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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

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


For whom the snow falls

Early snow and cold gives 
ski season a boost

Express Staff Writer

Early snow and cold temperatures gripped the Rocky Mountains last week, and Sun Valley Co. took advantage of the below-average temperatures to make some early snow of its own.

Snowmaking operations began Oct. 28, stopped during a warm, moist storm Oct. 29, and resumed for the subsequent six days, Sun Valley Snowmaking Manager Peter Sterns said.

"The temperatures, up until today, were about 11 degrees colder than normal," Sterns said Tuesday. "We did have good temperatures that allowed us to be pretty productive."

Add to that productivity the 14 inches of natural snow that topped Bald Mountain last week, and a recipe for good skiing is coming together.

Sterns said it is impossible to predict how much terrain the resort will open by the resort’s traditional Thanksgiving Day opener. But already, giant "whales" of snow have appeared below snow guns on Lower Warm Springs, Lower Picabo Street, Flying Squirrel, Upper College and Lower and Mid River Run.

"It’s the 5th of November," Sterns said. "We’ve had six days of snowmaking. Again, we’ve had a better than usual start, but it is all dependent on the weather, what happens the next 24 days.

"It all depends on the weather."

Early snow is always a plus, said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley marketing and public relations director.

"We’re getting the word out that we did have natural snow," he said. "We’re making snow, and hopefully it gets people excited for the winter season. We’re still looking great for Thanksgiving opening, and, of course, we’d love to have both sides open top to bottom for Thanksgiving opening."

This season’s early snow and cold temperatures have warranted some caution from area avalanche gurus.

"If you are headed into the high country hunting or hiking, there is a fair amount of snow at upper elevations now, and winter-like weather," wrote Janet Kellam, Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center avalanche forecaster. "It may not appear to be much snow, but there is enough on steep shady slopes and in gullies to be of concern."

The avalanche center is poised to begin regular operations "when snow warrants," which might not be too far in the future.

The National Weather Service is calling for rain and snow Thursday through the weekend, as a series of Pacific fronts are poised to make landfall and drive away last week’s ridge of high pressure.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.