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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 24 - 30, 2002


Ski season numbers better than predicted

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Co. posted respectable skier numbers this winter, despite dire predictions last fall following Sept. 11 and a slipping economy.

The 2001-2002 ski season ended last weekend amidst the usual Warm Springs parties on Picabo Street. The Bobos played for a Saturday street party, and Apple’s Bar and Grill hosted fun and games Sunday. Express photo by Willy Cook

"The one-word answer is ‘snow,’" Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach said. "We had a good snowpack year, and we had consistent conditions all year. But there were a lot of reasons. The Olympics being in Utah helped. The 20-20 Pass certainly helped."

This winter’s ski season was the shortest in five years due to a late start, but posted 405,700 skier days. That ranks this year third out of the last five years.

Last year, Sun Valley hosted 398,076 mountain visits. The 1999-2000 winter hosted 376,000 visits, and 1998-1999 hosted 418,010 visits.

"So, overall, it was a fair year in Sun Valley for skier days," Sibbach said. "It certainly wasn’t a record year, but missing Thanksgiving, and with the predictions we had in October, things came out okay."

Sibbach said Utah and Northeast skier days are down significantly this year, and Colorado is down a small amount. But Idaho as a whole did very well.

The Sun Valley resort’s hotel occupancy was down about 5 percent. That probably means there were more local skier visits than in previous years, but Sun Valley managers are still crunching numbers to more accurately track visitor trends, Sibbach said.

In traditional Sun Valley fashion, the ski season ended Sunday with a bash at Apple’s Bar and Grill. Saturday, the Bobos filled Warm Springs with song at the annual end-of-the-ski season street party, which almost didn’t happen this year.

The event has taken place for 28 straight yeas, but insurance for large private gatherings has become costly. The event’s usual sponsors backed out.

Ketchum restaurateur Tom Nickel, owner of the Sawtooth Club and Roosevelt Tavern, rescued the popular tradition.

Now, Sibbach said, the Wood River Valley can turn to golf on lazy spring afternoons and look forward to a busy summer tourism season.

"Summer right now is looking a little soft for July and September, but we’re working on it," he said.


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.