Great Bear Ski Valley starts making snow

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With temperatures hovering near single digits overnight, Great Bear Ski Valley in Sioux Falls started the process of making snow.

The slopes are still awfully brown, but they’re making snow at Great Bear Ski Valley.

“The guys fired up at about 3:00 a.m. last night. As you can see we’ve got multiple guns running, about eight so far, and we hope to run through Wednesday morning,” Great Bear Ski Valley Director of Communications Alexa Jerstead said.

“That’s it, that’s what we wanted. We’ve been waiting for that for a long time. It’s a little bit later in the year than what we like but we’re ready to go,” Great Bear Ski Valley Mountain Manager Kyle Vanderberg said.

Kyle Vanderberg is a Mountain Manager at Great Bear. He says making snow is about connecting the dots, starting with the main hill and bunny hill.

“We’ve got to make sure that people can get off the lift, down the hill, back on the lift and also from the bunny hill down to the main part of the hill. After that, we start to fill in the blanks, get the back runs going, get this whole side of the hill going, get you some tubing and get her going,” Vanderberg said.

Science plays a big role in the snow-making process as man-made snow doesn’t melt as fast as natural flakes.

“We add a thing called Snomax in there that actually makes it last longer. It lines up the snow so that when it does melt it melts all the way to the ground instead of melting all the other snow with it and then it goes to the ground, finds the nearest drain and maintains the snow that we do have,” Vanderberg said.

In 2020, the man-made flakes started flying on November 30th, but Great Bear didn’t open until Christmas break. This year, they’re simply hoping for sooner than later.

“As far as an opening day goes we can’t say yet, but we’ll open as soon as we possibly can,” Jerstead said.

Click HERE to watch them make snow at Great Bear Ski Valley.

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