Digging graves in KOTA Territory through a long winter is difficult but it's not impossible.
This year was particularly brutal, starting with the October blizzard. Not only did the high volume of snow and tree damage delay funerals, but the moisture left behind a terrible headache: frost.
Rapid City Cemetery Supervisor, Craig Nichols said it has added a few hours to the digging process. On warmer days, crews are able to remove the top layer of sod with a shovel but the rest needs serious tools like a jackhammer and a backhoe.
The back-breaking work comes with the territory, only Nichols said winters in the past haven't been so tenacious.
"We're hoping spring is coming and we can get out of the frost and back to a regular routine," said Nichols.
In an average year, Nichols said they use the jackhammer a few days at most. This winter, crews have used it on every grave since October.