SUN VALLEY With just about every eye focused on Thanksgiving, Sun Valley is banking on a new ski season that starts Thanksgiving Day.

As you drive into Wood River Valley, it doesn't look like ski season -- there's no snow on the ground - but that's not the case on Bald Mountain, where there's plenty of man-made snow.

The resort is hoping and praying that this is the start of a great season.

Can you hear that, the sound of your boots snapping into your bindings? Can you picture it in your mind? Have you missed it?

For ski and snowboard enthusiasts there are few sounds that are better.

The excitement in this time of year is very high and this is our 78th winter season, said spokesman Jack Sibbach.

A lot of that excitement comes from the hope that this season and this coming year will be better than the last.

You see, the start of last year was great at Sun Valley and other resorts in Idaho, but then a dry spell that went on for weeks.

Yes, this industry does rely on weather, and Mother Nature has a lot to do with it, said Sibbach.

Then just a few months ago, wildfires and poor air quality prompted cancellations from tourists looking to enjoy summer at the resort.

It just had a few bumps in the road, but we're still moving forward, said Sibbach. We have a strong brand nationally, and of course in Idaho, which is our most important market.

But that s in the past. The 2013 ski season is just about here. Come Thanksgiving, three lifts on Baldy will open, along with a lift on Dollar, giving people access to about 20 percent of the runs.

It's a great product for the amount of people we expect to be here, and that's how you plan it out, said Sibbach.

Mother Nature hasn t dropped a lot of snow, but with the snow making machines that are all over many of the runs at Sun Valley, you aren t completely reliant on natural snowfall.

It's the world's largest computerized snow making and it gets tweaked every year, said Sibbach.

For the past few days, ski teams from all over the west came to Sun Valley to train.

The snow is incredible. It's about as good as it gets without fresh powder, said Lauren Street.
It's pretty incredible for all man-made snow, I have to say. It's unlike any other place I've been.

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