Montana is probably one of the most beautiful States in the USA and, with its wide open meadows, sparse population and rugged mountains, it has earned the moniker ‘big sky’. No doubt, it’s secluded at Showdown Montana, but by working there you get the chance to live in pristine Montana for a season.
Showdown is located in the Little Belt Mountains in Montana. The closest towns are Neihart, White Sulphur Springs (30 miles away), and Great Falls (60 miles away), which is about an hour’s drive north. An employee shuttle is available to get you to and from Great Falls and White Sulphur Springs for a daily fee.
Showdown is Montana’s oldest ski area. It’s a small mom and pop day use area with a small, quaint vibe. It’s all natural snow (no snowmaking) and very few lift lines. Showdown’s base area elevation is 6,800 feet, which is higher than many other Montana ski area summits. There is heaps of live music most weekends.
White Sulphur Springs is a rural town with a population of about 1,000, with all the usual amenities, plus a fantastic natural hot springs. Great Falls has about 70,000 in the area and offers an array of services and entertainment. Staff usually come from Neihart, White Sulphur Springs, Great Falls, and Martinsdale.
The terrain varies from beginner to intermediate and, due to the smaller crowds, the runs are fairly open. Solid powder lines stay until the end of the day. Most importantly, as a worker you can easily ski every day. Most staff get on the slopes every day of the season if they want.
The Terrain Park is open most days; however, it can sometimes be closed thanks to a big overnight snowfall. Showdown, day in and day out, has some of the best snow in Montana because of its height. There is seldom a lift line.
The mountain is smaller and secluded and is more suited to seasonal workers who enjoy the quietness of mountain life and living surrounded by Montana's natural beauty.
To get a job at Showdown, apply online at Showdown Montana Employment. Applications are accepted at any time throughout the year. All types of jobs are available, including snow school instructors, food and beverage staff, lodge operations, lift operators, ticket checkers, terrain park staff, rental and ticket cashiers, rental technicians, parking lot and greeters, ski patrol, janitor, daycare supervisor, guest services and human resources. See Jobs Available at Mountain Resorts for further information on ski resort jobs.
The season is usually open from early December until early April.
Face to face interviews are preferred, but interviews can be conducted over the phone if necessary.
Outside of the ski area there also are plenty of local business in the local towns, such as building contractors, motels, restaurants, bars, and so on, are often looking for staff during the busy winter months, as well as government jobs such as the United States Forest Service or Montana State Bureau of Land Management.
The ski area does not cover additional training for snow school instructors such as PSIA-NRM.
All full time employees receive a complimentary season pass, however part time employees’ pass costs depends on how many days they work. Depending on full or part time status, discounts are available for dependent family members. The ski area also offers reciprocal deals with other mountains, but these change regularly. In the past, it has included Big Sky.
International applicants are accepted, but you will need a valid American working visa. This could include a J-1 visa. There is no provision for H2B visas. See Work a Season in the USA for further information.
The mountain has 1,200 vertical feet, with steeps and flats and nice rolling terrain between. Advanced skiing and riding is in the bowl with some steep runs and tree glades.
There are also two cross-country ski trails, with one leading to back country bowls.
The ski area has two terrain parks, a basic beginner park and a large park. The large park has jumps, boxes, rails, and other challenging features.
The average snowfall is around 255 inches per year, resulting in a packed base around 65 inches. On good snow years, it gets 300+ inches per year.
No employee housing is offered, but Showdown does have contacts for places to rent in the general vicinity of the ski area. The best option is to work with the ski area during your initial job inquiry, and then research the suggested contacts ASAP.
Bob’s Bar in Neihart is renowned as the après ski for Showdown Montana and local snowmobilers. It has home cooked food and plenty of good times.
Showdown staff members are friendly and outgoing; there is always a bonfire, rail jam, music jam, or barbeque happening somewhere.
Showdown has a line up of events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Banff Film Festival and the Torchlight Parade.
White Sulphur Springs and Great Falls both have other activities for outside work entertainment. The best restaurants include Rikki’s Pizza & Pasta in Great Falls, and The Corner Stone Deli in White Sulphur Springs, and the best nightlife includes The Sip ‘n Dip Lounge in Great Falls and the Montana Roudhouse in White Sulphur Springs.