NEAR NEIHART — Snow is starting to fall as Showdown Montana is preparing for its 85th year of operations, making it the oldest continuously run ski hill in Montana.
The lack of snow so far this year isn’t scaring showdown owner Katie Boedecker, as she is used to low snow years and even had one just last year.
The year before that was the most snow they’ve ever had in a season at almost 400 inches, and she says it just depends, but they are still prepared to have a great season.
“You know we always have a contingency plan. Last year, we had to delay our opening by a week, and we ended up having one of our best seasons ever. The snow held all year,”. Boedecker said. “We don’t worry about it at all because we can’t control it. We start working in May and we have a crew of 18 to 20 people that work year-round. We’re probably going to delay opening until the 17th (of December) and that will just give us time to really get the mountain in good shape with the snow that we have.”
Not only is Showdown ready, but the ski school has also been busy indoors due to the lack of snow and are making sure they are fully prepared to welcome new skiers and snowboarders.
Instructor Will Gold has hired the staff he needs, including high-schoolers mostly from Great Falls and Belt to assist this year.
“They provide a lot of energy and it’s good for them to be up on the hill. It’s a good fit for them,” Gold said.
“When there isn’t snow, there’s so much to go through indoors. Safety and training protocols and things like that keep us busy without snow but of course the snow is what makes it special.
Gold added that despite the low snow this late in the year, new skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to still come and that the learning slopes will be ready for them.
“Even in a low snow year we have plenty of coverage on our learning slopes and can move enough snow that that’s never an issue for low snow. A lot of times a lot of snow can make it harder to learn. We’ll be plenty satisfied with the snow we have.”
Showdown provided this update on Monday, December 6:
Due to lack of snow, we will be postponing our opening day to Friday, December 17th. The upper part of the mountain is starting to look pretty good, but coverage is too thin in critical areas and near the bottom of the mountain. It’s currently snowing and there’s snow in the forecast so we’re optimistic about December 17! Thank you all so much for your support & pray for snow!
Our Canned Food Drive with the Great Falls Food Bank will be pushed back to Saturday, December 18th. 15 cans of food & $15 for a lift ticket. December 18 ONLY!
Starting December 17 we will be open every day through January 2 except for Christmas Day and have some fun events like Ski with Santa on December 18th and our Torchlight Parade & Fireworks on December 31.