The Great Bear Recreation Park in South Dakota plans to open for winter operations this week. The park maintains 12 downhill trails, a terrain park, one quad chair lift, and one handle tow, a conveyor style surface lift for beginners, and a tubing hill.
The park can cover 100 percent of its terrain with machine-made snow, allowing the park to open even in a skimpy snow year. Park manager Dan Grider hoped to be blowing snow by the second week in November, but unseasonably warm weather kept temperatures too high for snowmaking until later in the month. Grider told Onthesnow.com, "We probably will open for the season with 50 percent of the mountain and then move equipment around to catch other slopes."
Grider expects to have two tubing lanes and the beginner ski hill ready for opening day Dec. 1. He also anticipates blowing enough snow to open three or four runs and install a couple park features.
Full day lift tickets cost $22; half days cost $19. Ski rentals cost $14 - 16. Snowboard rentals cost $20 - 31. Tubing tickets cost $9 on weekdays and $13 for weekends and holidays.
"People are excited," said Grider. "The phone keeps ringing, and we're selling lots of season passes."