It’s Gold for Sun Valley’s Kaitlyn Farrington

It’s all anyone is talking about. From the coffee shop, to the grocery store, to the chairlift, there is one name on everyone’s lips: Kaitlyn Farrington. Earlier this week, Sun Valley’s golden girl won a gold medal in snowboard Halfpipe and this community could not be more proud!

It's gold for Sun Valley's Kaitlyn Farrington on Olympic snowboard Halfpipe! (photo Mark Sullivan)

It's gold for Sun Valley's Kaitlyn Farrington in Olympic snowboard Halfpipe! (photo Mark Sullivan)

Kaitlyn, a Bellevue native who took her first turns on a snowboard with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), dominated the Halfpipe event, earning a score of 91.75. Though new to the Olympic team this year, she delivered two no-holds-barred runs, besting more seasoned competitors. Her winning run included a 900 spin, a corked back flip and style to spare. She took the top step of the podium in Sochi, Russia, after the ride of her life, topping three previous Olympic champions, Torah Bright of Australia who scored 91.50 points and Kaitlyn’s teammate Kelly Clark who garnered 90.75 points.

Kaitlyn, a member of the SVSEF Gold Team, told the press following her win, “I can’t believe it. I come out to each contest and I try and do a different run and that’s my approach to it. Sitting at the bottom, I was stoked I landed my run and once I knew I was going to be on the podium I was happy. I was hoping to make it to the finals, that was my main goal and then during the finals I thought if I land a good run I might be on the podium. So to come out on top – I just can’t believe it.”

The big show in Sochi didn't intimidate Kaitlyn in her run for the gold (photo Mark Sullivan)

The big show in Sochi didn't intimidate Kaitlyn in her run for the gold (photo Mark Sullivan)

Andy Gilbert, head snowboard coach at the SVSEF, was equally stunned and thrilled. In an interview, he said, “I am in shock. I am in complete and utter shock. I can’t describe how it feels. Kaitlyn first started with us as a fifth grader and obviously it takes a village.”

“I do feel like she looked confident throughout,” Gilbert continued. “I was a little worried looking at the semis because it makes for a long day to push it in not get tired, but she came out swinging.”

Kaitlyn's incredibly proud (and nervous) parents watched her gold medal run in Sochi (photo Mark Sullivan)

Kaitlyn's incredibly proud (and nervous) parents watched her gold medal run in Sochi (photo Mark Sullivan)

Kaitlyn’s incredibly proud parents Gary and Suz, watched their daughter’s runs slope side, holding a small sign that read, “Kaitlyn Farrington, Cowgirl Up” — a saying coined by her former swim coach that had become a family joke. Cowgirl up, she did.

Sun Valley could not be more proud of this self-described Idaho cowgirl. “The Sun Valley community couldn’t be more thrilled for Kaitlyn as she stands on top of the podium with Olympic gold,” said Tim Silva, Sun Valley Resort, Vice President and General Manager. “She has worked incredibly hard to get where she is, and we can’t wait to welcome her home and celebrate this historic win with her!”

Kaitlyn, with her coach Elijah Teeter, inspires us all (photo Mark Sullivan)

Kaitlyn, with her coach Elijah Teeter, inspires us all (photo Mark Sullivan)

Preparations are already well underway to give Kaitlyn a hero’s welcome upon her return to Sun Valley. Huge banners that will hang across the main streets are already in production and plans are in the works to celebrate Kaitlyn and her victory in a way only Sun Valley can. Please stay tuned to this blog for more information on plans to celebrate her amazing win.

Kaitlyn continues a long Olympic heritage in Sun Valley but is the first Olympic medalist since Picabo Street brought home gold in alpine skiing from Nagano in 1998.

For more information on Kaitlyn Farrington, visit www.teamusa.org.

The snow continues to fall in Sun Valley and the snowboarding and skiing are the best they’ve been all year. Come channel your inner Kaitlyn at Dollar’s Olympic size Superpipe or just play in the terrain park.

