great Bear Ski Valley.

Great Bear Ski Valley is enjoying a record start to the winter season.

“We’ve only been open three weeks, we’ve had in excess of 20,000 visits so far. That’s about half our budget,” Great Bear Ski Valley General Manager Dan Grider said.

With more and more people hitting the slopes, rental equipment is in high demand.

“We’ve been selling out every weekend, the numbers have been huge, so we’ve got some plans for next year to expand that rental operation,” Grider said.

Maddie and Sophie Rand had the day off of school and beat the morning rush.

“She’s going snowboarding and I’m going tubing,” Maddie Rand said.

The sisters have no problem masking up as part of Great Bear’s COVID-19 protocols, for the most part.

“It’s a little annoying when you have to tie your shoes and it like falls off,” Sophie Rand said.

Grider says most guests have been willing to follow the new rules.

“Some people don’t follow the policies, so we remind them and provide them a mask if they need one, but by and large everybody’s playing along. We all just want a nice, safe, healthy season,” Grider said.

Great Bear is hosting a Fun Ski on Friday and Saturday. The long list of events includes a Family Tube Night on Friday with proceeds benefiting the Children’s Inn.

“We are going to donate $3 from every tubing ticket sold on Friday to the Children’s Inn. Great cause and everybody really supports it,” Grider said.

That event is on, but the annual tube races have been canceled.

“We just didn’t feel comfortable putting people together in groups where they didn’t know each other, so we just decided to skip it this year,” Grider said.

The slopes at Great Bear still aren’t 100% open, but Grider plans to make more snow when temperatures drop later this week.

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