Friday, November 9, 2007

Baldy opening still set for Thanksgiving

Snowmaking, wintry weather expected to improve conditions

Express Staff Writer

Snow guns on the River Run side of Bald Mountain were running at full tilt Thursday morning, as Sun Valley mountain managers try to establish an ample snow base by the scheduled opening on Thanksgiving Day. Photo by David N. Seelig

With lower temperatures and snow flurries forecast through next week, Bald Mountain appears on track to be ready for skiers and snowboarders on Thanksgiving, its traditional opening day.

A warm November has allowed only sporadic snowmaking, creating patches of white on Warm Springs Run and River Run.

"The weather forecast looks good starting Friday for more hours of snowmaking," Sun Valley marketing director Jack Sibbach said. "I'm still optimistic that we'll be open for Thanksgiving."

Sibbach said the resort's goal this year, as always, is to have at least one run open from top to bottom on each side of Baldy and to have Dollar Mountain open from the top. He said lodging reservations over Thanksgiving are running about normal, at about 70 percent capacity.

New amenities for this winter were focused on Dollar, which will have two new high-speed quad lifts and 27 more snowmaking guns. The new lifts replaced old double chairs to the top of the mountain and on Quarter Dollar. Sibbach said the new lifts have been tested and are ready to run.

Expanded snowmaking capacity there will put the white stuff on the former Sheepherder Run, on the far left of the mountain. The run has been re-christened Otto's Run after the late Otto Lang, who was perhaps the last survivor of a group of Austrian ski instructors who energized American ski schools in the 1930s and 1940s. Lang directed the Sun Valley Ski School in the 1940s and became an accomplished documentary filmmaker. He died last year.

Snowmaking has also been added to New Bowl.

Sibbach said additional snowmaking is planned for Baldy on Janss Pass and lower Graduate runs for the winter of 2008-2009.

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