Friday, April 6, 2007

It?s set: Baldy, Dollar close Sunday

End-of-season party to take edge off early closure

Express Staff Writer

Low snow totals and warm weather have lead to an earlier than expected closure for Bald and Dollar mountains. Despite less-than-optimal weather conditions, Sun Valley Co.?s world-class snowmaking system provided some great ski days this season. Photo by Mountain Express

It official: The last day of the 71st Sun Valley ski season is Sunday, April 8. Life, much like the ski season, is too short for pessimism and the weather is too warm not to head to Ketchum for an array of entertainment and end-of-season festivities.

"It's a tradition and, luckily, the weather is going to be nice this weekend," said Hank Minor, owner of Apple's Bar and Grill in Warm Springs. "I'd like to thank all the locals for showing a lot of spirit throughout this low-snow year."

Minor said it is his understanding that the post-season bash has been a mainstay in Warm Springs Village since 1975.

Picabo Street from the Warm Springs Lodge to Apple's will be closed off. The street scene will feature beer gardens and food. The party is designed to make the early closure of Bald and Dollar mountains a little easier to swallow.

"On Saturday, Straight Up (a local rock 'n' roll band) is setting up right in front of Apple's and they will start playing around 2:30 in the afternoon." Minor said. "But most people start showing up around noon."

Straight Up is based primarily out of Hailey and Bellevue. They have played everywhere from the Silver Dollar Saloon in Bellevue to the Back Alley Parties in Hailey to après-ski parties in Ketchum.

"This will be the second time they have played the end-of-season street party in the past five years," Minor said.

Saturday will also give Wood River Valley residents a chance to lend a positive contribution to the environment by making personal changes through CO2mmit!, a Community Climate Challenge, presented by the Environmental Resource Center, based in Ketchum.

In a year where low snowfall and unseasonably warm weather forced an earlier than anticipated mountain closure, the opportunity to slow Global Warming appears in-step with the local ski community's collective conscience.

The ERC's five-week campaign will feature a display at the Warm Springs Lodge during the end-of-season street party. It will continue through Clean Sweep on May 19.

Participants who sign a personal pledge committing to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions will receive a free compact fluorescent light bulb or PEAK bus pass. Sun Valley Co. will also donate $1 from every lift ticket sold that day to the challenge.

In addition to the off-mountain galas, the infamous 2007 Hawaiian National Telemark Series Championship is also a go for Saturday. The race takes place on Cozy on the Warm Springs side of Baldy. One of the event's features is tandem races—two skiers on one pair of skis negotiating a modified slalom course—apparently, a foolproof recipe for entertainment.

On Sunday there also will be music on the patio of Apple's. But, as Minor points out, "It is the final day of skiing and it is more of a soulful, reflective day. You'll find people staring at the mountain and sharing stories from the winter. It's fun, it's just not quite the party that Saturday is."

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