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 is 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’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.”
Boedecker and her staff expect to be delayed by one week this year and expect to open on December 17. They will be sending out a news release later this week to confirm the date.