Holiday storm is bad news for drivers, good for skiers

Holiday storm is bad news for drivers, good for skiers

Credit: Sun Valley Resort

Two skiers enjoy a winter day at Sun Valley in this file photo.

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by Matt Standal

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBMatt

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 2:30 PM

BOISE -- Do your Thanksgiving holiday plans include driving in southern Idaho's mountain areas? If so, be advised that a major winter storm could delay or derail your trip.

On the other hand, if you're going to strap on skis or a snowboard, you might get lucky.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for much of central Idaho, including the Ketchum / Sun Valley area and nearby Sawtooth Mountains.

The winter storm warning is in effect until 5 p.m. Wednesday. Those living in this area should expect high winds and snow from Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon. Forecasters say 5 to 15 inches of snow could accumulate above 6,500 feet, with locally higher amounts above 7,500 feet.

Winds gusts of 15 mph to 30 mph are expected.

Forecasters say the combination of snow and wind will create dangerous travel conditions on mountain roadways and in backcountry areas. Those driving near Galena and Banner summits will likely see moderate snow and slippery conditions.

KTVB Meteorologist Larry Gebert says much of the snow in lower elevations should begin to melt on Thanksgiving Day.

GOOD NEWS FOR SKI RESORTS?

While lots of snow is welcome news for skiers and snowboarders, Gebert says it's likely going to turn soft and soggy by Thursday. That means high mountain areas, including Sun Valley, could see nearly a foot of chunky new snow above 7,500 feet.

It won't likely be powder, but it does mean better snow coverage for those who want to get out on the slopes.

Coincidentally, Thursday is also the first regular season day for Sun Valley resort. The mountain will open largely due to its man-made base and extensive snow making equipment.

Sun Valley expects to open four runs on Bald Mountain, and three runs on Dollar Mountain Thursday. They'll operate two lifts on Baldy, including No. 1 Lower River lift, and the No. 5 Lookout Express lift.

Ticket prices are set at $66, and kids can ski for free.

Runs set to open on Baldy include Upper College, Roundhouse Lane, Mid River, and Lower River, along with the the beginner magic carpet lift. Runs scheduled to open on Dollar include Poverty Flats and Quarter Bowl.

However, southwest Idaho's remaining ski resorts won't likely fare as well from the storm.

Brundage, Tamarack, Bogus Basin, and others will need to see major snowfall below the 7,000 foot mark to produce any solid base accumulation, and while that's not impossible, it's also not likely.

Currently, Bogus Basin and Brundage have not announced opening days for the 2012 - 2013 season.

Tamarack Resort near Cascade is set to open on Dec. 15.

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