Showdown is Montana’s oldest ski area, with the first wooden skis hitting its slopes in 1936. There are four lifts that service the mountain now, a triple and two doubles sharing space with a magic carpet lift. Take the Prospector double lift up the mountain. The 12 minute trip up the 1400-foot vertical is worth the visit alone and the view from the 8200 foot peak is amazing any time of day and any time of year. The resort gets 240 inches of fresh powder every year, more than enough to keep the 640 acres and 36 runs covered and the powderhounds happy. The difficulty mix at Showdown is fairly beginner and intermediate friendly with 7 expert runs, 20 intermediate trails, and 9 novice rated runs.
Moving Around the Mountain
The short surface conveyer services the learning area and Sourdough Hill, an easy bunny slope. The Sluice Goose is a double that goes 650 feet up the mountain and allows access to easy cruisers on the north side. These runs are gentle, but long enough that beginning skiers are still going to feel it. For the more adventurous novices, a long groomer leads down to the base of the Prospector double which will let them off at about the midpoint. From there, a single novice trail allows them to either head back to the base or back to the embarking point for the lift
Intermediate skiers are going to play along most of the rest of the mountain. The entire center is one big steep and cruiser playground with intermediate runs zipping in and out of trees, some of them even venturing near expert territory. One of the best intermediate lines takes the southern ridge down. It seems gentle at first but quickly evolves into a wide lane that challenges you to find your own line. If you’re looking for a fall line, take Pay Dirt from the top of the Payload triple lift. This steep is a lot of fun, but never gets too crazy.
Expert skiers are going to hang out on the southern ridge, where a series of five chutes and a wickedly angled steep provide the fun. For a change of pace, there are some short glades along the northern edge, but these devolve into the afore mentioned novice runs.
Showdown also has two terrain parks, one of which is meant especially for kids and novices. Showdown has been consistently improving these parks and moving boxes and rails around, making for challenging lines. Warm up at the Kid’s Park before moving up to the main terrain park unless you’re really confident in your ability not to yard sale off a missed obstacle.
Showdown has a great daycare that’s open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm and closes for a half-hour at 12:30 for lunch. The lodge itself is decorated with hundreds of relics of skiers that have gone before you, with plenty of photos and artifacts to keep you amused.
Food-wise, there are three places for you to get warmed up and enjoy some atmosphere. The Grille offers traditional hot foods including pizza and burgers. They also have some lighter fare that gets featured as Healthy options. If company and beer are more to your liking, hit the Hole in the Wall. With ten beers on tap and an eclectic mix of boxed and bottle wines, there’s always something to wet your whistle. Live music, dancing, and plenty of great local conversation dominate on the weekends, so if you want a great time after a heck of a day on the slopes, this is the place to be.