The Antelope Butte Foundation is planning improvements and events for the local hill in the Big Horns.
Running a small ski area in Wyoming has never been a quick path to easy riches, and a flurry of closures and sales among struggling ski hills across the state in recent years has prompted some operators to look for new business models to make their community slopes financially sustainable. With a sparse customer base, high operating costs, isolated locations, aging infrastructure and changing winter recreation habits, community ski hills across Wyoming face a daunting array of challenges in competing against major destination resorts like Aspen and Sun Valley. While most major ski resorts have earned revenue from real estate sales, lodging and high-end services, those options have not been available to smaller ski hills. Antelope Butte, between Shell and Dayton, has been closed since 2004, and efforts by a Powell group to reopen the facility as a nonprofit have so far been unsuccessful. Big Horn Ski Resort near Ten Sleep reopened with new owners as Meadowlark Ski Lodge in January, after being closed in 2008. Snowy Range ski area was kept running last year by First National Bank of Wyoming in Laramie, until new owners took over for the 2010-11 season.