Troy Nedved brings background as outdoorsman, athlete, educator to the fore
By Doug Hare EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – Troy Nedved grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, in the Rapid City area, where his passion for athletics and the outdoors blossomed from an early age. “My family didn’t ski. I didn’t have the money to ski. So I went with church groups at night to Deer Mountain Ski Area which doesn’t exist anymore,” Nedved said. “All I knew was night skiing and I never had a ski lesson—which is interesting considering my future job, yeah that’s been a core: ski instructor.”
Last September, Nedved was promoted from Vice President of Mountain Services to General Manager of Operations for Big Sky Resort. Having worked during the winters in some capacity for the resort for 23 years, including roles in Mountain Sports, Guest Services, Base Camp and serving on the resort’s executive team.
Nedved’s longtime mentor and friend Taylor Middleton will hand off GM responsibilities to maintain high-level oversight of Big Sky Resort’s operational and budgetary performance and focus more on planning and long-term growth strategies
Nedved chose to study at Montana State University intending to go to law school, attaining both a criminal justice and biology degree, when life intervened. Throughout college, he worked at Bridger Bowl as a ski instructor to obtain a free pass. He also started working for the National Park Service during the summers while still at MSU, eventually becoming a permanent employee in 2000. He did not exactly sign up for a desk job, spending most of his time outside conducting forestry and park management, including firefighting by helicopter.
Nedved lived in a teepee in Gardiner for two years down on the banks of the Yellowstone River across from the Yellowstone Raft Company, where he developed world-class abilities as a kayaker.
“The culture around rafting and kayaking is pretty heavy and I connected with some of the folks around there that were pretty into it. That was the start of that,” Nedved said of his early days in the park. “My Yellowstone days, I spent all my time when I was not working on the water.” And even when he was working, and someone needed to brave a stretch of Class V rapids for a rescue mission or body recovery, he was the one for the job.
When Teton Gravity Research started making kayak movies, Nedved and his friends got the call as well. “We were pioneering lines that had never been done before: in Costa Rica and Nepal, but also stretches of river in Montana in the Crazy Mountains of Big Timber Creek and lots of runs in Beartooths that had never been floated,” Nedved recounted.
“We spent a lot of time looking at maps, hiking around the mountains, finding stuff that was runnable versus not. It was a stage of kayaking community in Montana that we got started. Now the next generation of these kids is blowing my mind—doing things that we didn’t even think was possible.”
Nedved is an athlete’s athlete. “I love competing in just about anything. When I was first in Montana, I found out about Powder 8s at Bridger Bowl. It was a cool event and we got into it,” he said in a typically modest way. “It was just another thing to hone your skills as a ski instructor and a skiing professional.”
Nedved has since won the national Powder 8 competition five times and competed on ESPN at the highest level of the niche sport in the Powder 8 World Championships held at Mike Wiegele’s heliskiing operation in Canada. Even some twenty years later, he is still finding podiums in the aesthetically appealing alpine events with longtime partner Nick Herrin, currently the CEO of the Professional Ski Instructors of America. Nedved credits his year-round athletic pursuits for what keeps him in the condition to still make perfect turns..
The South Dakota-native runs in almost every 5k running race in town but prefers the longer mountain runs like The Rut 28k or 50k race. A few years back, he found a passion for Nordic skiing, which he now considers his favorite endurance sport. And this year, he raced the 30-mile Big Sky Biggie course and took home third place.
In his new role as general manager, Nedved will lead all operations teams at the resort, including mountain operations, mountain services, mountain sports, lodging, food and beverage, IT, human resources, and the rental and retail divisions. He feels up to the task. While the new GM is impressed with the results of the renovation of the Mountain Mall, now dubbed The Exchange, and pleased with how the newly installed RFID technology makes loading lifts a more seamless operation, he is not one to rest on his laurels.
“One thing that is important to me is obviously our lift infrastructure, which our ownership is so committed to growing,” Nedved said about the future of the resort. “As Stephen [Kircher] has said before, we want to be state-of-the-art. We don’t just want to be the best here, we want to be the best in the world.”
Nedved is excited for the plans for the new Swift Current 6 lift next season, which is slated to be the fastest in North America, but he is also working hard on a new gondola lift project which is already deep in the planning stages. The new man-in-charge of the resort also wants to improve snow-making capabilities to keep up with the increased lift capacities.
“Big Sky offers a ski experience unlike any other in North America. It has a European feel to it with the Alpine experience, the exposure, the size and scale are unlike anything else. You have some other unique mountains that are more boutique-ish: the Tellurides, the Jackson Holes, the Sun Valleys,” Nedved said about why he won’t take a cookie cutter approach to his new job.
None of them have more than an acre per skier for the experience like we do, and I think that matches Montana, who we are and who we’ve always been. I think we need to embrace that and not make a shift to what the rest of the ski industry does because that’s the pattern.”