Speaking on Monday, Sheets said the slope had about 24 inches of natural snow at the base and 28 inches at the top. Those totals were being boosted by snowmaking operations, and another 20 inches of the white stuff is in the forecast prior to …
In a welcome change from last year, the Sleeping Giant Ski Area has November snow, and the North Fork slope is poised to open to skiers and snowboarders on Friday.So far this season, “Mother Nature's helping us out,” said Jonathan Sheets, Sleeping Giant Ski Area general manager.
Speaking on Monday, Sheets said the slope had about 24 inches of natural snow at the base and 28 inches at the top. Those totals were being boosted by snowmaking operations, and another 20 inches of the white stuff is in the forecast prior to Friday's opening.
That's strikingly different from the 2009-10 season, where a dearth of snow — a scant 42 inches for the whole winter — caused Sleeping Giant to open late and close early.
Last season marked Sleeping Giant's re-opening under new, nonprofit ownership after four seasons of closure. The lack of snow led the ski area to operate at a loss.
Typically, the North Fork slope receives some 250 inches of snow a year and Sheets said this season appears to be closer to the average.
If this week's forecasts hold true, “We could possibly open this year with the same amount of snow they had all of last year,” he said.
For Friday's opening, the plan is to have the magic carpet and eastern “Big Horn” double chairlift up and running, with the western triple-chair “Sheepeater” lift expected to open in the first week in December.
Sheets said volunteer clean-up days over the summer helped prep trails for the winter season.
Sleeping Giant, operated by the nonprofit Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, is under new management this year, but Sheets said guests are unlikely to notice any changes.
He said the ski area continues to be focused on providing family-friendly fun.
The slope is located 46 miles west of Cody off U.S. 14-16-20 West in the Shoshone National Forest.
More information, including ticket prices and season passes, is available at www.skisg.com.