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
By GREG STAHL
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
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
"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."