Snow skiers and snowboarders in and around the Sioux Empire have something new to look forward to this season out at Great Bear Ski Valley, it's the newly installed chairlift system.

After nearly six years in the making, the new Skytrac quad chairlift will make its debut this weekend out at Great Bear during OctoBEARfest which runs this Friday through Sunday.

Pigeon 605 (with permission)

The festivities get underway on Friday (October 15) starting at noon and run through  Sunday at 4 PM.

Get our free mobile app

Here's what you can expect this weekend...

According to Dakota News Now, the ZooMobile will be on hand Saturday from 10:00 to noon. Then starting at 1:00 PM Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken will help unveil the park's new chairlift.  Wanna take a ride? You can starting at 1:30 PM. Great Bear will offer free chairlift rides to everyone that day until 3:30 PM. Just remember, you'll have to walk down back down the hill, but you could use the exercise, right?

In addition to all the other festivities, will feature this weekend, snow ski lovers will also be able to get discounts on passes, gift cards, and ski lessons throughout the weekend.

This weekend kinda marks the unofficial start of the skiing season out at Great Bear. Sure, there's no snow yet, but the gang out at Great Bear is busy getting the park ready for another fun season of skiing in the Sioux Empire.

The chairlift won't be the only new thing out at Great Bear Ski Valley during the 2021-2022 season.

Pigeon 605 reports, once the park officially opens later this year, skiers can look forward to a new rental check-in system, along with new ski rental gear.

If you love to ski and want a job for the winter, Great Bear could be the place for you.

Great Bear general manager, Dan Grider, told Pigeon 605, they'll be looking to bring on additional staff starting in November. Remember, Great Bear employees, are entitled to a reduced-price season pass and word has it, wages out at the bear have been increased this year as well.

Now for the million-dollar question, when will Great Bear Ski Valley open for the season?

If we use 2020 as any kind of barometer, thanks to the very mild winter last year, it was late December before anyone could really hit the slopes for skinning and snowboarding at the bear. Who knows this year.

Grider told Pigeon 605 it's just too soon to tell at this point. He remains hopeful it will be sooner rather than later. One thing is for certain, the gang at Great Bear is really excited to get this season started.

Speaking of the new chairlift, Jody Schwan from Pigeon 605 has written a great story about what happened to Great Bear's old chairlift. See where all those chairs ended up here.

Source: Dakota News Now/ Pigeon 605  

The Ultimate Sioux Falls Visitor's Guide: A to Z

ALSO: Former Minnesota Twins All-Star's Home for Sale - Complete With Brewery