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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 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. 

Friday — April 16, 2004


Forever skiing

2003-2004 season on Baldy
filled with highlights

Express Staff Writer

It’s a wrap. The 2003-2004 ski season ends this weekend with the closure of Bald Mountain.

Forget the embarrassing yard sale on Warm Springs. Soon, the crashes and bruised egos will be long forgotten. Instead, the highlights of the 2003-2004 ski season from streakers on skis to blue bird days will linger as the reminders of the ski season. Highlights fell throughout the year, beginning early in the season and continuing through mid-April.

Here’s a sample of the year’s best moments:

The halfpipe

Sun Valley Company opened the long awaited halfpipe on Bald Mountain this season. Anxious snowboarders and skiers took to the new U-shaped terrain with force, starting Dec. 15. Throughout the season riders threw inverted tricks and rode the 12-foot walls. The pipe opened a fresh avenue of new school riding and enabled the mountain to host its first ever pipe competition in February, the USASA Rail Jam and Halfpipe Weekend. The competition attracted over 115 riders. Capping off the halfpipe season, SolFest riders showcased the potential possibilities of the pipe. Overall, the pipe’s popularity revived riding on Baldy.

The storm

The storm arrived Dec. 31, blasting through the valley on New Year’s Day, leaving 25.5 inches of fresh snow on Baldy in a 24-hour period. For many it was one of the biggest storms they could remember, with snow dropping at a rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour. The holiday season storm delivered unmatched deep powder skiing. It also, tragically, took the life of a favorite Bald Mountain ski instructor, Tom Wernig. The outpouring of the community, including a Bald Mountain torchlight parade was a touching tribute to his life and family.

Wounded soldier

Eric Alva, the first soldier to be wounded in Iraq, skis in a sit-sledge on the North Valley Trails. Express photo by Willy Cook

This winter the first soldier to be wounded in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Eric Avla of the U.S. Marine Corp, came to the Wood River Valley to cross-country ski. Avla’s opportunity to ski came as part of the third annual Sun Valley Adaptive Sports camp, which introduces disabled athletes to skiing. Avla, a former marathoner lost his right leg in battle, but excelled at cross-country skiing in his sit-sledge on the North Valley Trails.

Boulder Tour sets records

In its 29th year, the Boulder Mountain Tour topped an all-time record with 955 cross-country skiers finishing the 32-kilometer race. The record number of finishers was coupled with a record 1,048 entries. Despite difficult skiing conditions, racers persevered.

Kerry takes to the slopes

John Kerry takes a campaign break to ski Baldy. Express photo by Willy Cook

In March presidential candidate John Kerry took a one-week vacation from the hectic campaign trail to hit the slopes on Bald Mountain. His days of skiing and snowboarding attracted an unusual buzz on Bald Mountain with his entourage of U.S. Secret Service agents and national media attention. Kerry proved he was both a proficient skier and snowboarder, earning the respect of onlookers and possibly a few votes along the way.

Birthday suits

A naked skier screams down Baldy. Photo by Hillary Maybery

Blue bird days infused an impressive energy on the slopes. Skiers clad in costumes or nothing at all braved the slopes for warm, end-of-the-season skiing.

Numbers up

Good things happened this season. People remembered they liked to ski and snowboard. At the end of March, Sun Valley Company reported that skier numbers for the season were 9 percent higher than those recorded in March 2003.


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High Country Property Rentals

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.