Sleeping Giant Ski Resort has announced the ‘heartbreaking decision’ to end the winter ski season early because winter isn’t sticking around or on the ground.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, the Sleeping Giant ski area announced that this weekend would be his last weekend. After several weeks of capricious weather, there is not enough snow to continue the season.
Dear Friends and Family of the Sleeping Giants;
We regret to inform you that tomorrow Sunday March 6, 2022 will be our last day of operation for the ski season. Unfortunately, due to deteriorating snow, lack of snow in the forecast and rising temperatures along the way, we had to make this heartbreaking decision.
Thank you to everyone who attended and supported fundraising in Ukraine today. We will continue to offer fundraising/donation options on our website and social media platforms.*
We at Sleeping Giant really appreciate the community support this season and look forward to seeing you all again soon.
The Sleeping G team
* All March 5 ticket sales have been donated to support the Ukrainian military during the ongoing Russian invasion.
This early closure ends a frustrating season for the Sleeping Giant team, which has already started a week later than expected.
Sleeping Giant’s winter opening was scheduled for December 17, 2021. However, the lack of cold weather and the inability to make snow delayed this opening until December 23.
“Sleeping Giant is ready for winter,” the team said in a Dec. 14, 2021 statement, “but like other ski areas in the region, Sleeping Giant is awaiting the natural snowfall and cooler temperatures needed mechanical snowmaking efforts to create a solid base.”
Now the same conditions have forced an early end to the season. For reference, the 2020-2021 ski season ended on March 27, 2021.
Bad snowpack is not an isolated problem in Cody and Park County. Across Wyoming, erratic temperatures and lack of snow are concerning trends.
The latest report from the Wyoming Natural Resources Conservation Service shows that Wyoming’s snowpack/SWE has fallen to 82% of the median. The central and western Wyoming watersheds continued to see a 5-10% decrease in SWEs from the previous week.
By comparison, this time last year, snowfall in the state was 91 percent of the median; and 113% of the median in 2020.
Outdoor temperature and humidity levels need to be “right” to freeze water and make it stick like snow.
Recent snowfall and sub-zero temperatures have helped form a snowpack, but abnormally high temperatures have negated this growth. Both conditions are necessary to ensure there is enough snow to ski safely.
Sleeping Giant management purchased new snow cannons from Italian company TechnoAlpin and upgraded the area’s pumping system last year to ensure a substantial snowpack this season. However, no machine can operate in hot weather.
“To take advantage of the good temperature conditions, snow has to be made all night long, which forces the teams to work in shifts day and night,” according to the press release. “Then it needs to stay cold enough that the ground and air temperatures don’t melt the snow.”