old-timers could’ve told us that when early snows come — and come
heavy — it’ll be a hearty year for a town that understandably
considers itself the world’s best ski venue and hopes for the best.
And so the
first returns, indeed, show Ketchum and Sun Valley are enjoying a better
year than anyone would’ve predicted immediately after Sept. 11.
skier days toted up by the Sun Valley Co. for Bald Mountain totaled 87,784
— or about 4 percent up over December 2000’s 83,320 skier days.
trend holds, then remaining months of the 2002 winter season should keep
spirits high for the Wood River Valley economy that relies so heavily on a
healthy ski season.
reason for even more optimism: world class Baldy is bound to attract
side-trip visitors attending the February Winter Olympics games in the
Salt Lake City.
heavy national media coverage leading up to the Olympics — especially TV’s
footage of skiing — plus the presence of Norwegian and Ukrainian
cross-country teams in the valley undoubtedly will prompt some skiing
families, who’ve been reluctant to travel, to decide to make hurried
trips to the Sun Valley/Ketchum area for quickie winter vacations.
So much for
the winter good news.
this year also mean that the Wood River Valley will avoid a summer of
drought that bedeviled farmers and sheep ranchers in 2001.
All in all,
2002 indeed is turning out to be a happier new year.