Sleeping Giant: Avalanche of Improvements for Winter 2021-22

Sleeping Giant: Avalanche of Improvements for Winter 2021-22

Written by on August 19, 2021

The first signs of winter are coming from Sleeping Giant, with nearly half a million dollars of improvements and new jobs leading to a snowy, successful winter.

After an active summer,  the Sleeping Giant Ski Area is already awake and ready for winter. Returning from the edge of oblivion, work is being done to ensure better ski seasons – this year and in future years.

Nick Piazza, the owner of Sleeping Giant, shared the first update of the season. From his perspective, it’s been an immensely productive summer at “Wyoming’s coolest ski area.”

“As you know, we decided not to open summer activities, so we could focus on much-needed cleanup, organization, repairs, and improvements for the 21/22 ski season,” Piazza says in the update, “and we’ve made great strides in that direction.”

Much of the information in the Sleeping Giant update was essential – if unexciting – administrative refinements.

Piazza mentions how all operational and regulatory documents and licenses for Sleeping Giant have been organized and digitized. In addition, accounting and back-office systems have been reorganized for better efficiency when working with all the organization’s counterparties.

Furthermore, all accounting and back-office activities are moving to Sleeping Giant’s Cody office. The office is located at 1108 14th Street, in the same building as Wyoming Mercantile.

On the hill itself, the lodge has been thoroughly cleaned, inventoried, and reorganized. In addition, rentals and other equipment have been upgraded.

Piazza also mentions the “boneyard” has been cleaned out as well. Four tons of scrap metal and “relics from years past” have been hauled off the mountain.

Additionally, Sleeping Giant’s ski lifts underwent an annual independent inspection in May 2021. All of them passed.

All of this has been categorized as “fundamental work.” It ensures the administrative side of winter recreation runs as smoothly as any of the ski hills.

Then there’s the exciting stuff . . .

Piazza’s email identifies the key projects of the 2021-2022 winter season – $350,000 of repairs, upgrades, and long-term investments.

  • Around $150,000 of improvements for the snowmaking system.
    • “ Our base pump system needed significant repair, and we will be working with Techno Alpine to improve our overall snowmaking platform to make our wand system work better and allow us to add modern fan guns in the future. We will also upgrade our current fan gun, add one new one this season, and upgrade the nozzles on our current wand system to make them more efficient.”
  • Around $70,000 on a new lift computer, wiring, and overhaul of the Bighorn Lift
    • ” . . . to ensure it can serve our guests for years to come and is in line with the highest safety standards.”
  • Up to $50,000 to trench wiring and expand electricity, fiber optics, and lighting on the mountain.
  • $50,000 on general repairs and painting of the Lodge and the Sheep Eater Lift.
  • $30,000 on rental fleet improvements, including the acquisition of ten new SnoGo Bikes
  • Constructing additional tubing runs
  • Expanding trail clearing in Fall 2021
  • Repairs to the Sleeping Giant vehicle fleet
  • Improvements to the concert and outdoor lounge areas.

The extensive winter improvements have been a day-one priority for Sleeping Giant’s new management. In May, it was announced that the ziplines at the ski hill would not be in operation for Summer 2021. This was specifically so these projects could proceed without inhibitions.

Winter 2020-2021 was a success for Sleeping Giant, with high numbers across the board. However, Piazza is confident that the ski hill can achieve far more.

The eventual goal is for a zero-loss future. This series of improvements bring Sleeping Giant one step closer to a sustainable future where the hill’s profits cover all its expenses.

Sleeping Giant is also investing in the community through employment, including six full-time, year-round positions.

Hiring for the 21/22 seasons will begin “in a few weeks’ time.” Open positions will include six full-time, year-round salaried positions. These positions will include benefits such as professional development training, one-month paid vacation annually, and a 401k matching program.

“Our goal is to raise the level of professionalism and responsibility on the mountain to make SG the best it can be,” Piazza says in the update.

Sleeping Giant -pre-season passes will be available for purchase at the end of September. Proceeds go directly towards the launch of the season and snow-making.

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