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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of November 6 - 12, 2002


Halfpipe draws last-minute criticism

Location of terrain feature questioned

Express Staff Writer

A ski and snowboard halfpipe proposed for lower Warm Springs on Bald Mountain is earning criticism from a handful of local skiers and snowboarders because of the terrain feature’s proposed location.

Those expressing objections appear to be in the minority, however, Ketchum Ranger District Snow Ranger David Gordon said.

"I did receive a number of phone calls from people asking if we need a show of support, and we really don’t," Gordon said. "We’re not looking for a vote. We’re looking for issues. Is there an issue we’re unaware of with regard to this proposal? As of this date, there are none that have come up."

A halfpipe is a "U" shaped terrain feature used by snowboarders and skiers in the same way skateboarders, bikers and in-line skaters use halfpipes on dry land. Sun Valley Co. is proposing to build a halfpipe on the skier’s left side of Lower Warm Springs, below Race Arena, a seldom-skied mogul run.

Sun Valley Mountain Manager Mike Federko pointed out that, even if the halfpipe is built, Lower Warm Springs will be 250 feet wide at the narrowest point. Upper College, one of the busiest ski runs on Bald Mountain, is not 250 feet wide, he said.

In the three weeks the Forest Service has been collecting public input, no new issues have arisen, but the Forest Service did receive two petitions, one signed by proponents and the other signed by opponents.

The public comment period ended Oct. 31.

Dan Kurdy spearheaded the petition against the proposed location.

"The concept is correct and admirable. The location is dead wrong," Kurdy said.

Kurdy and others who object to the Lower Warm Springs location said the addition of a halfpipe will narrow the skiing area and create unnecessary congestion. He suggested several alternatives, including the Broadway saddle, Janss Pass, Roundhouse Slope and Hemingway.

A radio news show featuring the protest last week prompted comments from one of Sun Valley’s ski patrollers, who, writing on his own behalf, submitted a letter to the Ketchum District.

"I could go on forever, but the fact that wherever it is located will be a compromise is the central point," wrote ski patroller and Bellevue resident Knox Barclay. "The proposed location is good from a standpoint of visibility, snowmaking, management and monitoring of lift passes."

The petition expressing enthusiasm for the halfpipe was signed by 60 local teens.

"I am writing concerning the Baldy halfpipe proposal by Sun Valley. My name is David Kunz, and I am 16 years old. I am a dedicated snow boarder and have been one of those who have pushed very hard for a halfpipe for the last few years.

"I think that installing a halfpipe and/or terrain park is the smartest thing Sun Valley Co. could do right now. If it is carried out, it will make my life, as well as many other snowboarders and skiers who compete, a lot easier."

Gordon said the National Environmental Policy Act study of the proposal has revealed no environmental concerns.

"The only issues would be social," he said.



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