Good News for Winter Adventurers; Cody’s Sleeping Giant Ski Area is Reopening
CODY, Wyo., October 5, 2020 – Cody, Wyoming’s Sleeping Giant Ski Area will reopen for the 2020-2021 season following the announcement that a private investor will purchase the beloved resort from the non-profit Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, which had operated it for several years until it closed last season.
Season passes are now on sale online, with special early bird pricing through the end of October. Daily lift ticket pricing has not yet been announced, but the new owner, Nick Piazza, has promised that a Sleeping Giant lift ticket will be “one of the cheapest in America.”
“With the promise that the downhill ski area will remain on the region’s long list of cold weather adventures, winter recreation enthusiasts will have numerous ways to fill their days with fun,” said Claudia Wade, director of the Park County Travel Council, the marketing arm of Cody Yellowstone.
About Sleeping Giant
One of the oldest alpine ski areas in the country, this small-but-mighty ski area first opened in the winter of 1936-37. It is situated just outside of Yellowstone National Park in the stunning Absaroka Mountain Range. Its 900 vertical feet and 184 acres of skier and rider-accessible terrain features trails for skiers of every ability. The resort has a total of 49 runs, a base elevation of 6,619 feet, vertical drop of 810 feet and average snowfall of 150 inches.
After falling on hard times during 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 (YRF). Partnering with government entities like Park County and the Wyoming Business Council and with the support of countless individuals, YRF opened the ski hill for the 2009/2010 season after investing $3.5 million to upgrade and enhance the ski area.
Among those improvements was the addition of a terrain park with 14 features including quarter pipes, rails, boxes and jumps. The terrain park – designed for both skiers and snowboarders – remains one of only a few in the country that was constructed almost entirely of materials found on the hill. Other enhancements included the addition of 400 vertical feet of runs at the top of the mountain, a new triple chairlift to complement the existing double chairlift, snowmaking equipment and electrical system upgrades.
“There has been tremendous local pride in Sleeping Giant for generations, and I’m thrilled that one of our local visionaries has committed to keeping it operating at affordable rates so our youngest residents can learn to ski on the same hill where their parents and grandparents first strapped on skis,” said Wade. “The resort appeals to locals and visitors alike who prefer an authentic, less crowded skiing experience than they find in larger more glamorized – and more expensive – ski resorts.”
Because the hill is considerably less crowded than many more famous Western resorts, skiers will find it easy to maintain a comfortable physical distance from other skiers during a winter of Covid concerns. “There are many other adventures where our visitors can keep their distance from other outdoor enthusiasts while enjoying Wyoming’s rugged, wide open landscape,” said Wade.
Other winter adventures
Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing. There are more than 30 miles of groomed trails between Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Pahaska Tepee Resort at Yellowstone’s East Gate. Skiers and snowshoers can bring their own lunches or purchase a hot lunch at the Grizzly Grill located in the friendly lodge at Sleeping Giant. Equipment can be rented in town. The Wood River Valley Ski Touring Park operated by the Meeteetse Recreation District and located 22 miles southwest of Meeteetse offers more than 15 miles of groomed trails ranging from the gentle South Fork Trail to the challenging Brown Creek Trail. There is no fee for skiing, but donations are encouraged to support trail maintenance. There are also numerous cross country ski trails located in Yellowstone National Park.
Skating. Outdoor ice-skating is available at Homesteader Park in Powell, and indoor skating is offered at the Victor J. Riley Arena and Community Events Center in Cody. Both locations provide ice skate rentals. Outdoor skating at Homesteader Park is equipped with night lighting and a warming house. Skate rentals and concessions are available on the weekends.
Snowmobiling. Winter adventurers who like to feel the rush of cool air on their faces will find a special thrill in the region. There are plenty of places to explore throughout the forestlands outside the park borders on snowmobiles. Gary Fales Outfitting provides winter snowmobile excursions.
Catch – and release – a trout. Cody Yellowstone features some of the best blue-ribbon trout stream fishing in North America, and the fish do not know it is winter. Professional fishing guides and outfitters accommodate anglers of any ability.
Hiking. Depending on the level of snow and the location, it is possible to enjoy a cold-weather hike with snowshoes or regular hiking boots. Cody Pathways is a system of multi-use trails surrounding the town. Travelers need not go far before they are in prime wildlife viewing territory. The road from Cody to the East Gate of Yellowstone is full of wildlife-viewing opportunities. It is not unusual to spot moose, bison, elk, eagles and bighorn sheep.
Home of the Great American Adventure, Cody Yellowstone is comprised of the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park. The region is known for rodeos, authentic guest and dude ranches, world-class museums and recreational adventures that reflect the adventurous spirit of the visionaries and explorers who brought the remote region to the world’s attention.
Mesereau Travel Public Relations