After Closing In Winter For Too Little Snow, Ski Resort Closes In Summer For Too Much Snow

Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Zipline near Cody had to close for the winter ski season because of a lack of snow, now damage caused by too much spring snow is keeping its popular zipline shut down for the summer.

Andrew Rossi

May 15, 20244 min read

The Sleeping Giant zipline won't open this summer as the resort works to repair damage done by spring snows.
The Sleeping Giant zipline won't open this summer as the resort works to repair damage done by spring snows. (Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Zipline via Facebook)

CODY — Damage from too much spring snow means there will be no ziplining at Sleeping Giant this summer, a poplar local outdoors adventure for northwest Wyoming locals and thousands of visitors traveling to and from nearby Yellowstone National Park.

Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Zipline is located in the Shoshone National Forest only a few miles from the East Entrance of Yellowstone.

Sleeping Giant owner Nick Piazza told Cowboy State Daily that instead of opening for the summer season, the resort will instead focus on repairing damage to the ski lodge's basement sustained in the spring.

“We are still assessing the extent of the damage, but there is a lot of interior repair work and cleanup,” he said. “We know this will come as a big disappointment, but we feel this is the most responsible choice we could make at this time.”

Closed And Closed Again

Piazza said the last year at Sleeping Giant has been “quite disappointing.” Because of warm temperatures and a lack of snow, Sleeping Giant was one of many Wyoming resorts that opened late or closed entirely during the 2023-2024 winter season.

“We had spent so much effort and resources on improving the mountain for the winter season with our trail expansion and tubing park addition,” he said. “We were excited to see if our hypothesis that if we added more trails, we would see greater skier numbers was correct. Unfortunately, it didn’t come to be.”

Sleeping Giant isn’t alone in its misfortune. Piazza said reports from other ski resorts show the overall number of skiers was down throughout the Rocky Mountain region, and many resorts delayed opening of their seasons by a month or more.

Sleeping Giant decided not to open for the 2023-2024 winter season in January after weeks of insufficient snow. Full refunds were offered to season pass holders “to give them confidence in us in the future,” Piazza said.

A Season Of Snow In Five Weeks

Sleeping Giant’s zipline course was last open in Summer 2023 and operated well. The decision to suspend operations in 2024 was made so staff could focus on the damage at the lodge.

Ironically, Piazza said the damage wasn’t caused by a lack of snow in the winter, but too much snow in the spring.

“It was a very strange year,” he said. “Warm temperatures and almost no snow until the end of February, and then receiving almost a season’s worth of snow in about four to five weeks.”

Once temperatures rose, the massive snowpack started rapidly melting. Heavy runoff from the mountain ended up flooding the basement of the lodge. The extent of the damage is still being assessed.

Piazza said he and his staff were already contemplating whether to open for the summer so they could focus on improvements for the winter season. The flooding damage was the clincher for their decision to stay closed.

“We made a final decision that we wouldn’t open this season to allow staff to focus on training and lodge repairs that will likely include improving drainage around the lodge so there won’t be future incidents of this nature,” he said.

Bitter But Better

Like many ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains, Sleeping Giant finds solace in the oft-stated mantra of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns: There’s always next season.

The Sleeping Giant team is waiting on the final report on the extent of the lodge's damage before deciding the next course of action. Piazza hopes the repairs will present an opportunity for other improvements to the lodge and the deck.

In the meantime, the ski lifts are regularly tested to keep them in good working order, and trail clearing along the slope continues. The trails and tubing park created over the last year are ready and waiting for a season of sufficient snowfall.

Sleeping Giant has weathered the storms, or the lack thereof. Despite the lack of a winter season, Piazza said most of the resort’s seasonal staff was kept on the payroll for about half the season and retained all full-time employees.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested in the long-term future of the Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Ziplines. Once the climate cooperates, Piazza is confident that there’s a fun, financially sustainable future ahead for the resort.

“It sucked not to be able to open this season,” he said. “But we are proud that we’ve tackled so much adversity the last few months.”

Andrew Rossi can be reached at

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Andrew Rossi

Features Reporter