Underfunded Sleeping Giant To Close
Local hill Sleeping Giant will shut off its two ski lifts at the end of this season, as the non-profit that runs the ski and snowboard mountain can't make ends meet for winter operations.
The Yellowstone Recreations Foundation announced that it can no longer sustain an annual $200,000 deficit in the cost of operations at the northern Wyoming day-trip hill.
The most frequent skiers and riders at Sleeping Giant come from either Cody or Powell. The foundation said they need either twice as many customers as is typical or $350,000 more in annual revenue to start up the lifts.
The foundation said annual skier-days hover around 6,000 with the lifts running Friday through Sunday. Between 35-40 employees works at the mountain during the winter -- fewer for the summer zipline and hiking -- with a payroll around $150,000. A full-day pass costs $22, with rentals and tickets for youngsters lower than that. A season pass starts at $250.
As a local hill, Sleeping Giant strongly catered to kids and families from the surrounding area with a number of programs aimed to get beginners going and upping the game on the slopes.
Operating on an off since the 1930s, the ski area sits on the road from Cody to Yellowstone National Park. The base elevation is 6,600 feet and the summit is at 7,400 -- producing a vertical drop of 810 feet. Served by three chairlifts, about half the 48 runs rank as intermediate or easier, with the remainder marked as black runs.
It closed up in 2004 and reopened in 2009; community donations and volunteering were critical for the foundation to keep the slopes and trails open.
In the summer, the resort runs a zipline which will remain in operation despite the winter closure.