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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.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of December 4 - 10, 2002


Opening week posts respectable skier numbers

Businesses give week mixed reviews

"Our goal is to build the Thanksgiving holiday up as a tradition for people, and we do have quite a bit of repeat business."

— JACK SIBBACH, Sun Valley Co. spokesman

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley skier numbers for the Thanksgiving holiday week were impressive, despite thin snow and warm temperatures, which precluded snowmaking during most of the week.

From opening day, Tuesday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, 10,785 skiers and boarders descended Sun Valley’s slopes. Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, experienced a combined 4,616 skier days.

Shredding bumps on Flying Squirrel, Brenda Zuck didn’t seem to mind Sun Valley’s spotty early season conditions over the Thanksgiving holiday. Express photo by Willy Cook


Skier numbers far surpassed last year’s Thanksgiving, when Old Man Winter failed to provide cold temperatures or natural snowfall, and the ski area opened a week after the holiday. This year’s numbers were on par with the 1998-1999 winter opening, when skiers reveled in opening-day powder and tree skiing.

"Obviously we need that four letter word, snow," said Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach. "But we had good comments from all our guests. Overall, I think it was a very successful Thanksgiving holiday period. Obviously, we would like to have had more of the mountain open."

Since opening day, Sun Valley has had top-to-bottom runs open on both sides of the mountain, but, beyond which base to ski to, there are not a lot of trail choices. What’s more, temperature inversions have produced chilly weather in the valleys while roasting Bald Mountain’s summit.

"One day last week, it was 43 degrees on top at 3 a.m.," Sibbach said.

That means mountain crews were unable to activate the area’s sophisticated network of snow guns for most of the week.

Skiing aside, local merchants reported mixed successes last week.

"We saw a lot of smiling faces, but not nearly what we’re used to," said Todd Rippo, owner of Java on Fourth in Ketchum and Java on Main in Hailey. "You want to not be able to walk in, and not be able to find a parking spot, and I didn’t see that."

Conversely, Sturtevants Ski and Sports and Formula Sports, both ski shops, reported surprising successes.

"We get lulled into thinking that Thanksgiving is just a moderate startup," said Sturtevants Ski and Sports owner Rob Santa. "And with the amount of snow on the ground, we weren’t expecting to be as busy as we were."

Santa said that means there seems to be an appetite among the populace for snow sports this winter.

Sibbach said Sun Valley has been trying to build its repeat business over the Thanksgiving holiday. He said he believes those efforts are beginning to pay off.

"Our goal is to build the Thanksgiving holiday up as a tradition for people, and we do have quite a bit of repeat business," he said. "Whether they were ice skating, bowling, skiing or shopping, I think the families that came, and the people that came, had a great time."


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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.