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For the week of Dec. 22, 1999 through Dec. 28, 1999

Santa Claus gets some downhill action in Sun Valley before his busy night

Express Staff Writer

d22cov1.jpg (15798 bytes)Even Santa couldn't resist leaving his reindeer for a few moments to rocket down Dollar Mountain. But come Friday night, as we all know, the jolly legend will set aside his skis for a magical sleigh ride.

Hey, it’s a big job, and even the mighty Santa Clause needs to rest up before taking to the skies on Dec. 24.

On Friday, Saint Nicholas, as he’s otherwise known, was spotted on Dollar Mountain, spreading Christmas cheer and practicing his ski turns. Decked out in his red Christmas garb, Santa took advantage of Sun Valley’s limited early winter snows and said he’ll be back on Christmas for some more ski pointers from children.

"I just happened to come down here and noticed that there were a lot of people skiing on the mountain," Santa said. "If I can get good at all, maybe I can come back to Dollar Mountain on Christmas Day to ski with the kids."

Santa said he still isn’t very confident about his skiing ability. There aren’t any ski mountains at the North Pole, he said.

"I’ll definitely need some help from the kids," he said. "After I’ve done my nightly duties, I thought it would be fun to come back here and ski a little bit."

Ski lifts on Bald and Dollar mountains are up and running, and more ski runs on both mountains are opening weekly.

According to Tuesday’s Sun Valley Co. ski report, Warm Springs, mid and lower Greyhawk, Flying Squirrel, Round House Slope, Lower Canyon, mid and lower River Run, Kinderspielplatz, Christin’s Silver and Broadway on Bald Mountain are open.

Quarter and Half Dollar lifts on Dollar Mountain are servicing limited terrain.

According to Sun Valley Co. spokesman Jack Sibbach, guests have reported that conditions on open runs on Baldy are very good. He also said resort personnel will try to open all of Seattle Ridge "shortly," though he didn’t have an exact date.

Sun Valley reports that 35 inches of natural snow have fallen on the summit of Baldy this season, and five inches fell over the weekend.

Skiing on the valley’s cross- country ski trails is excellent.

Galena Lodge, 16 miles north of Ketchum, also reports excellent Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

"The skiing is great, and most of our trails are open," reported Scott Holbrook, one of the lodge’s seasonal employees.

The Blaine County Recreation District, which manages and grooms most of the valley’s cross-country trails reports that 55 kilometers of trails are groomed and open.

Various sections of the Harriman Trail, between the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters and Galena Lodge are open, and the Wood River Trails were groomed last week.

Skies are expected to remain clear through Christmas Day, and temperatures should stay below freezing.


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