Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Is there life after Baldy?

Epic winter season ends

Express Staff Writer

Hailey residents Rod Rinker and Vance Hanawalt (left to right) gather at Lookout restaurant just before their last run of the year. Photo by Mountain Express

Last tracks on Baldy ended what many considered an epic winter of skiing and snowboarding. Although the weather was iffy, it did not keep die-hard Baldy fans from saying their good-byes. Baldy lovers commented on how it was the best spring skiing and riding in decades as they danced in the rain to the Cosmic Beans at Apple's Bar & Grill on Saturday, April 19, where wall-to-wall people filled the winter hangout.

Sunday, April 20, turned out to be an anticlimactic last day when icy conditions and hangovers kept many away from taking one last run.

So, what next?

This question was posed to last-day revelers from the snowbound Lookout restaurant to the Greyhawk parking lot's drizzly tailgate parties on Saturday.

Ski patrolman and river guide Lincoln McNulty will head to Moab, Utah, for a spell of climbing and kayaking before working at a rock quarry out East Fork. Carpenter Vance Hanawalt will fish in Montana. His friend Rod Rinker will do the same off the coast of Catalina Island in Southern California.

Some just shrugged as if in complete denial. Others said they could not get on with their lives until the mountain closed. Others danced.

Snowboarders Zoey and Leland Pierce are heading to Lowman, Idaho, for hot springs and to enjoy a family cabin.

"We had a good early and late season," Zoey said. "We could not have a full season because we saved money for a trip to Hawaii to surf—a free sport."

Deer Creek resident Knox Cannon sipped a beer in Warm Springs Lodge as the lift attendants folded up the chairs for the last time. It was the end of Cannon's 52nd year skiing Baldy.

"After all these years, I come to the last-day party more out of habit than out of love," he said. "If you missed the last bus in the old days, you had to skate-ski all the way back to Ketchum."

Plum TV employee Whitney Mcnees considered the question, looked up at the abundant snow-pack sill on the hill and said, "Hike!"

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