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Great Bear sees uptick in visitors after late start

Published: Jan. 10, 2021 at 4:48 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - More people seem to be enjoying outdoor activities this winter than in years past.

Great Bear is seeing a high demand to enjoy winter hobbies as people are eager to get outside during these uncertain times.

Though this winter’s ups and downs, Great Bear finally was able to welcome outdoor enthusiasts on December 28th.

“I really want to open up in early December, the first week of December, there are times when we’ve been open for Thanksgiving. This year was obviously not one of those, and it’s all up to mother nature,” said Great Bear General Manager Dan Grider.

Opening later than normal, left many skiers and snowboarders anxious for a snow-covered hill.

“A lot of pent-up demand, being open on the (December) 28th people were really anxious to get out here. Over the 7-day holiday period that we were open we did over 9,000 visits, and to put that into context last year over 75 days we had 44,000 visits,” Grider said.

However, since opening day the weather is continuing to be a challenge and forcing visitors and staff to adapt.

“We make snow whenever we can, our groomers are on the hill every night grooming the hill making sure the conditions are consistent,” said Grider.

“Some days you have to play it by ear, some days you’re really looking forward to going and then it’s too nice or too warm then the snow’s all sloppy and their closed or whatever. You just have to do what you can,” Great Bear visitor Josh Pickthorn said.

Great Bear says they are expecting these crowds through the end of the season, which they hope is March.

“Tubing has been in high demand as well. On weekends we run sessions, three sessions a day we’ve been selling all those out. We’ve been running out of rental equipment and we’ve been at capacity now for about two weeks,” said Grider.

Grider advises if you are planning a trip to Great Bear to ‘Know Before You Go’ by checking updates on their social media and website.

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