Congratulations, Kaitlyn on your amazing win! Everyone who lives in Sun Valley, or loves it, can’t wait for you to come home so we can share your excitement and thank you for your inspiration.

–RES

New Year’s on Dollar

2014 started on a sunny high note for Sun Valley holiday-makers ringing in the new on Dollar Mountain. Slopes were filled with smiling faces on the first days of the New Year and family fun was the name of the game.

The Swanson and Gabbert families enjoyed an afternoon on Dollar's Tubing Hill

The Swanson and Gabbert families of Seattle enjoyed an afternoon on Dollar's Tubing Hill

Skiers and snowboarders honed their skills in lessons, navigated the new Prospector Park skill-building terrain area, hit the Family Cross Course, rode the rails and soaked up the sun and the beautiful views.

At the end of an exhilarating ride, the Swanson girls are ready for more

At the end of an exhilarating ride, the girls are ready for more

The Swanson family, visiting for the holidays from Seattle, came out for an afternoon of tubing with their three daughters and friends. As guests at the Resort, their condo was a short walk from Dollar’s slopes and they strolled over to enjoy the tubing course.

“It was a great way to spend the afternoon,” said mom Mari Swanson. “The kids had a terrific time and it was a nice break from skiing, but still a great way to be outside.”

The feeling on Dollar at New Year's? Woo hoo!

The feeling on Dollar at New Year's? Woo hoo!

I spent part of the beginning of the New Year on Dollar, as well, making my first tentative turns following knee surgery last spring. Accompanied by my patient 8-year-old and a patient friend, I tried out my repaired leg on the gentle slopes of Quarter Dollar before progressing all the way to Dollar Face by the day’s end. While my technique and style might be slow to come back, the joy of being on the snow and on skis with Sun Valley at my feet, returned immediately.

My son and friend made sure to try out Prospector Park (thumbs up), a few park features and the Cross Course. We enjoyed an al fresco lunch on the fabulous Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge patio where great food is accompanied by a big show and it seems the sun is always shining.  Even when you live here, there is no better way to feel like you’re on vacation than lunch on the patio.

Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge is HQ for great food, lift and tubing tickets and even super post holiday shopping for gear

Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge is HQ for great food, lift and tubing tickets and even super post holiday shopping for gear

They say the way you spend January 1 sets the tone for the year to follow. Hopefully, the months to come will be as enjoyable, laughter-filled and memory-making for those who spent New Year’s Day on Dollar as that beautiful day last Wednesday.

Wishing you all peace, joy and lots of fun in the snow in 2014!

–RES

Dollar is all about family fun

Dollar is all about family fun

Opera House special showings for Christmas week

Come join us at the Opera House Starting December 25, running until January 1st for a week of special shows. During those times, Walking With Dinosaurs will be showing at 1:15pm, 6:30pm, and 8:30pm.  Also during these dates, starting at 3:00pm, will be a free showing of selected ski movies brought to you by Level 1 films, one of the industries most innovated ski filming companies. To compliment that, a free showing of Sun Valley Serenade or a Warren Miller Film for just $5.00 will start at 4:30.

 

Day:                                                                  3:00pm                                           4:30pm

December 25:                                                 Refresh                                            Warren Miller 2013

December 26:                                                 Eye Trip                                           Sun Valley Serenade

December 27th:                                             After Dark                                      Warren Miller 2012

December 28th:                                             Partly Cloudy                                 Sun Valley Serenade

December 29th:                                             Refresh                                            Warren Miller 2011

December 30th:                                             Eye Trip                                           Sun Valley Serenade

December 31st:                                              After Dark                                       Warren Miller 2013

January 1st:                                                   Partly Cloudy                                  Sun Valley Serenade

 

We are Open!

Dateline: River Run, November 28, 2013, 8:50 a.m. The excitement at the base of River Run was palpable as a large, happy group gathered on the plaza under bright blue skies and a warm sun. Friends reunited, families convened, the sound of buckles and bindings snapping into place competed with the whir of the chair lift’s motor.

