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For the week of March 19 - 25, 2003

News

Warm Springs halfpipe to be built in summer


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Co.ís halfpipe dreams are almost realized.

The Sawtooth National Forestís Ketchum Ranger District approved Sun Valleyís plans to build a ski and snowboard halfpipe on the skierís left side of Lower Warm Springs, below Race Arena, on Bald Mountain. The U-shaped terrain feature will be approximately 340 feet long and 40 feet wide, with walls about 14 feet tall.

Halfpipes are used by skiers and snowboarders to perform aerial maneuvers and tricks. They are the winter equivalent of wooden skateboard and in-line skate halfpipes.

"We received a lot of feedback both in favor and opposed to the halfpipe during our public scoping period," said Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson. "Concerns focused not so much over the concept of a halfpipe, but over the safety and location of the halfpipe.

"We consulted with a number of other ski areas and industry professional and feel that this location will not lead to undue congestion on the Lower Warm Springs ski run."

Crews will excavate the area for the halfpipe this summer. Approximately 1.8 acres of ski run will be graded into the halfpipe foundation.

The resulting dirt walls will be between 3 and 7 feet above the existing ground level, and the bottom of the halfpipe will be excavated between 4 and 9 feet below existing ground level.

"There are very few locations on Bald Mountain that have a gentle enough grade, along with the right aspect, to make them feasible locations for a halfpipe," Nelson said. "This location provides both."

Members of the skiing and local marketing communities agree that a halfpipe will be a boon for local business and local skiers.

"It's great because our resort will be somewhat competitive in regard to that ski market segment, and now the local freestyle crowd will have something to hit besides cat tracks and snow gun jumps," said Ross Copperman, Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau marketing manager and SolFest coordinator.

"SolFest has demonstrated a very viable and quickly-growing market for the past few years, and Sun Valley Company is doing a great job moving ahead."

 

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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.