Warm weather may
prevent Baldy opening
bookings still down
Express Staff Writer
and Associated Press
Co. announced Tuesday that, baring a significant and unexpected weather
event, Bald Mountain will not be open for skiing on Thanksgiving Day as
now, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be open on Thanksgiving Day
unless, of course, we get a lot of help from Mother Nature," Sun
Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach said. "The temperatures have just been
too warm to make snow."
crews have managed to make a smattering of snow on several of Baldy’s
and Dollar Mountain’s ski runs, but Sibbach said another seven to 10
days of steady cold temperatures are needed.
will open as soon as we can ski from top to bottom on either side of the
mountain, probably Warm Springs," Sibbach said. "To make that
possible without any help from Mother Nature, we’re probably going to
need several days of cold temperatures, and we’re going to need good
snowmaking temperatures at least 12 hours a day to connect everything on
the Warm Springs side of the mountain."
He said Sun
Valley would begin telephoning anticipated guests Tuesday afternoon to
warm them of the sketchy conditions and ongoing warm weather. If guests
choose not to come, Sun Valley will refund their money.
who come anyway, "We’ll open up other activities depending on the
weather," Sibbach said. "We’ll just have to wait and see what
the weather’s going to allow us to do."
at the Sun Valley Gun Club or mountain biking are among the possible
are obviously encouraging people to come, but we’re being honest with
them," he said.
weather and lack of snowfall continue, the valley’s tourist reservations
are continuing to look soft.
advanced bookings with the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce’s
central reservations center were down 9 percent from last year, and
October’s were down 23 percent from last year, Sun Valley-Ketchum
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Waller said.
think it’s safe to say that people are anticipating an overall decrease
this winter," Waller said. "Advance bookings are probably down
valley-wide 25 to 30 percent. At least November and December are going to
be pretty off."
reservations at some of the nation's premier ski resorts are rebounding
after dropping as much as 50 percent immediately after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks on the East Coast.
attacks, balmy weather and the deepening economic decline had left many
resorts—and the towns that depend on them—wondering if the season
could be salvaged. Some communities cut their budgets and some resorts
said they would be more conservative about hiring people and opening
week, many resorts started to see colder, wetter weather in Colorado and
in the East. And skiers are taking advantage of deep discounts for lift
tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars that resorts are offering in hopes of
bringing back business.
our mountain is covered with snow now, and people can see it on our
mountain cam,'' said Anna Olson of Wyoming's Jackson Hole resort.
"Our lodging division did more bookings Tuesday than they did in the
entire month of September.''
Colorado Pass sales have been so strong that the resort decided to extend
sales by one week. The Colorado Pass gives skiers 10 days at Vail or
Beaver Creek and unlimited visits to Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge and
Keystone. The pass sells for $299 for adults and $129 for children.
has been so tremendous," said Kelly Ladyga, corporate communications
director for Vail Resorts, about the reason why the sale was extended.
Vermont, opened the New England season on Tuesday, and Mammoth Mountain on
Thursday became the first California resort to open. Grand Targhee, Wyo.,
plans to open Friday, weather permitting.
Central Reservations had its best day in two years last week, said Bill
Tomich, president of the booking agency. United Airlines announced it was
restoring some Aspen flights it had canceled—"a huge lucky break
for us,'' Tomich said.
who ski or snowboard are more willing to live with some risk in their
lives than other sectors of the population,'' said David Perry, president
of Colorado Ski Country U.S.A. "I truly believe in the power of
distraction, and a big snowfall will be a powerful incentive for skiers to
get back to their normal lives.''
resorts are also hoping skiers who had considered traveling to Europe or
Canada will stay closer to home.
incentive, Big Sky in Montana is offering a deal that includes free lift
tickets, breakfast and a one-day car rental with a five-day booking at any
of the resort's lodgings. Vail is offering a buy-one, get-one-free deal
including lodging and lift tickets.
meanwhile is concentrating on adding value to vacations rather than
Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce initiated a program last week that will
offer those staying at participating lodging properties $25 in travel
tokens, which will be good at local businesses.
It may not
sound like much at first, bur "for a family of four, it could be a
good incentive, actually," Chamber Executive Director Carol Waller