Sleeping Giant ski instructors (from left) Colter Ellis, John Willert, Phillip Cardinal, Leo Cartellieri, Mike Gimmeson, Liz Holloway, Leo Wolfson, Will DeFord and Dean Madley take part in Fall Fest at Big Sky, Mont., during the weekend.

Sleeping Giant Ski Area is gearing up for a Dec. 20 opening, as a key ingredient has yet to accumulate.

“Hopefully a few more snowflakes are flying,” board member Bob Newsome said.

Not enough snow is the reason the ski area west of Cody delayed its initial anticipated opening of Friday.

“Everything else is ready to go,” he said. “It is absolutely just lack of snow.”

Even the 20 or so ski instructors will be ready, as they were at Big Sky in Montana last weekend for more training.

Newsome said as of Friday there wasn’t even enough snow at higher elevation to make it worth it to make snow to cover the lower stretches.

He said if they let people ski and snowboard when there’s not enough of a snowpack, it can cause lasting damage.

“People get really grumpy if they’re skiing on rocks,” he said. “If you destroy a good base you never get that back.”

So the staff is waiting for the snow to create more of a base before opening the 10th year of the reopened ski area.

Sleeping Giant, one of the oldest Alpine ski areas in North America, reopened in 2009 after being shuttered for six years. 

Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the winter, the ski area includes a variety of programs for adult and young skiers alike. 

The Cody Ski Bus provides transportation from downtown Cody for $5.

Features of the ski area include a magic carpet for beginning skiers, slow zone, ski school, chapel and cross-country trail for Nordic skiers and snowshoers. Trails are a mix of 15 percent beginner runs, 38 percent intermediate, 35 percent advanced runs and 13 percent expert runs.

A full-day adult pass is $46, half-day pass is $36 and season pass is $375. 

Instructors from the mountain recently attended the Professional Ski Instructors of America Fall Fest in Big Sky. The three-day event featured clinics run by some of the top ski and snowboard instructors in America.

Sleeping Giant is still looking for ski and snowboard instructors for this season. To apply visit

Leo Cartellieri is the new ski school director, coming to Sleeping Giant after running a similar position for two decades in Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Cartellieri will be replacing Mike Gimmeson, who is stepping down to pursue other ventures, but will still be involved in special events and snowcat work at the ski area.

More information about Sleeping Giant Ski Area is available at or by calling (307) 587-3125. Skiers will also find an online snow report and webcam.

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