Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rotarun gets $50K for snowmaking

Ski area celebrates grand opening of 64th season


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Hailey Mayor Rick Davis cuts the ribbon marking the beginning of the 64th season on Rotarun. The hill is closed due to lack of snow, but a recent donation could provide snowmaking in the near future. Photo by Roland Lane

The second oldest ski area in the Wood River Valley got a boost from the Seagraves Foundation recently to purchase water rights in order to provide snowmaking in years to come.

Rotarun, located four miles west of Hailey in Croy Canyon, celebrated the start of its 64th season Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate a donation of $50,000 from the foundation to help ensure good skiing, snowboarding and sledding during dry winters such as this one.

About 100 people joined Rotarun volunteers and supporters, and civic and business leaders for a free pancake breakfast provided by Atkinsons' Market at the ski area base lodge on Saturday.

"There were a lot of kids and families, which is what the hill is for," said Rotarun supporter Joan Davies. "We are now awaiting the snow gods to finish off the project."

Rotarun fans hope the purchase of water rights and snowmaking equipment will give the snow gods a boost in the near future.

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The 30-acre ski hill began with a tractor-motor lift in 1947 and has been supported ever since with a host of volunteers. Rotarun hosts night skiing two days a week.

"The village has made that place exist all these years. It is intergenerational," Davies said.

Hailey native Jack Seagraves, who drives a snowcat on Bald Mountain for Sun Valley, was on hand at the ribbon-cutting. He and his sister, Janice Seagraves, were born in Democrat Gulch not far from Rotarun.

Janice Seagraves bought a $47 million winning lottery ticket on Christmas Day in 1996 in Arco, but sadly, she and her niece Jackie both contracted cancer and died shortly afterward. But not before the Seagraves Foundation was born as a "giving legacy," said Davies.

"Janice didn't live long enough to gift from the foundation," said Davies. "But the foundation is exemplary."

The Seagraves Foundation focuses primarily on women's and children's issues and benefits charities along the U.S. Highway 93 corridor, including the St. Luke's Magic Valley Cancer Patient Emergency Fund.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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