Yes, at exactly 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the first lucky foursome hopped onto the River Run #1 lift, hooting and hollering on their inaugural ride up Bald Mountain for the 2013-2014 season. Behind them, every other chair filled quickly, transporting the hundreds of expectant skiers and snowboarders to their first magical turns of the year. Sun Valley’s 78th season was off to a great start.

At 8:50 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, skiers and riders were ready to get their first turns

At 8:50 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, skiers and riders were ready to get their first turns

The first holiday gift of the season from Sun Valley Company opened 11 runs, a Progressive Park, two magic carpets and four-high speed quads on Baldy and Dollar to the anxious snow sports masses. Some early season natural snow, combined with Sun Valley’s world-class, standard-setting snowmaking provided a great corduroy surface for enthusiasts. The smiles and thumbs up from the first skiers and boarders down River Run told the story, as they quickly queued back up for another run. Top-to-bottom vertical lured people to Baldy this year, with Upper College, Lower College, Sunset Strip, 42nd Street, Roundhouse Lane, Roundhouse Slope, Lower Canyon, Mid River Run and Lower River Run available for skiing and riding.

Great snow greeted early morning riders and skiers

Great snow greeted riders and skiers

In the morning, River Run Lodge provided a calm place to coax feet into boots still stiff from the off-season; to enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry. At lunchtime, River Run and Lookout atop Baldy were open to provide nourishment and refreshment on Baldy.

Dollar was quieter, but still welcoming skiers to the gentle slopes of Quarter Dollar. Snow guns were fired up all over the mountain, readying additional runs and Dollar’s amazing terrain park for operation during the coming holiday season. Dollar will continue daily operation through December 1 and then close until re-opening for the season December 14, so be sure to get over there this weekend to play in early season snow. Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge is open to enjoy a snack or meal and Kindercare is available.

Opening day saw action at Dollar Mountain, too

Opening day saw action at Dollar Mountain, too

Sun Valley is getting the après ski party started with the band Tracorum at River Run on November 28 and 29. Jeff Crosby & The Refugees play on November 30.

Check back to sunvalley.com or call 800-635-4150 for the most current reports on conditions and terrain.

We are all thankful this weekend for our beautiful ski mountains, family, friends, clean air and sunshine. Opening day was an exciting kick-off to what is sure to be the best season ever in Sun Valley! See you on the slopes.

–RES

There's only one word for opening day -- Yahoo!

There's only one word for opening day -- Yahoo!

A Board Bin Birthday Block Party

This week, Ketchum’s Board Bin celebrates its 25th birthday and you are invited to the party! On Saturday, October 26, from 1 to 8 p.m., the crossroads of Fourth Street and Washington will host a block party with food, bands, games and fun for the whole family.

Ketchum's Board Bin celebrates 25 years of bringing snowboarding and skateboarding to the community

Ketchum's Board Bin celebrates 25 years of bringing snowboarding and skateboarding to the community

“It’s supposed to be a beautiful day and we would love everyone to come out,” said Board Bin owner, Karin Reichow. “There will be a skateboard slalom race course, four ping pong tables hosting a tournament for every level player, a bouncy house and much more. Our neighbors are all participating and it will be a great community event.”

That corner of Ketchum has a lot to celebrate. In addition to the Board Bin celebrating 25 years in business, the Toy Store (with another location in the Sun Valley Village) can boast 35 years of making children happy; Java on Fourth has been serving up their famous Bowl of Soul coffee drink for 22 years; Johnny G’s Subshack has been making their fabulous grinders for 15 years. All will contribute to Saturday’s celebration, as will Rickshaw, Ninkasi Beer, Glow, Desperado’s, Dr. Maria Maricich and Bavarian Soul.

The owners of Board Bin helped show Sun Valley a new way to play on the snow

The owners of Board Bin helped show Sun Valley a new way to play on the snow

There is much to celebrate and much to look forward to in the coming winter sports season according to Karin and her husband Jim Slanetz. “We are obviously hoping for tons of snow to enjoy,” Jim said. “And Sun Valley is always getting better and better for this sport. With new Adventure Trails and other runs being cut, there will be even more terrain to explore on Baldy. For boarders, Dollar and the park and pipe are awesome, too.  We are expecting a great season.”  

