Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Baldy set to close Easter Sunday

Warm weather in forecast spells doom for spring skiing

Express Staff Writer

Ski now or forever hold your peace—well, at least hold it until next season. The final day of Sun Valley's 71st ski season is set for Sunday, April 8, barring any unforeseen snowstorms between now and then, said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co. director of sales, marketing and public relations.

With warmer weather forecasted for the next few days, the dream of fresh snow may dissipate faster than the existing snow cover dissolves.

Earlier this week, the valley received a few inches of fresh snow. However, with only 14 inches of snow at the base of Bald Mountain, the recent snowfall looks to be too little, too late. Sun Valley Co. reports 21 inches of cover around the midsection of Baldy and 57 inches at the summit.

Skiers on Dollar Mountain will find themselves restricted to schussing down the last remaining cover that has collected in the middle of the bowls.

"Dollar looks like it will hold on through Sunday," Sibbach said. "But it's getting pretty thin."

Sun Valley Co. is running the Full Dollar lift all day, Quarter Dollar lift in the morning and Half Dollar lift in the afternoon.

Snow is not the only thing thinning as of late. Skier numbers in March were scant as well. This year, the March skier count was 79,033, more than 10,000 fewer skiers than March of last season. Last year's numbers for the month came in at 89,354 skiers.

The snow or lack thereof, is likely the paramount factor in the drop in skier traffic. But, as Sibbach points out, "The (ski) pass usage is what's down. Occupancy (for Sun Valley Co.) is going to be close to last year."

Sibbach said Sun Valley Co. has seen a drop in sales across the board for ski passes this season and people with passes seem to be using them less often.

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