Katie Boedecker & George Willett
(February 9, 2021) Showdown Montana is pleased to announce that after nearly 48 years of owning and operating the ski area, George Willett officially sold the business to his daughter, Katie Boedecker in September of 2020. Boedecker, who grew up at Showdown, has worked many positions at the ski area and most recently has been the General Manager for the last three years. According to the National Ski Area Association, Boedecker joins a very small list of women world-wide that own and operate a ski area. “As far as we know, Katie is the only one,” said Avery Patrick, Showdown’s long-time Marketing Director and Boedecker’s daughter.
Bank of the Rockies played a key role in the completion of this deal. Mike Grove, Bank President, and Doug Boutilier, Chief Loan Officer were excited and supportive from day one. “It's great to work with a local bank that understands the idiosyncrasies of seasonal businesses and also the important economic impact Showdown has on our region,” Boedecker shared.
MBAC, Montana Business Assistance Connection, also stepped in to provide a significant bridge loan that ensured the completion of the deal. Boedecker said, “Mark Menke & Brian Obert of MBAC were tremendous in their creativity and willingness to work with me and Bank of the Rockies to get this deal completed.”
The family legacy continues to the next generation with Boedecker’s daughter Avery Patrick, and her husband Shawn Patrick also investing in the business and coming in as shareholders in the next few months. Avery Patrick said “I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had over these past 10 years working with my Grandpa George. There’s never been a dull moment! Looking towards the future, Shawn and I are incredibly proud of my Mom, and are excited to be involved in the business and where we’re headed. Me and my brothers were fortunate to have been raised at
Showdown. With only 470 ski areas in the United
States, we appreciate how rare and unusual this experience was, and we look forward to sharing this with our son and keeping
Showdown in our family for generations to come.”
Additionally, Boedecker’s oldest son, William Gold is working in a variety of roles this winter including resort development & planning. George Gold, William’s twin brother, provides marketing assistance from Minneapolis. And Bridger Boedecker, Katie’s youngest, developed a new computer program this fall allowing Showdown to take rental reservations that dramatically improved operations during COVID.
“It’s always been my goal to engage my children in the business. I mean, who is more fun to hang out & work with than my own kids? Additionally, it goes towards our credibility and authenticity. Showdown is a family-friendly ski area. The love we have for our own family extends to our employees and guests, and creates a culture that resonates with people and makes us proud.”
Boedecker, along with the Patricks, and the 15 person year-round leadership team have big plans for the future including engaging with the U.S. Forest Service in a possible land exchange, building a 36 unit hotel/hostel and adding year round operations. “We want to build something unique and representative of Central Montana,” Shawn Patrick said.
“My dad and his wife Margie developed a place that is special for so many people. Continuing this legacy is a big responsibility but I’ve been taught by the best. I’m super proud of what they’ve created and excited to build upon it with my daughter, son-
in-law, sons and our entire team. Showdown truly is a family-run business and we take great pride in serving the families and people of Central Montana.”
Although COVID and early-season, lower-than-average snowpack combined to make this a challenging season, Boedecker proactively made many changes in operations to ensure that staff and guests are as safe as reasonably possible. “We employ over 100 people during the winter and it’s my job to make certain we stay open so our employees get their paychecks, and our guests get to be out on the mountain.” Boedecker continues, “It was extremely difficult to close early last season and we wanted to do everything we could to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. We’re so grateful for the love and support of our guests, and our hardworking, dedicated staff who have made this season work. So far, things are going great!”
Willett will retain his title as Chief Product Tester, his home on the mountain, and his upstairs office where he continues to “consult” with Boedecker on a daily basis. Willett said, “Kate tells me what to do, and I get to stick around, I’ve got a pretty good deal.” George has often said, “If you have a job you love, you never work a day in your life.” We wonder what we’ve been paying him for all these years. We love you, George. “Happy Consulting!"