Mechanical problem delays opening of Great Bear’s tubing hill

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Great Bear Ski Valley is expecting big crowds this weekend with the warmer temperatures in the forecast. But people excited to hit the tubing hill will have to wait a little longer than planned.

Great Bear’s tubing hill was supposed to open Friday. But a mechanical problem with the Snowcat that grooms the hill will delay its opening for one more day.

“The piece of equipment that we use to actually carve the lanes out, we had something break on that. We tried to get it overnighted-in last night. It’s not going to get here until later this afternoon. So, we’ll have it ready for tomorrow,” Great Bear General Manager Dan Grider said.

The skiing and snowboarding runs get priority when it comes to prep work at Great Bear. But it’s important to also get the tubing hill open since it can account for up to 45-percent of Great Bear’s business.

“We always focus on the skiing side first because of our season pass-holders. So once we get the front half open, then we can start working on our tubing hill and back runs and that’s really what this last cold snap has helped us do,” Grider said.

Great Bear reopened Friday after being shut-down the past couple of days because of high winds. This uneven start to the season has been a challenge for skiers and snowboarders.

“It’s incredibly frustrating. I’d just as soon had snow in early December and stay 20-degrees all winter and melt in March,” Garretson skier Jason Sage said.

“This is odd. I’ve been here 30-years and I’ve never seen anything quite like this, the constantly-changing weather patterns,” Grider said.

But the weather should be in Great Bear’s favor this weekend, drawing large crowds of skiers, snowboarders, and come Saturday, tubers.

The tubing hill is scheduled to open at 1 p.m. Saturday. There will be laser tubing on the hill as part of the citywide Frosty Frolics Saturday night.

Great Bear is hoping to have all of its runs open by Sunday.

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