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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of Dec 31, 2003 - Jan 6, 2004

News

Sequential storms
provide boost
to ski resort


By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer

A pair of back-to-back winter storms that buried the Wood River Valley in two feet of snow over the weekend has provided an energetic jumpstart to Sun Valley Resort’s 2003-2004 ski season.

A band of skiers makes its way through central Ketchum Monday afternoon after a day of off-piste skiing on Bald Mountain. Members of the group reported that untracked areas of the mountain provided unparalleled powder skiing. "Face shots, baby!" was one skier’s synopsis of the conditions. Express photo by Willy Cook

Over the weekend of Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, the first of the two storms dropped up to 9.5 inches of fresh snow on parts of Bald Mountain. After a brief spell of clear weather, a second storm from the Pacific Ocean passed over central Idaho Monday, Dec. 29, covering the ski mountain with an additional 13 inches of crystalline powder.

All told, Bald Mountain received 22.5 inches of remarkably light snow from the two storms, prompting Sun Valley officials to rejoice. Sun Valley on Tuesday reported that Bald Mountain had a snow depth—a combination of natural and man-made snow—of 63-inches at the summit. The depth at mid-mountain is 60-inches. "We’re all ecstatic because of the snow," said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co. director of marketing and public relations. "It’s the best Christmas present that we could have."

Sibbach said the two storms were welcomed, despite having a noticeable impact on skier counts on Bald Mountain. "Snowy days typically have skier numbers that are about 25 percent less," he said.

On Christmas Day, Sun Valley recorded 3,575 skiers, followed by 4,418 on Dec. 26. The numbers climbed to 5,879 skiers on Dec. 27, before falling again to 4,916 on Dec. 28.

Despite heavy snow on Monday, Dec. 29, 6,432 skiers took to Sun Valley’s slopes, including those on Dollar Mountain.

Skier numbers during the 2002-2003 holiday season peaked on Dec. 30, 2002, and Jan. 1, 2003, when more than 7,300 skiers turned out each day.

However, Sibbach said many visitors and residents agree that conditions this year are superior. "It’s terrific skiing. It doesn’t get any better."

Carol Waller, executive director of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau, said the abundant snowfall could play a significant role in determining visitor numbers to the resort area for the remainder of the ski season.

"It definitely helps to spread the word about Sun Valley," Waller said.

 

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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.