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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 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. 

Friday — March 26, 2004


Warm weather
arrives early

Outdoor activity abounds

Sun Valley may close early

Sun Valley Co. announced Thursday that it might have to change its projected April 18 closing date for skiing on Bald Mountain.

Jack Sibbach, company spokesman, said that mountain managers will evaluate the snow conditions daily to determine if the date will be moved up. However, no decision to change the date has been made, he said.

"We’ve been renting bikes. We had to hustle to get them ready, but we know that they’ll come back in and sit for a while as soon as the inevitable cold weather returns."

ROB SANTA, Sturtevants Mountain Sports owner

Express Staff Writer

For the past two weeks, typically still the heart of ski season, a daily procession of road bikers has streamed up and down the Wood River Valley on state Highway 75.

Cars topped with kayaks have been heading toward some of Idaho’s famous whitewater runs. Climbers are returning from trips to the desert with stories of warm, south-facing rocks and mud-free hikes. Mountain bikers are riding the meandering single-track trail that climbs Carbonate Mountain west of Hailey.

But the warm weather that has facilitated these out-of-season activities is fairly unusual, said Mike Huston, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pocatello.

"These are pretty significant numbers, about 15 degrees above normal," Huston said. "I wouldn’t say it’s out of the ordinary, though. I wouldn’t say we crushed records."

Even if they weren’t crushed, records were broken across southern Idaho this week. On Tuesday, records were posted in Pocatello, Burley, Idaho Falls and Challis. Pocatello broke records on March 18, 19 and 20, with temperatures in the 70s each day.

Though the National Weather Service does not keep track of temperatures in the Wood River Valley, it stands to reason that records were at least close to being broken on Tuesday here, too.

As the warmth clutched the state the past several weeks, hikers and bikers took notice.

"We’ve been renting bikes," said Rob Santa, who owns Sturtevants Mountain Sports in Ketchum and Hailey. "We had to hustle to get them ready, but we know that they’ll come back in and sit for a while as soon as the inevitable cold weather returns."

Santa said he has also put some of his summer merchandise on store shelves.

It was "just in time delivery, which is normally a month early delivery," he said.

Laura Hall, who works in the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau’s visitor center on Main Street in Ketchum, said tourists have been asking where to go hike and bike as much as they’ve been asking about skiing and snowshoeing.

"We’re getting questions here about golfing, too," she said. "But I’m also getting a lot of response from folks about how much they are enjoying the skiing."

Huston said this month’s high temperatures were caused by a high pressure ridge and a deep trough in the jet stream off the coast of California.

"That’s what helps to produce a southwest flow and allows warmer temperatures to develop over our area," he said. "As we move out in the next six to 10 days, they basically keep the jet stream north of us."

Huston said the warm weather is something that is "probably not going to set in for the entire springtime pattern," but higher-than-average temperatures are in the three-month forecast.

"Typically we start to see some big changes in the spring, some wild swings," he said.

And when those wild swings occur, Santa said he’ll be ready.

"We’ve still be fairly active on ski business, too," Santa said. "It’s not like people have thrown in the towel on skiing."


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

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.