Warm weather melts winter
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
Due to unseasonably warm
temperatures that have dominated Idaho this month, Soldier Mountain Ski
Area north of Fairfield was forced to close earlier than planned.
"We want to thank you for a very
successful 2003-2004 season," Soldier Mountain Manager Larry Davenport
said. "I closed it last Sunday, and, when I did, I was second guessing
my decision. After going up on the mountain today, I know there was no
way we could have stayed open this weekend."
The lifts ground to a halt and the
ski area was swept for the final time on Sunday, March 21.
Soldier Mountain, which does not
make artificial snow, also got off to a late start this year. The
opening was three weeks later than planned, but the moderately sized ski
area cranked up its two double chairlifts and served up 1,410 vertical
feet of predominately powder snow skiing on Dec. 18.
Davenport said he hasnít finished
tabulating the seasonís ski numbers, but said they were up from the
"We had a very good year," he
One of the unique things about
Soldier Mountain is that it typically has great powder skiing, and this
season was no exception, Davenport said. Because the area is typically
open Thursday through Sunday, storms pile up early in the week, and
powder skiing is abundant.
"When you come down here on a
Thursday morning, you can get face shots just about anywhere right off
the lifts," he said. "You donít have to go up for the cat skiing."
Though snowpacks throughout Idaho
were close to average throughout the winter, warm weather and a lack of
precipitation in March have quickly pealed back the layers of snow.
Where snowpacks hovered about 100 percent of average just three weeks
ago, those numbers had dropped below 80 percent in the Big Wood and
South Fork of the Boise river basins this week.
Soldier Mountain opened this year
with two new runs on the mountainís steeper and shadier north side.
Davenport said the new runs are considered intermediate to expert level
terrain that will appeal to powder skiers because they are not regularly
"Weíre basically just trying to
make the mountain more user friendly," he said.