Sun Valley prepares for Christmas holiday
By GREG STAHL
The mountain jewel, Hailey, as seen from the summit of Bald Mountain. Seattle Ridge ski runs, in the foreground are accumulating artificial and natural snow in preparation for their opening. (Express photos by Willy Cook)
Sun Valley Co. is avidly making snow all over Baldy in preparation for an influx of Christmas vacationers.
Snowmaking is occurring on the River Run side of the mountain, Seattle Ridge and Warm Springs nightly. For the time being, however, two routes down the mountain will have to suffice.
For the past week, skiers and snowboarders have been descending Upper College, Lower College and Lower River Run or Upper College, Flying Squirrel and Lower Warm Springs. The snow has provided excellent early season skiing on those runs.
A ski with a view. All covered with a nice icing of snow, skiers head toward Upper College ski run after getting off the Challenger Lift Friday morning. The Boulder and Pioneer mountains loom in the background.
Sun Valley Co. reported five inches of natural snow Sunday night on Baldy and a 32-inch total for the season. However, the Forest Services records indicate that 26 inches of snow has fallen on the summit of Bald Mountain. Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach said he could not immediately account for the discrepancy.
Despite the discrepancy, a blanket of winter white is down, and the Sun Valley ski patrol and mountain personnel are pointing to skier responsibility as a key component to a safe day on the mountain this winter.
According to a Blaine County ordinance, called the Skier Responsibility Act, skiers may not enter posted closed areas, even if they hike up the mountain. Also, the ordinance sets forth rules for reckless skiing, ski brakes and lift riding responsibilities.
According to the ordinance, it is within the ski patrols power to call the county sheriff to help enforce violations of the law.
Sibbach added that circumstances will likely not dictate legal or police action, but skiing privileges can be taken away from those who break the rules.
"We just want people to have a safe day out there," Sibbach said.
As the Wood River Valley continues to settle farther into winter, the weather is forecasted to do the same.
Mostly cloudy skies will persist through the weekend, with chances for mountain snow and valley rain each day.
Long-range forecasts still call for below-average temperatures and above-average precipitation.
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