And Karin and Jim would know, as they have been in Sun Valley since 1988 with front-row seats to the development and evolution of the sport of snowboarding in the winter and skateboarding in the warmer months.

“We started with two snowboards, five skateboards, some accessories and stickers in a little garage in Ketchum,” Karin laughed. Business was mostly word of mouth at that point as people interested in this new way to play in the snow sought out the Board Bin. That year, the young couple had the weather gods on their side, with one of the best snow seasons on record. The combination of powder and the fact that the new store carried the best snowboards available at the time got many people hooked.

That was then, Karin Reichow and Jim Slanetz in 1991...

That was then, Karin Reichow and Jim Slanetz in 1991...

But it was definitely an uphill go. “We were open from maybe noon to six that first year,” Karin recalled. “We were typical young people in a resort town, working all these jobs.” Jim added, laughing, “I drove a taxi, worked as a prep cook, everything.” But the Board Bin grew, moving two more times before settling on Fourth Street in 1993 where they have been selling hard goods, accessories and hip clothing for boys and girls, men and women ever since. They also lease children’s snowboarding equipment for the season and offer limited free leases to kids with a passion for the sport but who could not afford it otherwise.

... this is now

... this is now

And Sun Valley has also evolved into a snowboarding kind of town. The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation was named the USSA Snowboard Club of the Year, Chase Josey who graduated from Community School last spring was named to the 2013 Snowboard Team and Dollar Mountain boasts the only 22-foot Superpipe in the Northwest.

Head out to downtown Ketchum on Saturday to celebrate and socialize. Three bands, Jimmy Robb, El Stash and StoneSeed with provide a soundtrack to what is sure to be a fun-filled, beautiful autumn day. Congratulations Board Bin on 25 great years.

–RES

The new gear is in and everyone is looking forward to the opening of the mountain in about a month

The new gear is in and everyone is looking forward to the opening of the mountain in about a month

TransWorld asks, “What’s Next?”

Boarders took to Dollar's Terrain Park during this week's TransWorld Snow Conference

Boarders took to Dollar's Terrain Park during this week's TransWorld Snow Conference

This week, Sun Valley morphed into Snowboard Town USA with an infusion of energy, ideas and mad riding skills brought to the Valley by participants in the annual TransWorld Snow Conference.

According to the organization’s website: “the theory behind the Snow Conference is to check your brand hat at the door … At the end of the day, our success, or failure, is mutual. Getting enough new participants on the slopes every year, and keeping existing shreds passionate, is no small task … That’s where we come in. We became snowboarders for the love the sport, for the creative connection with nature in its rawest form, for an escape from every day life, and a way to express ourselves on a canvas as grand as our passion for the next run.”

Some snowboard swag for conference attendees, because who doesn't love swag?

Some snowboard swag for conference attendees, because who doesn't love swag?

The four-day conference, based out of the Boiler Room in the Sun Valley Village, has included presentations on: “Sales Trends, Demographic Shifts and the Future” featuring Kelly Davis, Director of Research, SnowSports Industries America (SIA), “The Economic Horizon & Its Impact on Snowboarding,” featuring Peter Philips, PhD, Professor of Economics at the University of Utah, “China Rising: Breaking into Snowboarding’s Next Frontier,” featuring Miriam Deller and a lively debate and discussion on the topic of “Has Snowboarding Really Lost Its Edge?” featuring Nate Fristoe, Director of Operations, RRC Associated and, again, Kelly Davis.

Speaking to more than 70 people on Wednesday afternoon, these presentations generated spirited discussion that focused on the future. Where are the opportunities to grow the sport? How can resorts help to continue to attract snowboarders? In a sport that is maturing, what comes next? Retailers, resort representatives and manufacturers all added their input to the dialogue in a big brainstorming session.

