Friday, December 18, 2009

Will all of Baldy be open for Christmas?

4 more runs open, but forecast doesn’t bode well for the rest


By TREVON MILLIARD
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Resort hopes to have every Bald Mountain slope open by Christmas Day, but right now, that's all it is—a hope.

"We hope, but I can't help with Mother Nature," Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach said. "That certainly is our goal, though."

The National Weather Service doesn't predict a big snowstorm before Christmas, but has forecast at least a slight chance of snow every day until then.

"Every bit helps," Sibbach said.

So far, the resort has been making do without receiving a thick blanket from above.

"We're opening up more terrain all the time," Sibbach said. "Believe me, we're trying to get it done as soon as possible."

The upper and mid sections of the expert run Limelight opened Wednesday, with mid and lower Greyhawk opening today.

"But most of the runs that are opening up are snowmaking runs, farmed basically," Sibbach said.

And, Sibbach said, the company can only manufacture so much snow. More than 500 snow guns line numerous slopes on the mountain, each spewing 24 gallons of water mist per minute.

However, runs such as some of those in the Seattle Ridge area can't rely on manmade snow alone, but need a natural covering to open. For that reason, Sibbach said, the Seattle Ridge area might open this weekend, but more natural snow would be needed.

Resort managers and skiers hope the clouds have a surprise in store for the valley because Christmas brings the crowds. And if the crowds leave unsatisfied, Sibbach said, it will hurt the rest of the season. Sibbach said he realizes that doesn't hurt just the mountain's ticket sales, but also valley businesses.

To receive up-to-date mountain information for Baldy and Dollar mountains, go to www.sunvalley.com and click on "The Mountain" tab.

Trevon Milliard: tmilliard@mtexpress.com




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