For the week of February 10, 1999  thru February 16, 1999  

Local avalanche danger extremely high

Galena Summit closed by slides


Skiers celebrated and road crews struggled as the Wood River Valley received 27 inches of snow over three days early this week.

According to the Ketchum Ranger District, 13 inches of snow fell Saturday night and Sunday, four inches Sunday night and Monday, and 10 inches Monday night and Tuesday morning. Similar snowfalls were reported on Bald Mountain.

The Sun Valley Ski Patrol closed the Mayday and Christmas lifts on Sunday, due to high winds. After Monday night’s dump, the bowls were still closed by noon yesterday.

"There have been releases and slides everywhere (in the bowls)," said ski patrol supervisor Rich Bingham. "The wind has been building the hazards as fast as we can clear them."

According to the Forest Service/Sun Valley Avalanche Center hotline, the backcountry avalanche hazard yesterday was "very serious." The high hazard was reported extending to south of Ketchum.

"Natural and human-triggered avalanches are likely," the hotline said.

The hotline added that out-of-bounds areas on Baldy were also very dangerous yesterday.

"With this much new snow, it does not matter how many tracks have been put on the old snowpack," it stated.

State Highway 75 was closed for 13 miles over Galena Summit at 9:15 yesterday due to snow slides over the highway. The Idaho Transportation Department had no estimate as to when the road would be reopened.

"It all depends on the weather," said a spokesperson.

Surprisingly, given the poor road conditions, no serious car accidents were reported by local police departments.

Blaine County schools were closed Tuesday, the first snow closure of the school year. Cathy Zaccardi, clerk of the school district’s board of trustees, said district superintendent Phil Homer made the decision after conferring with county road crews.

 

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