Thursday was dedicated to the topic of “Rolling Up Our Sleeves: The Big Issues & Big Ideas,” featuring panel discussions and featured speakers on topics such as “Increasing Participation,” “Conversion and Retention” and “Adapting to the Changing Market Cycles.”

All eyes were on the featured presenters at the TransWorld Snow Conference on Wednesday

All eyes were on the featured presenters at the TransWorld Snow Conference on Wednesday

But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so participants also took the hills. Sun Valley showed off our gorgeous spring conditions by inviting participants to take advantage of Early Ups on the mountain, to freeride on Dollar and Baldy and to challenge colleagues and friends on Dollar’s amazing Boardercross course. Other diversions and pleasures included cocktail receptions, dining at the Resort’s many restaurants, on mountain and in the Village, parties at the Sun Valley Inn Pool and even a friendly get together at the Lodge’s historic Bowling Alley.

Local business owner Jim Slanetz of Ketchum’s Board Bin has attended the conference for the past two years and thinks it is a terrific way to connect with others in the industry and to get a big picture perspective on the world of snowboarding. “It’s always good to see what other people are doing,” he said. “I’ve gone to all the talks and while some apply more to manufacturers than to retailers, I’ve gotten a lot out of it. It’s also nice to get on the mountain with everyone. It’s a great vibe.”

Dollar's Boardercross course -- the scene of some action this week

Dollar's Boardercross course -- the scene of some action this week

Sun Valley is honored that TransWorld again chose Sun Valley as headquarters for their conference. It is very exciting to be at the epicenter of what comes next in snowboarding.

–RES

This Pipe is Super

It's game on on Sunday when the superpipe opens

The 22-foot superpipe opens on Sunday. Game on!

The headline? Sun Valley’s new highly-anticipated Olympic-size 22-foot (deep) superpipe will open for business on Sunday, January 6. Taking shape on Dollar’s Old Bowl, this will be one of only three 22-foot pipes currently open in America. One more reason to be sure to include Sun Valley in your winter vacation plans.

The Zaugg “Pipe Monster”, the largest pipe groomer in existence, is busy at work, prepping the extreme feature. According to the Zaugg website, the machine was designed by aeronautical engineers to work much in the same way as an airplane wing. It is lightweight, flexible and able to withstand high stress — traits that might also be useful to those brave enough to jump in.  The combination of this monstrous machine and the know-how of Sun Valley’s Terrain Park experts, is creating a pipe that allows tricks people once thought impossible — like jumps 20 feet above the deck.  Epic.

Practice makes perfect in the Progression Park

Practice makes perfect in the Progression Park

According to Sun Valley’s Brian Callahan, guru of all things Terrain Park, now is the perfect time to get comfortable on the ever-evolving and growing jumps, rails, jibs, pipe and other features specifically built for Dollar. “The Progression Park is open and is a great place to get comfortable,” he said. For people like me who don’t know what a Progression Park is, as Brian explains it, it is a an “extra small terrain park with features appropriate to beginners. It’s the perfect place to learn how to unweight your skis or your board, to get air and really enjoy using all the surfaces.”

For those already comfortable catching air, the medium parks are also up and running on Dollar. These jumps and rails are X-Games and Slopestyle caliber, according to Brian, and offer endless possibilities for fun.

Little shredders at the top of the cross course in a season past

Past seasons on the cross course proved a huge hit with the kids. This year will be no different, just better and better.

And if that isn’t enough, the Family Cross Course is in its final stages and will be completed on Sunday. This track lets skiers and boarders bank curves, jump and tuck to the bottom, in direct competition with up to three others. It is a kid favorite, for sure.

Just in time for the amazing Revolution Tour, coming to Sun Valley in March, a huge snowmaking effort is underway, preparing the competition boarder cross course. Be sure to come to Dollar from March 17 to March 22 to watch the best of the best compete in Halfpipe, Snowboardcross, and Slopestyle. The course used by the Revolution athletes will be open to the public, but requires completion of a training session.

