Too Warm, Low Snow – Sleeping Giant Season Ski Ends Early
Written by Andrew-Rossi on March 6, 2022
Sleeping Giant Ski Area announced the “heartbreaking decision” to end the winter ski season early because winter isn’t sticking around or to the ground.
At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, the Sleeping Giant Ski Area announced that this weekend would be its last weekend. After several weeks of erratic weather, there isn’t enough snow to keep the season going.
Dearest Sleeping Giant Friends and Family;
We regret to inform you that tomorrow Sunday, March 6th, 2022, will be our final ski season day of operation. Unfortunately, due to the deteriorating snow, a lack of snow in the forecast, and rising temperatures on the way, we have had to make this heartbreaking decision.
Thank you to all who have attended and supported the Ukraine fundraiser today. We will continue to offer fundraising/donation options on our website and social media platforms.*
We at Sleeping Giant truly appreciate the community support this season and look forward to seeing you all again soon.
The Team at Sleeping G
*All ticket sales from March 5 were donated to support the Ukraine army during the ongoing Russian invasion.
This early closure ends a frustrating season for the Sleeping Giant team, which already started a week later than planned.
The winter opening for Sleeping Giant was planned for Dec. 17, 2021. However, a lack of cold weather and the inability to make snow delayed that opening until Dec. 23.
“Sleeping Giant is ready for winter,” said the team in a Dec. 14, 2021 release, “but like other ski areas in the region, Sleeping Giant awaits natural snowfall and cooler temperatures necessary for mechanical snowmaking efforts to create a solid base.”
Now, the same conditions forced the early end of the season. For reference, the 2020-2021 ski season ended on March 27, 2021.
Bad snowpack isn’t a problem isolated to 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 Wyoming’s snowpack/SWE is down to 82% of the median. Watersheds in central and western Wyoming continued to see a 5 to 10 percent decrease in SWEs from the previous week.
By comparison, at the same time last year, the state’s snowpack was 91% of the median; and 113% of the median in 2020.
Outdoor temperature and humidity levels need to be “just right” to freeze water and make it stick as snow.
Recent snowfalls and subzero temperatures have helped build snowpack – but abnormally high temperatures have negated that growth. Both conditions are needed to ensure there is enough snow for safe skiing.
Sleeping Giant’s management purchased new snow guns from the Italian company TechnoAlpin and improved the area’s pump system last year to ensure a substantial snowpack this season. However, no machine can work around warm weather.
“Taking advantage of the right temperature conditions necessitates snowmaking to occur through the night requiring crews working in shifts both day and night,” according to the press release. “Then it needs to stay cold enough, so that ground and air temps don’t melt the snow away.”