SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The extended stretch of snow and cold has one Sioux Falls business grinning from ear to ear.
With a fresh coat of snow covering the hill, Great Bear Ski Valley is open for the season.
“This is the first time in 30 years we’ve opened up with 100% of our trails open. We are just so excited,” Great Bear Ski Valley General Manager Dan Grider said.
With 14 downhill trails, a tubing park, and no shortage of eager skiers, snowboarders, and tubers, General Manager Dan Grider has high hopes for opening day.
“Oh, I’m sure it’s going to be in excess of 1,000 people. The parking lot’s already full, lines are starting at the lift, going to be a fantastic day,” Grider said.
“It’s a great little asset that we have to be able to get out and do something that you ordinarily aren’t able to do in smaller cities,” Sioux Fall resident Joe Smyrak said.
Joe Smyrak has been coming to Great Bear for 20 years. He received a season pass as a Christmas present and came out on opening day to get away from the snow at home.
“I bought a home this year and I’ve been shoveling more snow than I know what to do with but it’s great for out here, so we’re really excited about it, snow’s great,” Smyrak said.
“A lot of people haven’t seen each other since last winter, so there’s a lot of high fives going on, a lot of hugs, a lot of smiles,” Grider said.
This week won’t make or break the season but Grider says it goes a long way in guaranteeing success.
“Last couple years we didn’t get open until almost the 31st of December so we missed out on most of the holiday. We’re really excited this year, first time in awhile that we’ve gotten open, especially in these fantastic conditions,” Grider said.
Great Bear has special hours throughout the holidays, including a fireworks show this Saturday night at midnight to ring in the new year.