Friday, March 30, 2007

Dollar, Baldy trying to hang on till Easter

Late-season ticket rates start Saturday

Express Staff Writer

A skier makes her way down Ridge, on the upper elevations of Bald Mountain. Reports indicate that skiing on many of Baldy?s trails remains excellent, despite an overall lack of snow this winter. Photo by Willy Cook

The 2006-2007 Sun Valley ski season inches one step closer to the end, as recent "storm warnings" end with a whimper, producing only nominal snowfall.

"The snowfall levels were around 7,200 feet for the first storm and the second barely touched the valley floor," said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co. director of sales, marketing and public relations. "The storms had little effect on the mountain's conditions."

Storm warnings earlier this week held some promise for fresh snow but after they passed, the Wood River Valley awoke to find only a dusting of white.

"It was at least cold enough that nothing melted," Sibbach said.

Saturday, March 31, will mark the last day of the season for Baldy's Roundhouse and Lookout restaurants, although Lookout will continue to provide restroom facilities and water. All other skier services on Bald Mountain will continue to operate.

On a positive note, late-season pass rates will be in effect this Saturday. Full-day passes will cost $50 for adults and $29 for children, and half-day passes will cost $40 and $24, respectively.

On a less positive note, "yesterday (Wednesday, March 28) appears to be the last day for the Cold Springs lift," Sibbach said. The Cold Springs double-chair provides the easiest way from the Seattle Ridge area back to the main part of the mountain.

As for Seattle Ridge, a partially exposed area of the mountain that often closes earlier than the rest of Baldy, "I was up last weekend and it was terrific," Sibbach said. "There is enough snow on most of the runs (in the Seattle Ridge area), but it gets a little pizza-faced toward the bottom of the bowls."

Sibbach reiterated Sun Valley's earlier statement that "we are going to keep as much open on both Dollar and Baldy as we can through Easter Sunday (April 8). We will close things as they become unskiable or, more importantly, unsafe to ski."

Dollar Mountain, Baldy's older, but smaller sibling, is also trying to hang on for a couple more weeks.

"The snowmaking runs are wonderful," Sibbach said. "But the rest of it is just about done. We will probably have to close Quarter Dollar Magic Carpet any day now."

Quarter Dollar Magic Carpet is the small tow line designed for beginners that begins just outside of Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge and runs a few hundred feet up Dollar's gentle southern slope.

In this winter of lackluster snowfall and above-average temperatures, "you really can't praise the mountain department enough for the condition of the skiing this year," Sibbach said. "I have not had one complaint as to the conditions—I've had a couple complaints that we need more snow," but given what the snowmaking crew had to work with, the end results "really were amazing."

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