In fact, safety on all terrain park features is of the utmost importance to Brian and his team. Sun Valley Snowsports has instructors specifically trained to teach in the park and pipe and will offer special camps and lessons to familiarize users with what’s available on Dollar throughout the season. Call the Snowsports School at 208.622.2289 to sign up for a lesson or clinic to ensure the safest, most enjoyable day at the park ever. Then, let her rip.

Catch some air on Dollar

Come play in Dollar's Terrain Park

–RES

Gifts aplenty

Early season snow was an early gift on Baldy

Early season powder blankets Baldy's Central Park

We have not yet officially reached the start of the 12 days of Christmas, but from my perspective, Sun Valley’s alpine skiers and sliders have already been given gifts aplenty. With apologies to the original scribe of the beloved holiday classic, my 12 Days of Christmas might go, thus far, something like this (feel free to hum along):

**********************************************

On the first day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me: a snow-covered evergreen tree.

On the second day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me: two well-tuned skis and a snow-covered evergreen tree.

On the third day of Christmas Mother Nature gave to me: three groomed steeps, two well-tuned skis and a snow-covered evergreen tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas Mother Nature gave to me: four days of snowfall, three groomed steeps, two well-tuned skis and a snow-covered evergreen tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas Mother Nature gave to me: five pow-der runs! four days of snowfall, three groomed steeps, two well-tuned skis and a snow-covered evergreen tree.

*********************************************

I will stop there, because the prevailing theme quickly runs to overkill, but in Sun Valley, in December, the skiing is stunningly good. This week, after a massive storm came through and dumped something like three feet of white, fluffy powder on the top of Baldy, I have skied runs that are normally reserved for much, much later in the season. I dropped down into Central Park off of College and splashed in the still fresh snow, three days after the big storm. The trail that sounds like “Stilhung” but is spelled in a way I can’t begin to fathom, beckoned alluringly from the top of International, offering still untouched powder past my knees. I tackled Rock Garden, Upper Holiday and Upper River Run, nearly three weeks BEFORE Christmas. (For our guests, all these runs involve some combination of steep pitches, trees, bumps or powder and are not always in great shape this early in the year).

Thursday saw first tracks in the bowls

Thursday saw first tracks in the bowls

Sun Valley Ski Patrol has been aggressive in opening terrain and on Thursday … wait for it … they dropped the rope on some of Baldy’s awesome bowls. Yes, people were skiing and riding the bowls on December 6, and making laps on the Mayday lift. For lack of a better word – epic!

Lift talk is, without fail, enthusiastic and filled with gratitude. On a weekday morning, those of us lucky enough to work the night shift or have the day off, giddily compare notes, conditions and look almost guilty at our good fortune. Our only complaint? Tired legs from all this early-season powder. Yes, it’s hard to be us.

Insert yourself here

Insert yourself here

The mountain’s base is in fantastic shape for the coming season and it promises be a very white and very jolly holiday in Sun Valley. In fact, I don’t think there is better skiing anywhere in the country right now. It’s that good.

I will take this recent snowfall over drummers drumming, maids a’ leaping, swans a’ swimming –even golden rings. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here, and that looks pretty darn amazing — especially when you’re looking down at it from 9000 feet.

–RES

 

 

 

 

 

White Sunday

Blue skies and great conditions defined opening day

Blue skies and great conditions defined Baldy's opening day

Helmet: check. Goggles: check. Ski pants that still fit (phew): check. Socks without holes: check. Skis, poles, boots: check. Gloves, two left ones: whoops. Wish I had caught that while I was still at home. But, hey, it’s my first day of the season. Something had to give!

Thus outfitted, geared-up and downright excited, on Sunday morning I turned into the lower parking area at River Run, hungrily eyeing the hill. The first day of ski season is a homecoming for me. I gave a big wave to Bill, my favorite parking shuttle driver. He smiled, giving me thumbs up. At the base of the hill, I caught up with the boys in the tune shop and rental desk, people I haven’t seen since closing day last April. Dan at the Brass Ranch not only recommended the right gadget allowing me answer my phone without fumbling around (don’t worry, I don’t chat on the phone on the lift), he installed it, too. Smiles all around.

