Late snows aid skier count
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
In the last throes of the ski season, Mother Nature added
some fluffy finishing touches to what was otherwise a marginal snow year
on Sun Valley Co.ís Bald Mountain.
And Sun Valley reported an impressively high season-total
skier count considering the dry winter.
Ski patroller Gary Davis, East Fork
resident Connor Davis and Hailey resident George Hubert nab the last lift
ride of the season at the base of Warm Springs on Sunday. Express
Photo by David N. Selig
For 2000/2001, Sun Valley reported that 398,076 skiers,
snowboarders and pinheads took to Baldyís and Dollar Mountainís
slopes. Thatís a 7 percent increase over 1999/2000, a season that nabbed
375,000 mountain visits. The 1998/1999 winter season hosted 418,010 Bald
and Dollar mountain visits.
When asked why there would be an increase in skier visits
in such a low snow year, Sun Valley spokeswoman Kris Nardecchia said,
"A lot of it is definitely attributed to the incredible snowmaking
and the mountain department. We didnít get one complaint this season
about the skiing or mountain quality, and I think the late season snow
helped a little bit, too."
Over a foot of new snow fell on the upper reaches of Baldy
in the last two weeks of the season, a season that was surprisingly
extended a week because of the fantastic conditions.
The season total snowfall was still low, however.
The Sun Valley ski patrolís snow safety supervisor, Rich
Bingham, said that between Thanksgiving and the mountainís closure, 122
inches of snow fell on Baldy. The ski area closed with a 64-inch base at
Last year, 137 inches of snow fell on Baldy throughout the
winter, and in 1998/1999, 191 inches fell. The average winter garners 165
inches of snow.
Bingham said storms during the last two week were sort of
representative of the entire winter.
"Thatís been the story for the winter," he
said, "a lot of small storms."
Nardecchia said Sun Valleyís lodging occupancies were
also up over last year.
"It was a really good winter, given the decrease in
the natural snowfall from last year," she said.