Sun Valley begins
attention to development
Express Staff Writer
2002 Winter Olympics and a dizzying array of on-mountain improvements at
his Snowbasin Resort in Utah behind him, Sun Valley resort owner Earl
Holding is turning some attention to development in Sun Valley.
Valley Co. is beginning planning processes for development of various
properties it owns, including 160 acres at the River Run base of
Bald Mountain. Plans, including an annex proposal, could arrive at
Ketchum City Hall in six months, Sun Valley General Manager Wally
Huffman said. Express photo by Willy Cook
Valley General Manager Wally Huffman said last week that Holding is
turning some of his attention back to Idaho, where a potential
smorgasbord of development plans, both on-mountain and off, await
snowmaking and new ski trails to hotel construction, base area master
planning, a probable golf course purchase and facilities remodels,
everything appears to be on the table at Sun Valley.
going to start a remodel of the common areas of the Sun Valley Inn next
week," Huffman said. "Thatís kind of an indication that he
(Holding) has got some spare time."
many potential improvements and expansion plans, however, planning will
be a crucial step in the process.
planning process is important, so everyone, including us, knows where weíre
going," Huffman said, noting that the resort does not have any
plans on a fast track. "Since weíre the primary landowner, for
(the community) to have a good picture of what we see in 40 to 45 years,
it should help them figure out what they see."
resort is interviewing several planning organizations, one of which will
help determine the resortís on-mountain facilities improvements that
will eventually be slated in a U.S. Forest Service-approved master plan.
Sun Valley has already hired a Denver company called Design Workshop to
begin studying development options at the resortís valley floor
properties, including both ski area bases and 2,500-acres of property in
the Sun Valley Village.
we do anything, we need to have Mr. Holdingís blessing and the citiesí
blessings on what the buildout of this resort will be," Huffman
plans under study is the potential for development of 160 acres of landómostly
parking lotóthe resort owns at the River Run base of Bald Mountain. A
plan there would probably propose an annexation agreement with the city
of Ketchum, Huffman said, because the land is in Blaine County.
Run is a special entity," he said. "It cries to be developed.
We need to create a master plan and take it to Ketchum. Six months from
now, we will have a plan to submit to Ketchum."
every 10 years, ski areas like Sun Valley that operate under permits
from the Forest Service must go through a master planning process, which
slates anticipated improvements and subjects them to public review. The
process and goals are similar to municipal comprehensive planning.
Valleyís last master plan was completed in 1989, and Huffman pointed
out that a new plan must be finished before 2007, when the ski areaís
permit must be renewed.
due," Huffman said, adding that the process of drafting and
soliciting public review should take two to three years.
master plan on Baldy isnít going to be all that difficult, because itís
90 percent built out. But that doesnít mean we can avoid the extra 10
percent," Huffman said.
extra 10 percent includes several expansion issues that were included in
the resortís 1989 plan and some that are new.
highlighted several anticipated projects, including a gondola from the
base of River Run to an expanded Lookout Restaurant. More snowmaking at
Frenchmanís and in Christmas Bowl may be slated as well.
also include new ski runs below Seattle Ridge and on the west side of
Bald Mountainís summit, winding to the top of Cozy. That run, if
built, could be called Guyer Ridge. Another new run, which could be
called Olympic Meadows, is contemplated parallel to and south of Olympic
Lane, which traverses Baldyís east shoulder to Olympic Ridge.
Forest Service permits it, another contemplation that could be finished
before a new master plan is adopted is a ski and snowboarding halfpipe.
truth is, it was a long time to decide to build a halfpipe,"
Huffman said. "Now that weíve decided to do it, itís difficult,
because it isnít in the current master plan."
noticeable changes at the resort arenít likely to be on the mountain,
condominiums could be built at River Run or at Sun Valleyís existing
resort. And, if Sun Valley purchases the Elkhorn Golf Course, a new
driving range and pro shop could be built near the base of Dollar
acknowledged that change is sometimes difficult in resort towns, where
people visit and move to because they establish a connection to a placeís
love these mountain towns," Huffman said. "A lot of people who
come here donít want to see it change, but the truth is, itís going