Opening Day: Resort Officials Recognize Great Staff Effort and “A Perfect Storm”

Among the estimated 2,500 skiers Wednesday, general manager Troy Nedved said “excitement is running high” for Big Sky Resort’s opening day.

by Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER

The elevators didn’t open until 9 am, but some powder hunters were lining up before dawn. Multiple sources confirmed that Wednesday felt like any other dusty day… but in November.

If the tram construction site didn’t need a few more days to transition into ski season, the mountain could have opened a few days before Nov. 23, according to Troy Nedved, general manager of Big Sky Resort. However, Nedved said that nearly 6 feet of natural snow since Oct. 1 is the most he has seen in 26 early seasons, combined with double the typical rate of snow production. The extra 7 inches on Wednesday morning, he said, is just the icing on the cake.

“We did a race, and the emotion is so high,” Nedved told EBS around 10am. “It’s a lot of fun, there’s a lot of room to move, what a fantastic opening. We always have open challenges, and this year it’s some really good challenges. It’s a very nice change for us.”

Nedved said he would almost call it a perfect storm.

For the past two years, the resort has struggled to find enough staff. This season, Nedved said they have received more requests than ever, combined with the resort’s highest rate of returning staff.

“We are in a great position to open, with so much experience in our teams this year. of the mountain [operations] to food and drinks, to accommodation, we are very excited. It all comes together with a fantastic opening, great conditions, great guest demand this winter and a strong staff.”

And, of course, the terrain.

“[The] the bowl must be opening [Wednesday], and we are working hard for things near the top. This storm will [snow safety controls] a little harder to break ground, but we will take every flake of snow,” he said.

Finally, Nedved said that this year’s visits should be “a bit more consistent” compared to unexpected increases in recent years, which translates to “modest growth and a great guest experience.”

Mountain Manager Adam West oversees various mountain operations departments. He called Wednesday’s opening conditions “all the time.”

“You’re making a mistake if you don’t go out today or tomorrow,” West told EBS. “I’ve been here for eight years and I’ve never seen an opening day of this scale. It is a huge footprint of land, it is made [opening day] much easier and much more difficult at the same time. But seeing all these people and enjoying the powder snow, I’ve never seen anything like it this time of year.”

Despite the early opening, West said mountain operations staff have undergone significant training to get the mountain ready, some departments since early October.

“Lift operations have been spinning chairlifts all week to get ready for the public,” West said. “Our older, more experienced people are working with our newer people; that’s how we’re staffed all over the mountain right now.

West said coverage at the bowl is good, and the recent decision to include the Powder Seeker chairlift in Wednesday’s lineup came after a green light from snow safety officials.

“We are expanding, expanding, expanding, but we need to make sure that all our t’s are crossed and our i’s are dotted,” West said. “Yesterday we felt like we could do that with the powder seeker ground, and here we are.”

The ski patrol finished cordoning off the terrain Wednesday shortly before the mountain was to open. PHOTO BY JACK REANEY

Cleanup manager Matt Fregly said his crew has been compacting snow since the first storm in October. As it continued to drop into November, they began to put down their cultivators and lay down corduroy. Fregly said it’s pretty crazy how much ground his team was able to prepare in the preseason.

“It was definitely a challenge, but we have a dedicated team of really experienced operators who are out there every day, at all hours of the day, getting it ready to go. I felt very confident arriving this morning; We did a lot, and we did a lot very early this year.”

Future Wednesday Openings

Although Thanksgiving is the traditional opening day, Nedved said that could change after Wednesday’s success. In future years, the resort will consider planning the day before Thanksgiving.

“[That’s] just to have a more modest opening and diffusion [guests] get out a bit We’re not always going to have 2,000 acres to open. It’s something we might consider for the future,” she said.

Nedved also gave credit to the resort’s new events team, whose breakfast buffet, free swag, beer tasting and live DJ added some life to the base area on Wednesday.

“They are everywhere. Their calendar and plans to spice up the guest experience and get excited about all kinds of things are great.”

the bass below

Nedved gave EBS his current sense of the best snow on the mountain. For the benefit of our readers, EBS decided to hide the name of the route he named. However, he rhymes with “Tunebright” and can be accessed by the elevator that rhymes with “Ballenger”.

“It’s deep, it’s well covered and it’s long and steep,” said Nedved, as he grabbed his skis in search of that very spot with his family.

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