Skier numbers down
for opening weekend
Poor weather blamed for slow start
"We need that four letter word: snow."
— JACK SIBBACH, Sun Valley Co.
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Sun Valley skier numbers were less than
hoped for over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a result Sun Valley Co.
officials believe was due to poor weather conditions.
"It went fair. I think the guests that
were here certainly had an enjoyable time," said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co.
director of marketing and public relations. "The weather, of course, didn’t help
the skier count."
Sun Valley Co. opened Bald and Dollar
mountains on Wednesday, Nov. 26, one day earlier than originally scheduled.
With excellent conditions prevailing on
opening day, 1,533 skiers and snowboarders descended Sun Valley’s slopes.
Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday brought respectable skier counts of
2,068 and 2,258 respectively.
However, skier numbers dropped on Saturday
and Sunday, as warm, wet weather moved into the Wood River Valley. Sun Valley
Co. tallied a mere 1,809 skiers on Saturday and 1,369 skiers on Sunday.
The holiday weekend’s skier-count
totals—7,504--were down sharply compared to last year, when 10,785 skiers and
boarders took to the slopes from Thanksgiving Day through the following Sunday.
Ski runs were open from top to bottom on
both sides of Bald Mountain last weekend, including local favorites such as
Upper College, Canyon and Upper Warm Springs. Sibbach said conditions were
deemed "wonderful" over most of the weekend.
Despite the low skier count, Sun Valley
has generally found better fortune than other Idaho ski resorts. Bogus Basin ski
area, near Boise, was forced to close indefinitely on Monday after weekend rains
melted several inches of an already lean snow base. Soldier Mountain, near
Fairfield, has not yet opened due to lack of snow.
Sun Valley benefited from cold
temperatures in early November that allowed its advanced snowmaking systems to
build an ample base prior to opening day. A wet storm system that brought rain
to the Wood River Valley on Sunday delivered approximately two inches of wet
snow to the summit of Bald Mountain, Sibbach said.
On Monday, Sun Valley Co. reported that
Bald Mountain had a 25-inch base at the top, 22-inch base at mid-mountain and a
19-inch base at the bottom.
Sibbach said company officials—like many
local residents—are hoping for more snow to increase snow depths and improve
conditions. "We need that four letter word: snow," he said.
Rob Santa, owner of Sturtevants sporting
goods store in Ketchum, said business was steady over the holiday weekend. "We
have every reason to believe it is going to be a strong winter season," he said.