NEAR NEIHART — There was no shortage of people on the mountain at Showdown Montana ski area on Friday as the resort officially opened for the season after a one-week delay because of a lack of snow.
"Had a lot of fun last year, stoked to do it again this year,” said snowboarder Charles Graves.
Everyone seemed to be fine with the changes in place due to the pandemic. "Any precautions they've got to do for us to come back out here and start hitting up the mountain,” Graves said.
"Really excited,” skier Emmett Forsythe said. When asked how much he was looking forward to ski season, he said “a lot."
General manager Katie Boedecker says the first few hours of opening day went smoothly. "People have been so excited to be back up here and they're thanking us for getting open. They're thanking us for all the accommodations we've made for COVID,” Boedecker explained. "We were expecting a lot of push-back from our guests, but it hasn't been that way at all. People have been amazing."
Some of the changes include masks being required indoors and turning the parking area right outside the lodge into a seating area to encourage people to congregate outside instead of inside. "The main thing is to just rethink the whole ski experience,” said Boedecker.
The annual food drive for the Great Falls Community Food Bank is scheduled for Saturday. If you bring 15 food items to donate, you’ll get a $15 lift ticket voucher.
Santa will also be on the deck at the lodge on Saturday at 11:30.
“We’ll be handing out packaged candy. Bring your cameras. It’s just a really fun time,” said Showdown interim marketing director Rickey Nash.
Showdown released its COVID plan on its website; here is an overview:
In order for us to operate as safely as possible for our guests and employees, it's important that we lay down some ground rules.
It's not complicated...
If you're not feeling well or you've been exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home.
Wear your mask or face covering in the lodge and in lift lines. If you refuse, plan on losing your skiing privileges for the season.
Practice social distancing whenever possible.
Showdown will be following these ground rules, as well as state of Montana guidelines and the guidance set forth by the National Ski Area Association. In addition, Showdown has made operational changes in every department.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By visiting Showdown Montana, you voluntarily assume all risk related to such exposure. You must follow all posted instructions and directions to help minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19. Failure to comply will result is loss of skiing privileges for the season.
- We're operating under phase 2
- Masks required indoors
- 75% lodge occupancy
- If you are planning to visit from out of state, we encourage you to review travel guidance from both your local health authority as well as the state of Montana
Our health and safety policies may be revised at any time & they will be updated on our website accordingly.
Other changes at Showdown include an outdoor takeout window and no-contact ordering kiosks for food, and additional outdoor seating.