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For the week of  October 31 - November 6, 2001


Bald Mountain snowmaking hampered by warm, wet weather

Express Staff Writer

This weekís rain and warm temperatures arenít helping Sun Valley Co.ís snowmaking efforts on Bald Mountain.

The man-made snow visible from Ketchum on Upper College and Flying Squirrel is the product of only two nights work, Sun Valley snowmaking director Peter Sterns said.

"We had a very productive night on Oct. 24, and then on Oct. 25, we had kind of a marginal night."

Unfortunately, this weekís rain and warm weather is beginning to melt the man-made snow.

"If itís above 45 or 50 degrees during the day, we start going backwards," Sterns said.

Sterns would not try to predict how much terrain Sun Valley might have open by the Thanksgiving day opener.

"Having only one productive day under our belt, and Thanksgiving five days earlier than normal this year, and it being warm and rainy outside, Iím not going to make any predictions this early," he said.

The artificial snow at Sun Valley is produced by a computerized snowmaking system. The resortís 544 high-powered nozzles spew frigid snow on 645 acres of the mountain .

The system typically starts running well in advance of the traditional opening of the ski mountain on Thanksgiving Day.

Enormous turbine pumps and compressors at three main cooling towers on the mountain fire hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per hour. By laying down a coat of snow on Baldy, Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach said the resort could ensure skiers that most of the 9,150-foot high mountain would be open on time even if natural snowfall is poor.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.