New chairlift complete at Great Bear

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Out with the old, in with the new. Five months after removing “Old Red”, the new state-of-the-art chairlift at Great Bear Ski Valley is complete.

Great Bear Ski Valley has a new chairlift for the first time in four decades.

“Just a safer, more modern lift,” Great Bear Ski Valley General Manager Dan Grider.

Seeing the lift assembled was a new experience for General Manager Dan Grider.

“Completely surprised that basically this is done with two people. Those guys put that lift up so fast and it’s just state of the art. We’re just super, super stoked,” Grider said.

“I just think it looks really cool. It’s not the red chair, but it’s really cool looking, kind of spaceshippy,” Great Bear Director of Indoor Operations & Events Jill Lerdal said.

This summer’s hot and dry conditions made the project a relative walk in the park with crews completing a load test on the 42 chairs Thursday, more than a month ahead of schedule.

“What we’ve got to do now is some site work, get some cover crop down and by mid-October it should look green. It’ll be perfect,” Grider said.

The advantages of the new lift start behind the scenes in the motor room.

“There’s heat, there’s light, there’s plenty of space for the guys to work around. In the lower lift shack, the touch screen monitors, plenty of room there again, just a better working environment for everyone,” Grider said.

Upgrading the lift also makes for a safer environment at the base of the hill, along with improvements up top, too.

“The unload used to be very steep, we’ve re-engineered that so it’s a lot more gradual to unload, a lot safer, a lot easier to unload,” Grider said.

“The first time unload at the upper lift it’s a little bit scary and I think that’s going to be a lot easier. There’s a safety bar now, so that’ll be something that the parents will feel a lot more comfortable with their kids,” Lerdal said.

Now, we wait for snow.

Grider says they’re meeting next week to discuss the new chairlift’s first official run.

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