Frequently Asked Questions

Pricing (reflects current rates) and policies subject to change.

Please contact us at 605.367.4309 with additional questions.

General Info

What are Great Bear’s hours of operation?

The park’s hours of operation vary. Hours are subject to change. Please call 605.367.4309 to verify.

Spring, Summer and Fall Hours: The Wallin Nature Trail System is open 8 a.m. – dusk, 7 days a week.

Winter Hours: Monday – Thursday: 3 pm to 9 pm (Tubing open 4 pm to 8 pm, closed Mondays & Thursdays), Friday: 12 pm to 10 pm (Tubing open at 4 pm), Saturday, Sunday & School Holidays: 9 am to 9 pm (tubing in sessions).

Does Great Bear have a Lost & Found?

Lost & Found is located at Guest Services. Items are donated after 30 days.

Does Great Bear accept credit cards?

Great Bear accepts VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express debit and credit cards. The park also accepts checks and cash. There is an ATM located by Guest Services.

How long is Great Bear’s winter season?

The winter season at Great Bear Ski Valley is dependent on the weather. The park usually opens for skiing and tubing in December and closes mid-March. On average, the season is about 90 days long.

Does Great Bear sell Gift Cards?

Gift cards are available at Guest Services for any amount and they never expire. They are valid for anything at Great Bear including tickets, food and retail items. They may also be purchased online at and will be sent in the mail.

Money may be added directly to a season pass and it functions like a normal gift card. Remaining balances at the end of the season will transfer to the next season. Money may be added to a pass over the phone with a credit card number. Gift cards may not be redeemed for cash.

Does Great Bear give donations to non-profit organizations and fundraisers?

Donations requests can be sent to Please attach an event flyer. Requests will be reviewed monthly. Donations are in the form of weekday tubing tickets.

Do you accept Apple Pay?

No, we do not accept Apple Pay or other contactless forms of payment.

Skiing & Snowboarding

How much does it cost to go skiing or snowboarding?

Lift tickets are $16.50 to $38 depending on when you visit. Equipment rentals are $31 per person. For more info, visit

Does Great Bear offer ski or snowboard lessons? 

Great Bear offers private and group lessons based on availability. To schedule a lesson, visit or call 605.367.4309.

What do I do if I lost my season pass?

If a pass is lost, a new one may be printed for $15. If a pass is forgotten at home, Guest Services may look up the season pass number.

What is a Buddy Pass?

Each skiing/snowboarding season pass comes with four buddy, each valid for either a lift ticket or equipment rental. Present your buddy pass card at Guest Services to redeem.

Do I need a lift ticket if I’m only skiing on the beginner hill?

Yes, all guests who are skiing, snowboarding or tubing need a lift ticket, including guests who are not on skis but assisting another guest. The beginner hill utilizes a conveyor belt lift.

Do I need to be on skis if I am helping my child learn on the beginner hill?

Great Bear prefers guests be on skis while on the beginner hill, but it is not required. The guest, however, must have a lift ticket. If assisting another guest on the beginner hill on foot, please stay off to the side.

Can I ride the chair lift if I'm not skiing or snowboarding?

No, guests must ski or snowboard down the hill. You are not able to ride the chair lift back down. 

Do you allow uphill skiing (skinning)?

Uphill skiing, or skinning, is allowed on Fridays from 10 am to 12 pm on Long Way Home only excluding holidays when we are open at 9 am to downhill skiing. 


How much does it cost to go tubing?

Rates for tubing vary by day, ranging from $8 to $24 per person. For specific pricing, please visit

Is the tube included or do we need to bring our own sled?

Tubes are included in the price of a ticket and are located at the bottom of the tubing hill. If conditions permit, double tubes are available upon request for adults and their children.

Can a toddler go tubing?

Children must be at least 42 inches tall to tube. Great Bear Ski Valley recommends that for safety reasons pregnant women do not tube. All tubers must purchase a tube ticket and only one person is allowed per tube.

The use of helmets is also recommended, but not required. Rental helmets are $12 at Guest Services.  

Rental Equipment

Does Great Bear have lockers?

Lockers are available in the rental shop for $4 a day. Otherwise, Great Bear asks that guests leave items at home or in their car.

Does a parent or guardian have to sign the rental form for participants under the age of 18?

When a guest under the age of 18 is renting equipment, a parent or guardian’s signature on the rental form is not required but preferred when available. Rental waivers may be filled out online.

Does Great Bear rent or sell clothing?

Great Bear Ski Valley does not reliably sell winter clothing such as jackets and snow pants. However, hats, gloves, neck gaiters, goggles etc. are available for purchase at Guest Services. Great Bear Ski Valley does rent downhill skis, cross country skis, snowboards, boots, poles and helmets. 

Does Great Bear offer ski and snowboard waxes?

Yes, Great Bear offers equipment waxes for $15 but does not sharpen edges. Waxes are available most days and can be purchased at Guest Services. Depending on availability and the temperature of the equipment, a wax will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Equipment cannot be stored overnight.

The Lodge

Does Great Bear sell food and beverages? 

Great Bear offers a variety of food and beverage in our food court, including breakfast, burgers, pizza, fries, soda and more. Alcoholic beverages are available in the Bear’s Den Lounge to guests with proper ID. A water cooler located in the food court is available to guests free of charge.

Can I bring in my own food?

There is no outside food or beverage allowed in the chalet, except approved birthday cakes. Guests may eat outside food in the parking lot or on the deck.

Is there on-site lodging at Great Bear?

No, Great Bear does not have on-site lodging. Stay & Play packages are available through Homewood Suites by Hilton in Sioux Falls. For more info, visit or call 605.338.8585.

Is there seating in the lodge if I just want to watch my group ski or tube?

Yes, there is ample seating in the lodge and on the deck for guests to watch those skiing and tubing.

Does Great Bear have Wi-Fi?

Yes, Great Bear has complimentary Wi-Fi in the chalet. No password is needed. The signal is strongest on the main level.


Does Great Bear make its own snow?

Each season, Great Bear makes snow on the downhill skiing and tubing when weather permits.

Does Great Bear close if it is too cold?

The decision to close Great Bear Ski Valley is determined by evaluating the forecasted air temps and wind speeds and direction. Great Bear’s main concern is the safety of our guests and staff. Since Great Bear is a Sioux Falls city park, closure is affected by the status of Sioux Falls City Hall.

Can I smoke at Great Bear?

Guests and employees may only smoke or vape in the designated smoking area located on the deck. They may not smoke in the parking lot or in parked cars.

Does Great Bear offer snowshoeing?

Yes, guests can snowshoe on the park’s cross-country trails. There is no fee to access the trails, but Great Bear does not have rental snowshoes available.

How old do you have to be to work at Great Bear?

All positions will be filled with applicants aged 16 and over (18 and over for maintenance and snowmaking). Those applicants aged 14 & 15 may work in food service or as a park attendant if there are any available positions. 

Is my dog allowed at Great Bear?

Dogs on a leash are permitted on park grounds, including the hiking or cross-country trails. Pets, with the exception of trained guide dogs or service animals, are not permitted inside the lodge at Great Bear Recreation Park during operating hours.

Great Bear Recreation Park’s policy states that no animals shall be allowed on ski or tubing terrain and ski or tubing lifts during the winter season, unless specifically trained, or is in the process of being trained, for avalanche search and rescue work and is under the direct control of Great Bear personnel.


Call us at 605.367.4309 or fill out the form below.

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