Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Sun Valley’s Sun-In Bed with the Flu?
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Ed Northen was fishing when snow slid off Della Mountain into the Big Wood River near Hailey.
 
Sunday, February 17, 2019
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS BY ED NORTHEN AND KAREN BOSSICK

The sun smiled on Sun Valley Saturday morning. And that spurred a collective cheer from snow weary residents.

Normally, Sun Valley’s trademark sun, while appreciated, is something that’s always just there.

 
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Ed Northen took this picture of the giant slabs of snow blocking the Big Wood River.
 

But, after two weeks of practically continual snow, even powder hounds admitted they were happy not to have to shovel snow for at least one morning.

“People are getting a little grumpy,” said a bank teller at Zions Bank Friday morning.

But when one man noted his snow plow bill was climbing, a fellow skier reminded him: “That’s a small price to pay for awesome skiing!”

The last storm cycle produced three to four feet plus over the past week. And that was following a healthy dump the week before.

 
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Some elk have been spending more time in streets and driveways given the deepening snow.
 

It’s caused flooding and some scary moments for skiers, while forcing a flurry of skiers into local ski shops for big fat powder skis.

Snow nearly buried a house two miles north of Ketchum on Friday.

The snow barrelled through the house, shattering the windows, said the Blaine County Sheriff's office.

A woman who was inside at the time was not seriously injured. Her dog was upstairs, unharmed.

 
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The snow hanging out on trees looked pretty against the little bit of blue sky we got Saturday.
 

An avalanche closed Warm Springs Road at the end of the pavement on Friday. And Blaine County Road and Bridge crews found a handful of others.

Over the past two weeks, Baldy more than doubled its snow total for the year, going from just above 50 inches a couple weeks ago to 122 inches this weekend.

It took a ton of work, though as Sun Valley Resort race department workers had to scrape Greyhawk to prime the race course for the best skiers in North America during the Nor-Am races. And ski patrollers had to put up ropes underneath chairlifts so skiers wouldn’t get bonked in the head as the snow rose to meet the chairs.

Snow packs in the Big Wood Basin stands at 114 percent of average. They’re 125 percent of average at Camas Creek, 111 percent at Chocolate Gulch, 102 percent at Galena, 114 percent at Galena Summit, 115 percent at Hyndman, 111 percent at the Vienna Mind and 155 percent at Soldier Ranger Station.

 
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Trail Creek meandering along the Nordic trails at Sun Valley Nordic Center is placid enough now—it could be roaring come spring given the increasing snow pack.
 

Thee only sub-par reading is 96 percent at the Loss Wood Divide.

The 30-plus inches that fell on Sun Valley last weekend was so deep on Sunday that skiers and boarders were stuck in their tracks unless they leaned back and kept their tips up.

One skier reported he was skiing along when he saw a pole sticking out of the snow. He tried to retrieve it, thinking he would take it down to the lift only to find it was attached to someone buried in the hole. The skier was dug out and, with a little resuscitation, survived to ski another day.

“On big powder days you don’t want to use your pole straps because then you might not be able to get your hands out,” cautioned Kim Nalen.

On Monday when the ski patrol dropped the ropes on the Bowls, a snowboarder jumped in only to end stuck, unable to dig herself out. She called the ski patrol on her cell phone, and they dug her out. That one run ended up taking an hour and 30 minutes from top to bottom.

“I was so embarrassed, having been a skier for more than 50 years, that I gave the ski patrol a fake name!” she laughed later.

A few miles up the road, the snow piling up at the Sun Valley Nordic Center covered the trail markers prompting the groomer to lose his way, taking the skiers that followed on a wild goose chase until the cat reconnected with the trail at Hyndman View.

And three snowshoers from Portland couldn’t find the Hemingway Memorial—Papa was buried.

A couple visitors in Sun Valley for President’s Day Week recounted spending the night in their car along with thousands of others as 20 miles of Interstate 84 was closed on Wednesday between Hood River and Cascade Locks, following multiple microburst snow and ice storms.

Closer to home, an avalanche slid on Della Mountain, creating an ice dam on the Big Wood River and flooding a few homes in the Heagle Park area.

Highway 20 between Mountain Home and Fairfield was closed by avalanche for a few hours on Thursday. And Highway 20 between Carey and Arco was closed by drifting snow a couple of times.

A Coca Cola truck got stuck in the Lower River Run parking lot. And a small slide on Penny Hill prompted a family of sledders to scurry away.

Teachers for Alturas Elementary kept busy Thursday at Dollar Mountain brushing snow off their students and their ski boots during snow so heavy it resembled a downpour.

Workers remodeling a home near Ketchum shoveled snow off the roof last Saturday only to return a few days later to have it look as if they had never shoveled.

Another man took advantage of a very short lull in the snow Thursday night to shovel his roof by headlamp.

And a Hailey couple returned home from Gallery Walk Friday night to find that the air intake on their roof was covered by a foot of snow, rendering their furnace useless.

Ketchum city officials said residents were at 50 percent of rooftop snow load requirements, as of Thursday, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The City of Ketchum has put in “lots of hours” keeping snow off the streets, said assistant administrator Lisa Enourato. Even then, at least a couple motorists were spotted accidentally turning into the wrong lane because of snow berms in the middle of the street.

Residents cheered the snowplows for keeping traffic moving along the highway, even on Thursday as snow fell at the rate of an inch an hour. And they grumped about neighborhood plow boys who left mountains of snow boulders in their driveway.

In time, there was so much snow that even the sound of the snow plows was muffled.

The snow that fell covered the deepening cavities on Highway 75, if only temporarily. It buried fences in Hailey and covered the red, yellow, blue horses north of Hailey up to their necks. And it was said to impress a Chinese delegation in Sun Valley ahead of Sun Valley’s new partnership with the Epic ski pass.

Deepening snows prompted elk to take up residence in neighborhood streets. And it prompted deer to to take to the trails at Sun Valley Nordic Center, even hanging out on the Sawtooth Putting Greens to the delight of visitors.

Moose, meanwhile, have been congregating in the Big Wood River near River Run Lodge, attracting dozens of iPhone paparazzi.

But Idaho Fish and Game officials say there’s no need to feed the deer, elk and pronghorn--Idaho is having a normal winter and emergency feeding is unneeded.

A committee is monitoring the weather conditions and keeping a watchful eye on such things as snow depth, whether there’s crust on snow that hinders an animal’s ability to forage for food, extended periods of sub-zero temperatures and whether the animals are congregating and causing problems on private agriculture lands.

The sun on Saturday brought so many skiers to Bald Mountain that people were parking in places they’ve never parked before in the lower lot, as well as in spillover lots near the Best Western Hotel and paraglider’s landing site.

And scores more people and dogs flocked to the dog trail out Trail Creek Road, which Sun Valley groomer Kerry O'Brien had groomed.

But the sun was short-lived. By noon, snow flurries had enveloped Bald Mountain. And a few hours later light snow was falling in the streets.

And forecasters for the Sawtooth National Avalanche Center say you might find another one to three inches of the white stuff on your driveway if you peek out today!

 

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