Sleeping Giant Forced To Wait For Snow

Northwest Wyoming has yet to see enough precipitation and freezing temperatures to make snow at the ski lodge

December 21, 20213 min read

Snow tractor scaled

By Mark Davis, Powell Tribune

Employees at the Sleeping Giant have been working through the year, making upgrades to the popular ski area located in the Shoshone National Forest. But one thing is missing as area skiers are eager to hit the slopes: snow.

Officials at the facility announced the ski hill will not be opening as planned on Friday. 

“Sleeing Giant is ready for winter, but like other ski areas in the region, Sleeping Giant awaits natural snowfall and cooler temperatures necessary for mechanical snowmaking efforts to create a solid base,” said communications and marketing manager Myranda Hamel.

At this time, Sleeping Giant cannot guarantee a specific opening date, yet the crew is eager to be open and asks the community to stay optimistic. 

“A snow dance ritual won’t hurt,” Hamel wrote in a press release Wednesday.

“We have done everything we can on our end to make enough snow so our guests can have a fun time,” added Chris Mackie, Sleeping Giant mountain operations manager. “Even with the incredible equipment we have on hand, the outdoor temperatures still have to be just right for our efforts to be successful. We are very grateful to everyone who has purchased a season pass so far and are eager to get the season started.”

Cody Regional Health

The crew will be at Sunlight Sports this Friday from noon to 7 p.m. to print season passes for those who still need to pick them up. Meanwhile, the Mountain Operations Crew will stand ready to make snow as the conditions allow.

According to Jim Fahey, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Shoshone River Basin is at 56%, up from 45% last week. Meanwhile, the Bighorn River Basin is steady at 79% and the Yellowstone River Basin is currently 68% of the median snowpack. The reference period for computing medians/averages is the 30-year period 1991 through 2020.

The snow situation has improved in the last week. As of Dec. 7, Wyoming’s snowpack stood at 56% of median, but it had risen to 66% by Tuesday. Conditions ranged from a high of 92% in the Powder Basin and a low of 7% in the South Platte Basin.

For those wanting to schedule their snow dance ritual for the best times, the National Weather Service is predicting a slight (20%) chance of snow for Thursday through Sunday along the North Fork corridor.

Sleeping Giant officials asked supporters to stay optimistic in a Facebook post, writing that, “We have some prime weather patterns forecasted for the next couple of weeks!”

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