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For the week of November 8 through 14, 2000

Let it snow!

Sun Valley snowmaking is underway


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

Bald Mountain’s snow guns were turned on Oct. 31 for the first time this winter, and an artificial winter white blanket is growing fast.

Monday evening was air time for East Fork snowboarder Cameron Randall. Randall and brother Taylor made their first turns of the season on the man-made snow of lower Warm Springs.

Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach said snowmaking operations have been proceeding around the clock as weather permits. So far, Sun Valley has made snow on upper and lower College, mid and lower Warm Springs, Flying Squirrel and mid and lower River Run.

The snowmaking effort has been complemented by a fair amount of early natural snow. At Baldy’s summit, at least 25 inches have accumulated so far.

By Monday afternoon, snowboarders were climbing up and down Lower Warm Springs, launching off a kicker and making their first turns of the season. About a quarter of the run’s width, from mid-mountain to the bottom, had snow on it, and it hadn’t yet been packed by a snowcat.

East Fork residents Cameron and Taylor Randall, snowboarded for the first time this year. Cameron warmed up with two jumps and then launched a back flip, while his brother jabbed about how small the air was.

As the Randall brothers illustrated, winter playtime is here, as long as you’re willing to grunt up a mountain for it. Sibbach said both the River Run and Warm Springs sides of the mountain are expected to be open by the resort’s Thanksgiving Day opening, though he wouldn’t offer any guarantees.

If the weather holds as it has for the past week, opening both sides of the mountain shouldn’t be a problem, he added.

Bald Mountain’s snowmaking system is the largest computerized snowmaking system in the world, with more than 29 miles of pipe and at least 87 miles of wires beneath the ground.

Water is drawn from a well at the River Run base and from Warm Springs Creek at the Warm Springs base. The water is then cooled and pumped around the mountain to various circuits of the snowmaking system.

Sibbach said bookings for the coming winter are up over last year, probably because of this fall’s early snow and cool temperatures.

And more natural snow is likely to fall this week.

The National Weather Service is forecasting snow today and tomorrow, with the possibility of more through the weekend.

 

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