For the week of June 9, 1999  thru June 15, 1999  

Sun Valley wants to make snow in Frenchman’s area

Express Staff Writer

Citing new technology that enables snowmaking to produce less noise, Sun Valley Company’s snowmaking director Peter Stearns asked the Ketchum City Council Monday to endorse plans to install snowmaking guns in the Frenchman’s area of Bald Mountain.

But the council said the issue is really between Sun Valley Company and residents of West Ketchum.

Ketchum Ranger District head ranger Kurt Nelson told Sun Valley that if approval from West Ketchum residents and the city council is received, the project will be a go. The city council said if West Ketchum residents are satisfied, they will be satisfied.

Sun Valley already has the infrastructure in place to make snow on Janss Pass, Under Graduate, Can-Can, French Dip and Au Jus, but to date the plan has not been met with approval by West Ketchum residents who are concerned about noise that would be funneled into their neighborhood from the Frenchman’s area.

The new snowmaking guns, Stearns said, produce 87 decibels, as opposed to 97 decibels that are produced by Sun Valley’s older snowmaking guns.

But West Ketchum resident Fred Dubios said he will never concede.

"Frenchman’s is like a bull horn," he said. "I can hear people whispering on the trails. There will be no consensus from me."

The council recommended to Stearns that a sound test be executed in the Frenchman’s valley next winter.

"Hypothetical (answers) will not satisfy those residents," Councilman Hutchinson said. "Testing in that area is what needs to be done."


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