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September 30, 2008 3:00 am

Support efforts to reopen ski area

Written by Tribune Staff

The recent announcement that Sleeping Giant Ski Area will not reopen this year was a disappointment to many.

The North Fork ski area, closed since 2004, is the place where many Park County residents first experienced the joy of flying down a snow-covered mountain.
The Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, the non-profit group behind the revitalization of the ski area, says funding hasn't come in as quickly

as necessary for the area to operate during the 2008-2009 season. Organizers were correct in concluding that going into debt before the area is even operating would not be a wise choice.

The foundation must raise about $3 million for various improvements, including a new chair lift, snow-making equipment and a major expansion of skiable terrain — from 47 acres to 180 acres. So far, the foundation has drummed up about $1.3 million. A $500,000 grant from the Wyoming Business Council could push the total close to $2 million. But there's still a long way to go.

The Yellowstone Recreations Foundation and its supporters have emphasized the benefits of Sleeping Giant being a “community” ski area. A primary goal is to create a place where the youth of this county can learn a lifetime sport — one that gets people off the couch, out of the house and into the great outdoors.

That's surely a good aim. But if it is going to become a reality, it will need the support — financial and otherwise — of people from across Park County.