Great Bear starts transforming a hill into a ski slope
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The slopes are still more brown than white, but Great Bear Ski Valley in Sioux Falls is making snow in anticipation of opening day.

“Love making snow in November,” Great Bear General Manager Dan Grider said.

Mother Nature has yet to produce more than a dusting of snow, but Great Bear Ski Valley is taking advantage of the cold temperatures by making snow, blowing 700 gallons of water per minute.

“When it’s really cold out, we can blow 1,000 gallons of water a minute so it’s all up to Mother Nature and the temps,” Grider said.

Great Bear has eleven snow guns scattered across the ski valley and a pile like this represents less than 15 hours of snowmaking.

“We blow it all in piles and that insulates itself, it’s going to get warmer next week, so it won’t melt quite as fast. When we’re ready to use it we’ll push it all out, make more snow on top of it and we’re off and running,” Grider said.

“If we can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we’ll run until we run out of water,” Director of Mountain Operations Kyle Vanderberg said.

Kyle Vanderberg is Director of Mountain Operations.

“You’re making sure things are in the right spot, making snow where we want to make snow, and just get as much out there as we can,” Vanderberg said.

He’ll spend the next month transforming this hill into a ski slope.

“It is a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of moving parts, it’s cold, it’s wet, but I got up at 5:00 this morning with a smile on my face,” Vanderberg said.

Great Bear saw record numbers last season, and Grider hopes to carry that momentum into this winter.

“Last year was fabulous. Almost 68,000 visits. I would love to see another 50,000 this year. Who knows what’s going to happen, but we’re really excited about the upcoming season,” Grider said.

Great Bear Ski Valley hopes to open on December 21st.

Click HERE if you’d like to purchase a season pass.

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