Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Baldy, Dollar set to open on Thanksgiving

: Warm weather hinders but doesn?t halt snowmaking

Machine-made snow is beginning to snake its way down River Run on the east side of Bald Mountain. Photo by Willy Cook

Despite warmer-than-normal November weather, Sun Valley Co. anticipates that both Bald and Dollar mountains will be open for skiing on Thanksgiving Day.

"We have been fairly successful in the past, and we will do everything in our power to reach our goal," said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co. spokesman.

Some local residents have already tested the newly created snow and report the warm conditions have not depleted the man-made cover as much as one might think.

"I have been up there almost every day since they started making snow," said Brian Webber of Paul Kenny's Ski and Sports, which is located at the base of Warm Springs. "In most places, on the Mid to Lower Warm Springs run there is a good 18-inch base with only a few bare spots."

As for the River Run side of the mountain, there is snow on Upper College and Mid and Lower River Run, said U.S. Forest Service Recreation Program Manager and Winter Sports Specialist Joe Miczulski.

"It's all up to Mother Nature to provide the snow or to provide cold enough temperatures for snow making," Miczulski said.

Sun Valley Co. has one of the largest and most efficient snowmaking systems in the world. If nature provides just a little assistance, there will be man-made snow on some trails.

Dollar Mountain, at roughly 2,500-feet lower elevation than Baldy, is in the same predicament.

"We fully expect to have at least two top-to-bottom runs open by Thanksgiving," said Sibbach.

In the meantime, everyone in the Sun Valley area can do their part: Think cold thoughts and pray for snow.

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