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July 16, 2008 2:59 pm

Sleeping Giant hoping to open Thanksgiving

Written by Tribune Staff

Skies and slopes of Sleeping Giant are literally buzzing with activity as vigorous efforts continue in an effort to get the ski area ready when the snow flies.
“We are working toward a Thanksgiving opening,” said Kerry Strike, spokeswoman for Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at getting Sleeping Giant opened again.
The old T-bar lift is gone, as is an old chair lift that sat in the parking lot for 15 years. A triple lift, purchased from Mammoth Mountain, Calif., is on the way. The used lift is in excellent condition and has complete maintenance records, Strike said.
“It is, in essence, exactly what we needed,” Strike said.
The existing double lift has been inspected and will be refurbished, Strike said.
The old rope tow, about halfway up the hill, also is gone. A “Mighty Might” lift for children will be installed in its place. Strike said a “Magic Carpet” lift may be installed in the future, a sort of escalator lift that kids love.
Snow-making equipment is on the way as well.

Strike said snow guns will provide snow for skiers and a fire barrier to protect cabins in the area. It is an ecologically-sound operation, because water will be pulled from the Shoshone River, and when the snow melts in the spring, the water will return to the same source.
Although the size of the ski area will remain the same as it was in the original lease with the U.S. Forest Service, more trails will be added. The area had 47 acres of trails. Now it will contain 180 acres of trails, Strike said.
The old ski tuning equipment has been donated to the Cody High School ski team, and new equipment will take its place, Strike said.
Old lift cabins are being refurbished for the ski patrol station, and general clean-up, painting and repair continues on buildings at the ski area. Construction of the maintenance building also is under way, Strike said.
Strike said information on the cost of lift tickets will be available in the near future.
Sleeping Giant organizers also are looking for ski-patrol personnel and are offering classes. Anyone interested may call Harvey Copeland at (307) 587-5403 or Sandra Whalen at (307) 527-6388.