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Great Bear Employment

Meet Our Team

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Dan Grider
General Manager

Dan was first bitten by the ski bug in the mid 70’s at his local ski area, Great Bear! During the 80’s Dan was involved in his families 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 areas 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”

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Jill Lerdal
Assistant GM / Events Coordinator

Jill started as a part time bartender in 2000. In 2004 the kitchen manager position opened up and with her catering background that 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 Assistant General Manager/Events Coordinator. One of the things she loves most about her job is having every day be different. Nothing is ever boring at The Bear.

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Kyle Vanderberg

Assistant Mountain Manager / Photographer-Videographer 

In 2008, Kyle started as a maintenance employee and immediately fell in love with snowmaking. After two years, he became Assistant Mountain Manager. Recently, his duties have expanded to 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!”

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Alexa Giebink

Assistant Office Manager

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 in 2016, Lexi was made Office Assistant. Her duties now include managing day-to-day administrative tasks and assisting departments heads. 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.”

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Joshua Goettsch

Mountain Manager

Joshua started as a lift operator in 2003. After a couple of years moved to management and in 2010 to Outside Operations Manager. One of the things he loves most about his job: “It’s really exciting to be apart of something that gives back to the local community. I like creating a fun and safe environment for people to enjoy out here at the bear.”

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Roxie Johnson

Kitchen Manager

Roxie started in the kitchen part time in 2005. Shortly after she became kitchen manager. She quickly became the driving force behind the amazing winter weekend breakfasts. She loves to help kids with their first job experience and help them grow in a working environment. She has also started the very successful Angels With A Dream fundraiser that benefits Make-A-Wish of South Dakota. Many of the Great Bear staff, volunteer their time to help in making kids with life threatening illnesses dreams come true. Angels With A Dream is held in the summer each year at Great Bear. She says she loves Great Bear because we are all one big family and enjoys watching the kids every year as they grow through the sport.

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Billy & Sharon Heap

Ski Patrol Director

BillyJoe and Sharon have been part of the National Ski Patrol since 1991 and transferred to the Great Bear Ski Patrol in January 2000.  They became Patrol Directors at Great Bear in 2004.  Growing up in Canada, BillyJoe learned to ski at a very young age and has passed his passion for the sport on to his kids who learned to ski/snowboard at the same time they learned to walk.  Sharon's not an avid skier but cheers the family on from the chalet.  The family atmosphere and the great perks of discounted ski lessons for volunteer patrollers and their immediate family is what got them involved at Great Bear.

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Brennan Ahnberg

Ski School Director

His love for snow sports, more specifically snowboarding, began when he was an 8th grader at Whittier Middle School.  Starting in 2002, he began teaching lessons as a part-time instructor.  He never anticipated just how far this endeavor would take him.  In 2010, the Snow Sports Director position opened up and Great Bear  took a chance on a kid, solely fueled by passion.  8 years later, that same love, and more importantly, the ability to teach and pass it on to others is as alive as it has ever been.  “If you can’t think of anything worthy to end on, quote someone else and finish strong.  ‘All you’ve go to do is go that way, really fast.  If something gets in your way… Turn.”- Charles de Mar; Better Off Dead (1985)

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Brandon Mercado

Rental Shop Manager 

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 had 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 having skied 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, and in 2011 Brandon took over as the rental shop manager.  “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 says.  His younger brother and sister are prime examples of this, taking up the sport and even becoming Great Bear employees themselves. His favorite part about working at Great Bear are the people he gets to meet and the people he works with, affectionately calling them his “winter family”. 

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