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Cody Yellowstone’s Friendly Little Ski Area, Sleeping Giant

Sleeping Giant Ski Area near Yellowstone National Park’s East Gate is a little bit like that Boston bar where everybody knows your name. The ski area has had a lot of practice honing its good-natured ‘tude, as it is also one of the oldest ski areas in the U.S.

The Sleeping Giant sign in Cody Yellowstone

The History of Sleeping Giant

Dating back to the winter of 1936, Sleeping Giant is one of the country’s oldest ski hills and features 184 acres of skier- and rider-accessible terrain with trails for skiers of every ability.

With the invention of the ski lift in the late 1930s, alpine skiing began to emerge as a winter pastime among mostly wealthy outdoor enthusiasts. Many small ski areas opened from New York to California from 1936 to 1940, and Cody Yellowstone’s Sleeping Giant Ski Area was the eighth with its opening season in 1936-37. With an average snowfall of 150 inches and the stunning Bighorn Basin backdrop, the ski hill quickly became popular among local ski enthusiasts.

After falling on hard times in the first few years of the new millennium, the hill seemed destined to join the ranks of the many ghost ski areas – the vacant, deteriorating ski areas that dot mountainous regions throughout the country. In 2004, a group comprised of Cody locals and ski fans came to the rescue with the formation of the non-profit Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, which operated the ski area for several years. The current owner, Nick Piazza, purchased the ski area in 2020.

What’s New at Sleeping Giant?

A child skies at Sleeping Giant Ski Area near Cody Yellowstone

Ahead of the winter season, the ski area added or improved 20 runs and increased the groomable area on the mountain by more than 30 percent.

There is also an acclaimed terrain park that was constructed almost entirely of materials found on the mountain. The terrain park is Designed for skiers and snowboarders, including quarter pipes, rails, boxes, and jumps.

Last year, the hill began offering Sno-Go bikes for adventurers who want to try ski-biking, a new and fast-growing winter sport. The ski area also offers a tubing hill and cross-country ski trails that run along the Shoshone River at the mountain’s base. There’s also a lodge with reasonably priced food and a yurt bar.

This year, the ski area partnered with Cody Yellowstone to add a new three-lane tubing park, including a new surface lift and service road for improved access. To encourage all-day family fun, the ski area priced tube park passes at just $100 for the entire season.

Other ski area features include a magic carpet for beginning skiers, a slow zone, a ski school, and a cross-country trail for Nordic skiers and snowshoers. Trails are a mix of 15 percent beginner runs, 38 percent intermediate, 35 percent advanced runs, and 13 percent expert runs.

All You Need to Know About Sleeping Giant Ski Area

A child smiles near Sleeping Giant Ski Area

The ski area is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the season, as well as most days during the local schools’ spring breaks. Night skiing is available on Saturdays until 7 p.m.

Full-day lift tickets are $60 for adults ages 19-69, $50 for kids ages 13-18, $30 for kids ages six to 12, $5 for kids up to five, $30 for seniors 70-79, and $5 for super seniors 80 and above. Half-day lift tickets are available for even less.

Several lodges in town also partner with Sleeping Giant to offer money-saving Ski and Stay packages.

Groups can rent a yurt or large tent for special events. Additionally, groups of 50 or more can rent the entire ski area.

The ski area offers a variety of instruction programs for children as young as six as well as adults. Among its adult programs is a popular two-hour “Ski and Shred Like a Girl” clinic, which is staged throughout the season.

Several lodging providers, both near the ski hill and in town, offer discounts on accommodations and lift tickets through the Ski and Stay package. More information is available online.

Sleeping Giant has a very hometown feel, and lift lines are a rarity. Opening day will feature a performance by Cody High School’s marching band and a race between the mayors of Cody and Powell, with the winner receiving passes to give out to the community group of their choice. The ski hill regularly hosts community races and other events on Saturday nights.

We’ll See You on the Slopes in Cody Yellowstone!

Friends with skies and snowboards chat at the base of Sleeping Giant in Cody Yellowstone

Visiting Cody Yellowstone this winter? Don’t forget your skies or snowboard! We look forward to seeing you at Sleeping Giant! Start planning your vacation today.