Baby, it’s cold outside! Winter has definitely arrived in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country and Sleeping Giant, our local ski hill, is no exception! Did you know Sleeping Giant Ski Area is one of the oldest ski areas in the country? It originally opened in 1936, and was much loved by area skiers for its family-friendly atmosphere and still is.
With temps below zero at night, they are cranking out the man-made snow and laying down a healthy base. Right now that base is 20 inches and growing. And as any ski diva will tell you, that’s a very respectable base. Sleeping Giant operates a triple chairlift on the west side of the ski area and a double chairlift on the east side. I like watching the tiny kids ride the magic carpet to their special hill.
I’ve noticed extra layers on the skiers this past week or so. Their cheeks have that healthy glow that comes after a few runs in single digit temperatures. I think the Grizzly Grill and T-Bar have been a little busier these last few days. I’ve seen many skiers play the numbers game: ski five runs and take 10 minutes inside to warm up, have a cup of chili or soup and then head back out. Some of them do that all day.
Personally, I have developed a strategy when I go downhill skiing at Sleeping Giant.
First, I like to do a few stretches at home before I get out the synthetic long underwear. Not too much, just enough to get the dog wondering what the heck I’m doing.
After checking the weather report, I choose my base layer. This past weekend was cold so I used the expedition weight. As we head to this next weekend, the weather report calls for highs in the 40s and plenty of sunshine. So then, medium or light weight will be in order.
Anyway, I like to drive through the Wapiti Valley without my outer layers since that will be way too hot. Sometimes I leave the window partially open to keep from overheating. The down side of that is that I have been known to scare the wildlife. You see, I get a little carried away by singing along to certain songs on the radio. My ski partner claims I once brought a bear out of hibernation singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody. I think she was kidding, but I can’t be completely sure.
It’s my preference to arrive about 15 minutes before the lifts start operating. I can put on my outer shell and get the boots buckled in about seven minutes. That gives me some time to stretch a little more aggressively and be on the lift with the early birds. The first run is a nice smooth one, not too fast, just gets the heart pumping and the legs working properly.
For the next hour so I like to go a little faster on each run and cover as much of the hill as I can.
Then, it’s time for a coffee or tea and to catch up with some friends. After a short break, we head over to the terrain park for some fun. The terrain park has 14 features, including quarter pipes, rails, boxes and jumps. Did you know the terrain park is one of only a handful in the country that was constructed almost entirely of materials found on the hill? It is designed for use by both snowboarders and skiers. I am not much for the tricks myself, but I do love to watch some of the other skiers develop their skills. Some of these kids – most of them are kids –are getting really good.
I meet for a late lunch with some old friends, and we head back out afterwards. As I ski my last run for the day I think about the big horn sheep, moose or bison that might be out during my drive home and want to get home before dark so I can see them. I love that such great skiing is just 45 minutes from my cozy house in Cody, Wyoming.
Until next time, I’m lovin’ the slopes at Sleeping Giant in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country!
Corrie N. Cody