Friday, July 20, 2007

Rotarun hopes to raise $500,000 by September

Ski club already receiving donations for major improvements

Express Staff Writer

The Rotarun Ski Club officially began its campaign this week to raise $500,000 needed to make improvements laid out in the Rotarun Master Plan, which include the installation of snow-making guns and a new chairlift, as well as a new base lodge.

Rotarun is in Croy Canyon west of Hailey and is operated by the non-profit ski club, which leases the property for $1 per year. In 1957 the club obtained the 99-year lease from the Arkoosh family, which subsequently deeded the property to Blaine County in 1993 with the condition that the lease remain in place.

Don Wiseman, executive director of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, which is helping with the fundraising, said the goal of the "Bringing Rotarun into the 21st Century Campaign" is to reach the half million mark by September 1.

To this end, the ski club has already received a $50,000 donation from the Ketchum-based Great Day Foundation, which provides funding for public and private organizations serving the needs of children, education and the medical community in the Pacific Northwest.

"Their feeling was that for the dollar and the benefit it could produce in the community, this would be the best non-profit to give to," Wiseman said.

Wiseman also said The Ski Tour is finalizing a commitment to name Rotarun as the beneficiary of next year's Sun Valley event, meaning $1 from each ticket sold would be donated to helping the development of the ski mountain. While Wiseman was not able to give a dollar amount, he said he believes the growing popularity of The Ski Tour should make this a significant contribution.

Wiseman said The Ski Tour's founder, Kipp Nelson is "very involved in the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and Rotarun is a very important part of that for the future." Wiseman said there has also been an overwhelming amount of in-kind donations, amounting to an additional $200,000 to $300,000. That includes the Dollar and Quarter Dollar lifts, minus the towers, donated by Sun Valley Co., and the relocation of the Sun Valley Helicopter Ski Guides building from Ketchum to the base of Rotarun, donated by the Justen Co., a Seattle-based development firm.

The latter donation is the cause for the campaign deadline, as the developer has time restraints of his own related to his plans for the property on which the Heli-Ski building still sits.

Wiseman said the club will also receive help from valley businesses and professional tradesmen with Rotarun's most important improvement, the installation of six York Safyr snow guns, similar to those introduced to Dollar Mountain last year. The guns would allow the mountain to earn more money from after-school ski and snowboard competition programs, as well as learn-to-ski programs.

"We're losing kids because they can't get up and down the valley," Wiseman said, explaining that Rotarun's location and inexpensive lift tickets will help increase the number of children able to participate in skiing and snowboarding.

Potential donators can contact Sarah Busdon at the Rotarun Ski Club at 788-1173.

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