Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Itís a bird, itís a plane, itís a Ö tree?

Sun Valley Co. to fly timber off Baldy

Express Staff Writer

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With the ski season over, it's now time for someone else to get air on Bald Mountain.

If all goes to plan, Sun Valley Co. will begin flying cut trees off Baldy's slopes on Monday, May 12, according to Joe Miczulski, winter sports specialist for the U.S. Forest Service's Ketchum Ranger District.

The trees will be flown whole, with limbs still attached, and dropped off at the River Run parking lot.

The project, which will clear the trees already cut to create the line for the new Roundhouse Gondola, is expected to take between two and three days to complete.

To ensure public safety, Sun Valley Co. is working with local law enforcement to detour traffic and trail users around portions of roads and the Wood River Trail that will be under the helicopter's flight path.

In addition to Sun Valley Co. land at River Run, the federal land on the River Run side of Bald Mountain will be closed to all public use during the days of helicopter operation, a precaution taken because of the danger from falling debris.

Originally scheduled to begin on Memorial Day, Sun Valley Co. was able to negotiate an earlier date of operation with the helicopter contractor to eliminate a conflict with holiday use of River Run.

The new gondola—part of Sun Valley Co.'s approved master plan to improve facilities on Bald Mountain—is scheduled for completion in fall 2009, before the 2009-2010 ski season. Plans are also in place to remodel the Roundhouse restaurant, open new skiing terrain and add snowmaking to parts of the mountain.

As part of the gondola plan, the Exhibition chairlift will be removed.

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