For the week of April 28, 1999  thru May 4, 1999  

Sun Valley posts 3 percent increase in skier days

Express Staff Writer

a28wrap-cover.jpg (8953 bytes)At 4 p.m. Sunday, 9,010 feet above sea level under azure skies and a 68-degree temperature, J.G. Spencer picked up the phone inside the Challenger chairlift’s summit operator’s shack on Bald Mountain.

This is Spencer," he said. "Line is clear."

The end of the 1998-99 ski season had arrived.

The last few skiers of the year trickled down Warm Springs toward the kegs and hot dogs at local watering holes. Spencer lifted the last of the chair-lift seats into the upright, not-in-use position. The lift ground to a stop.

"The end of the season does suck a little bit," he said. "But the last run will be the sentimental part.

"It’s a great job; I love my office, and we did have a lot of really nice powder days this winter."

Meanwhile, ski patrol members basked in the sun in front of the Lookout ski patrol cabin, waiting to perform the last sweep of the season.

"Only six months ‘til next season starts," ski patroller Thornton McNeal said with an ear-to-ear grin.

"It’s gonna’ be a great river season," said Bob Jost, ski patroller by winter and river guide by summer.

And so ended another winter in paradise.

This winter 418,010 skiers, snowboarders and pinheads hit Baldy and Dollar mountains, compared with the 405,937 who posted days last year, a 3 percent increase.

Baldy closed with 70 inches of not-so-fluffy white stuff on the summit and 14 inches at the bottom. Snow flakes totaled 191 inches over the entire winter. An average winter garners 165 inches.

After a welcomed one-week extension of the season, Sun Valley Company kept River Run Express, Christmas, Lookout Express and Challenger lifts open for the last day.

Both the Warm Springs and River Run sides of the mountain were completely open for the glorious last day.


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