Town Ski Area Series: Sleeping Giant Ski Area
Just a stone’s throw away from the Yellowstone East Gate Entrance in Wyoming, Sleeping Giant Ski Area provides an intimate yet enthralling experience for skiers of almost any level.
Though the mountain only boasts about 900 vertical feet, it has terrain that rivals almost any other ski area in the West, granted, in smaller quantities. When snow is good, which is most often since the non-profit ski area is only open on weekends, one can find powder pillows, epic tree skiing, steep groomers and many natural airs within the countless rolling valleys that dot the mountain.
Sleeping Giant reopened in 2007 after a three-year hiatus and is now run by the Yellowstone Recreations Foundation. A few years back a zipline was installed for summer operations. Adding summer business helps the mountain take advantage of the millions of people passing by its entrance on their way to Yellowstone.
“What goes into making a small, non-profit ski area like Sleeping Giant that dates back to 1936 successful isn’t ritzy slope side condos, high speed chairlifts or upscale dining. It’s the people who come to its slopes every day of the season, opening doors and turning gears," in what Rob Overfield, president of the Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, describes as “a labor of love.”
“That’s what helps people carry forward ... at the end of the day,” Overfield said. “At the end of the day they think about that and say, ‘It’s all worth it because we’re making it available for kids to learn how to ski.’”
Make no bones about it, Sleeping Giant is not an upscale skiing and snowboarding experience. There is no ski-in ski-out lodging nor mid-mountain bar or high speed quad lifts. What it does have is a rustic base lodge offering a wood-burning fireplace, affordable lessons and low-frill lift tickets going for $42 and less.
The mountain offers affordable ski busses every Saturday from Cody one hour away, assuring every winter enthusiast has an opportunity to the slopes.