Come on up, the skiing is fine

Come on up, the skiing is fine!

More smiles as the ticket taker at the base of the River Run chair, a new face this year, scanned my pass. Day one was officially underway! A warm-up run led me down Upper College to Mid River and back to the lift. My thoughts on these groomers alternated between “Whee!” and “Ow, my knees!” and “Yikes! I’m not sure I remember how to do this,” but I made it all the same. The next run, down Upper Warm Springs to I-80 was smoother and more relaxing and by the time I made it to the soft bumps (yes, bumps, in November!) on Ridge, I was getting my groove back.

Early season skiing is gratifying. I always appreciate, with my sore knees and tired muscles (I knew I should have signed up for one of those pre-season boot camps), that every run on our huge, challenging mountain isn’t available on Day One. At first, just enough slopes are open to remember the joy of skiing, the basics of making pretty turns and to provide a real-life boot camp. Nothing trains your legs for skiing like skiing. With each snowfall and Sun Valley’s amazing snow making, runs seem to open in direct correlation to what my legs can handle.

Bumps on Ridge

Bumps on Ridge

Scanning that sweeping 360-degree vista atop Bald Mountain, there is a lot to look forward to. Seattle Ridge is already drenched in white and striped with corduroy. Also looking ahead-of-the-usual-curve-snow-wise are Baldy’s storied bowls. From the perspective of the lift, coverage looked great.

By all accounts, the opening days on Baldy were excellent. Visitors I chatted with couldn’t have been happier. Locals came out in force with their families. And from here, it only gets better and better. Today looks like a great day to ski – time to run!

–RES

The litte skier's smile says it all

Five-year-old Scarlett Carruth, part of the Crist skiing dynasty, sums up the mood on the hill

 

 

It’s On on Dollar!

 

Early morning at Dollar Mountain

 

At 7:40 this morning, on the way to drop off my children at school, there was frost on the ground and the outside temperature read a brisk 18 degrees. That can only mean one thing — snowmaking! In response to the first really cold night of the year, the snow guns that dot Dollar Mountain fired up and began to lay down a blanket of white. As the sun rose behind the Lodge and the Pioneer Mountains, John Matteson, Brian Callahan and their team were starting to put down a foundation for the amazing season to come at the Terrain Park and on the trails.

By the time I saw it “snowing” on the hill (thrilling, truly), a crew had been hard at work behind-the-scenes for hours, arriving as early as 3 a.m. “This early-season temperature drop gives us the chance to crank up the guns, trouble shoot and solve any issues early,” Matteson explained. The man behind Dollar’s vast snowmaking apparatus, Matteson is thrilled at today’s taste of winter. “This is the earliest we have been able to start the process,” he said. “We look for consistent temperatures generally below 23 or 24 degrees, so last night was perfect. Getting going in early October means that all the literal and figurative kinks will be worked out early and snowmaking will be right on schedule.”

On schedule for the 2012-2013 season means that plans to have Terrain Park features operational by Thanksgiving Day are a “go.” If the weather continues to cooperate and nights stay cold, Matteson said they will undertake the alchemy that turns water into snow every night from now on.

To help make this process as seamless as possible, Matteson has new “toys” in his arsenal. This year, he installed a few individually automated snow guns that will communicate with the Resort’s sophisticated computerized system. Most of the guns on Dollar are still managed manually. Snowmaking is a true science, based on temperature, humidity and all kinds of other variables and the automated guns will help everything run smoothly. Matteson is sure the entire system on Dollar this year will be up to the task of making skiing and riding even more eye-popping and fun.

Callahan, who is in charge of the Terrain Park, said he, too, has new toys this season and cannot wait to unveil them (more on that in a later blog)!

It is always an exciting day when the snow guns kick on and preview the season to come. I cannot wait to watch the team on Dollar build that mammoth playground and then cover it with snow.  Game on!

Sun coming up, snow coming down.