Great Bear prepares to welcome winter sports enthusiasts

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Great Bear Ski Valley is preparing to welcome winter sports enthusiasts to the slopes. Around 200 employees are working hard to make sure Great Bear is ready the season, doing everything from making snow to preparing the skiing and snowboarding gear.

Crews are working to get the 18 inches of snow on the slopes to start the winter sport season.

“Well we’re picking away at making snow. We’ve had a real good start here, we probably need just about 48 hours more of snow making to get some runs open we are hoping to get that done very soon here,” said Dan Grider, general manager.

Making snow is a big endeavor.

“What we do is we draw water from a retention pond that we have and we actually shoot it through some hydrants and into our snow guns which propel the water droplet up into the air and then it just freezes into an ice crystal,” said Grider. “It’s just like a snow flake except it looks a little bit different and falls to the ground as snow. Actually man made snow is a preferred product for us, it’s a lot denser, we can put it where we want it we just have to rely on cold temperatures.”

They are hoping to welcome skiers and snowboarders as early as next week.

“It looks like we have a cold front coming in starting the weekend, it’s exactly what we’re looking for, you know, get some more snow on the ground and get some people on the hill,” said Grider.

They’re also looking forward to the excitement of the season.

“What we are most excited for is to just see our winter family again. You know it’s really fun to see those people that come here every winter and get to hang out and it’s really a family environment,” said Alexa Jerstad, director of communications and human resources.

“Pure excitement. Everybody’s happy, great mood, we’re all looking forward to it, not just the skiers and snowboarders, but staff as well. We’re anticipating the season, all the excitement it brings and all our friends coming back again,” said Grider.

At first, just a few runs will be opened, but they are hoping to see the slopes open to full capacity by the first of January, weather permitting. You can also take skiing and snowboarding lessons at Great Bear.

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