by Lisa Kunkel
Winter recreationalists now have a place to warm up at the Antelope Butte ski hill. Saturday marked the official opening of the Base Camp Yurt.
The tent-like circular structure, with wood lattice frames, sits near the Sun Kid Magic Carpet and provides sweeping views of the ski hill. A small space heater quietly hummed as children and adults ate their food on Saturday sitting on picnic tables that circled the room. A puppy played while spectators enjoyed watching their friends and family take turns on the skill hill.
“The yurt is a great idea for something to use for now until the lodge is back up and running,” said Sherry Williamson, of Greybull.
Williamson was enjoying a lunch break in the spacious yurt Saturday with her husband and children. They packed their own food, including cheese that was smoked for the occasion.
Antelope Butte is currently without concessions and encourages guests to pack their own food, use the yurt, and even tailgate. There is a full-service rental shop and portable restrooms provided by Laird Sanitation.
“It’s a great place for families to go and enjoy the winter instead of sitting in the house,” said Williamson.
The new 40-foot yurt serves as a temporary lodge space that will then become a youth programming space.
Antelope Butte board member Mark Weitz said, “There are several great things about the new yurt. One, our partnership with the Sheridan Recreation District gives both entities a comfortable place to host events, classes, etc. Two, the warm, clean space allows Antelope Butte Foundation to practice our mission, now. Lastly, it is a really cool structure that sets well against the more classic alpine architecture of the lodge — it is a showpiece.”
Suzi Madill, of Greybull, was enjoying the mountain Saturday with her 7-year-old son Thomas. “It’s a little hidden gem in the Big Horns in the middle of nowhere, Madill said. “Totally kid-friendly. All the lift operators are helpful.”
Hours are posted on the ski hill’s website, including lift ticket prices and rental information. Currently there is only one lift operating in addition to the magic carpet.