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Brundage Mountain co-owner Judd DeBoer dies at 81

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Brundage Mountain co-owner Judd DeBoer died Tuesday. He was 81.

“For the past two weeks, Judd DeBoer has been in intensive care at the St. Luke’s Boise hospital,” a statement from Brundage Mountain read. “It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Judd passed away peacefully on Tuesday night at the age of 81.  The DeBoer family will need some time and space to grieve his loss and chart a path forward in these uncertain times.” 

With his wife Diane, the DeBoers guided the mountain resort north of McCall for decades. Through Brown’s Industries, the pair became a major anchor in the resort area.

The DeBoers and Brundage

Founded in 1959, Brundage Mountain was founded by Warren Brown, bringing a new Idaho-grown skiing option in Adams County. In 1980, the DeBoers purchased the 50% stake in the business owned by Brown, Diane’s dad. In 2006, they bought out the other half owned by the JR Simplot family and took over full ownership of the resort.

Today, Brundage employs as many as 300 people during the peak skiing season and spreads across 18,000 acres with lodges, snowcat skiing and more.

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Beyond Brundage, Judd and Diane put together a collection of Idaho businesses, like the Activity Barn tubing hill, InIdaho vacation rental service, River Ranch housing development and an Eagle building materials center they sold last fall.

Judd always worked to keep Brundage as a local-focused ski resort. Without high-end condos or fancy food service, the ski area had a uniquely Idaho quality. He told the Associated Press in 1994 that through expansion, they wanted to keep the hometown feel.

“Our challenge in planning for our expansion has been finding ways to accommodate the additional skiers without losing the good qualities Brundage Mountain is known for,” he said. “Namely our friendly, family atmosphere, reasonable prices and uncrowded slopes.”

In 2018, then-Idaho Governor Butch Otter honored DeBoer with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Recreation and Tourism. It joined a collection of honors, from the Payette Lakes Ski Club, Intermountain Ski Areas Association and others.

Faith and a focus on customers

In 2017, DeBoer told Skip Hall his faith helped guide him.

“My faith is extremely important, not only to me but to Diane as well,” he said. “Together we depend on that – we rely on it. It’s been part of our live ever since we’ve been married – which is over 50 years by the way. We are very grateful for God’s help in our plans in meeting these challenges.”

He told Hall that the thing that makes Brundager work — is the team.

“We have a great customer-oriented team at Brundage. You always shoot for the best people you can get, and train them to do their job. We think the customer is the most important aspect. It’s not so huge like a mega-resort where you have to worry about your kids and find them at lunch.

Services for DeBoer have not yet been announced.

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