Ski slopes are open at Great Bear

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s the day skiers and snowboarders have been waiting for — Great Bear Ski Valley in Sioux Falls is officially open for the winter season.

Great Bear Ski Valley fired up its snow guns on December 6.

After weeks of making snow and watching it melt, temperatures finally tumbled, allowing crews to make and groom snow, and open for the season.

“Excitement, pent up demand, finally (laugh),” Great Bear Ski Valley General Manager Dan Grider said.

The past 48 hours have been a whirlwind of activity, especially when it comes to making snow.

“When you get temperatures that cold, we can open up the guns completely. At that point we’re probably pumping out about a thousand gallons a minute of water,” Grider said.

“Making snow, grooming, they have signs and ropes to put up, inside we’re making sure everything’s good to go, that all of our registers are working and we’ve got tickets ready and there’s definitely a lot of last minute preparations,” Director of Communications Alexa Jerstead said.

With about 40% of trails open, lift ticket sales are limited and must be purchased online.

“If you’re a season pass holder, you’re unrestricted. There are no restrictions on season pass holders. We of course will increase that capacity as we get more of the hill open,” Grider said.

Wind chills are expected to slide into dangerous territory Friday night, and Great Bear has pushed up the timeline of its celebration.

“We had planned on being open Friday, New Year’s Eve until midnight and then shooting off fireworks. We’ve rolled that back to 10:00 p.m. when we’re going to close and shoot off the fireworks. It’s just going to be dangerously cold,” Grider said.

Due to the cold, Grider says they’ll reopen at noon New Year’s Day.

Great Bear hopes to have its tubing park open next weekend.

Click HERE for ticket information.

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