Our vision is to inspire great memories.

Our mission is to provide fun and meaningful experiences.

Our values are adaptable, communicate, respect and teamwork.

Great Bear Board of Directors: Steve Sanford (President), Jamie Simko (Vice President), James Gulson, Eric Lundin, Suzannah Chap, Sarah Schulte, Natalie Eisenberg, Greg Blomberg, Errin Frankman, Brock Doubledee, Kelby Mieras (Parks Operations Manager for the City of Sioux Falls)

Dan Grider

General Manager

Dan was first bitten by the ski bug in the mid-’70s at his local ski area, Great Bear! During the ’80s, Dan was involved in his family’s food businesses and in 1992, was awarded the food concession contract at Great Bear. His involvement in the Great Bear operation evolved into the position of General Manager, and he has been part of all of the area’s expansions since 1992. What does he like most about Great Bear: “I love the feeling of giving something back to the sport that has given me so much.”



Jill started as a part-time bartender in 2000. In 2004, the kitchen manager position opened up, and with her catering background, it seemed to be a good fit for a full-time job (Jill’s potato salad is a Sioux Falls favorite). Her job has since grown into Director of Indoor Operations & Events. One of the things she loves most about her job is having every day be different. Nothing is ever boring at The Bear.

Alexa Jerstad

Director of Communications & Human Resources

Growing up skiing at Great Bear with her family, Lexi’s love for winter sports began at a young age. In 2010, she started as a guest services employee greeting and assisting visitors. After graduating college, Lexi was made Director of Communications. Her duties now include managing day-to-day administrative tasks, assisting department heads and promoting the Great Bear brand. She enjoys working alongside her coworkers who share her passion for snow: “The employees at Great Bear are one big, happy family! It is such a fun place to work.”



Brandon wishes he had a cool story about how his parents were ski bums and that he was on skis since the day he was born. But the truth is, he never even lived in a place that got snow until he was 16. In 2001, he started working in the rental shop during college, never skiing a day in his life. Figuring he should know how to ski if he was going to work at a ski area, he gave it a shot and was instantly hooked. His new love kept him coming back year after year. In 2011, Brandon took over as rental shop manager and in 2021, he was promoted to full time as the Director SnowSports & Rental Operations.

“I love having the opportunity to share skiing and snowboarding with other people, maybe they will end up loving it as much as I do,” Brandon said. His younger brother and sister are prime examples of this, taking up the sport and even becoming employees themselves. His favorite parts about working at Great Bear are the people he gets to meet and the people he works with, affectionately calling them his “winter family.”

For questions regarding the SnowSports School, please email

Kyle Vanderberg

Director of mountain operations/Content Creator

In 2008, Kyle started as a maintenance employee and immediately fell in love with snowmaking. After two years, he became Assistant Mountain Manager. In 2019, he was promoted to Mountain Manager and in 2023, promoted to full time as the Director of Mountain Operations. His duties also include social media management and on-hill photographer/videographer. Kyle enjoys the variety of his job: “There is always something to do, and it is always something different. Keeps things fast-paced and energetic!”

Adam Jerstad

Mountain Manager

A Sioux Falls native, Adam grew up snowboarding at the Bear with his friends. He joined the team in 2010 as maintenance and was hooked. In 2019, Adam was promoted to Mountain Manager. When he is not making snow or doing lift inspections, Adam is a CAD engineer designing fire trucks. Adam loves to hit the slopes with his friends.

Jayne Vanderberg

Vibe coordinator

A Minnesota native, Jayne grew up skiing every Christmas at Giant’s Ridge with her family. She moved to Sioux Falls in 2014 and joined the Great Bear team in 2018 as a part of Guest Services. In 2020, she was promoted to Vibe Coordinator, helping with a variety of tasks! Jayne is also the Director of Sales & Events at Oh My Cupcakes.

Brayden Harris

Ski Patrol Director

Recently graduated from Augustana University, Brayden joined the Great Bear Ski Patrol in 2019. In 2021, he was promoted to Ski Patrol Director.

Jeff Johnson

National Ski Patrol Rep

A teacher at Washington High School and avid rock climber, Jeff joined the Great Bear Ski Patrol in 2015. In 2021, he was elected the next NSP Rep and will take the lead on training.

Ryan Bathke

mountain manager

The VP of Performance Management for Citibank, Ryan began as a lift operator in 2017. He was promoted to Assistant Mountain Manager in 2022.

“Every year I’ve been out here it keeps getting better and better, and I’m expecting great things this year!”



Kaleb, who is cook at Buffalo Wild Wings, began making snow overnight in 2019. He was promoted to Overnight Snowmaking Manager in 2022.

“I’m excited to make some great snow and hopefully some smiles!”

Jolene Stangeland

Administrative assistant

In 2020, Jolene joined the Guest Services team and was promoted to Administrative Assistant in 2023, bringing with her years of customer service experience.   “I love working at Great Bear, getting to be with fun people! Its action packed and every day is different.”

Keith Thomas

Lift Operations supervisor

Keith joined the team in 2018 as a lift operator and was promoted to Lift Operations Supervisor in 2023. 

collin blind

Lift Operations supervisor

Collin joined the team in 2020 as a lift operator and was promoted to Lift Operations Supervisor in 2023. 

jill draeger

Lift Operations supervisor

Jill joined the team in 2021 as a lift operator and was promoted to Lift Operations Supervisor in 2023. 

avery boechler

Lift Operations supervisor

Avery joined the team in 2021 as a lift operator and was promoted to Lift Operations Supervisor in 2023. 

mike nesheim

instructor training coordinator

A longtime skier of The Bear, Mike has had many roles over the years. In 2023, he became Instructor Training Coordinator, sharing his passion for winter sports with our ski and snowboard instructors.


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