Monday, May 20, 2019
Sun Valley Sets Snow Record
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Workers shoveling roofs climbed a mountain atop the Galena Building in Ketchum Thursday afternoon as the sun came out.
 
Saturday, March 2, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

It’s official. February was the snowiest month ever in the history of Sun Valley Resort.

The resort recorded 136 inches over the 28 days of February, beating the previous all-time monthly snowfall record of 129.5 inches set during the 31 days of January in 1969.

That’s nearly 11 and a half feet—easily more than the previous record February snowfall of 119 inches set in 2017, said Sun Valley spokesperson Kelli Lusk

But, of course, anyone who spent the month shoveling is already painfully aware of that.

It snowed nearly non-stop during February as one whopper of a storm after another came through.

The Ketchum Ranger Station on Sun Valley Road had 60 inches—or five feet--on the ground at one point—the third highest level since the 1940s, said Sara Stalker, support services specialist. And the weather station there recorded 77 inches of snow for the month of February.

A blinding sun rose in a royal blue sky Friday to mark the first of March, even as some residents complained of being stuck in their homes, unable to get out of their driveways.

But weather forecasters called it “a weak ridge of high pressure” with the possibility of snow flurries and a dusting of new snow to come.

Avalanche danger remains high, said forecasters for the Sawtooth Avalanche Center.

Warm Springs Road continues to be closed at the end of the pavement by slides.

Highway 75 north of Ketchum was reopened after three days of being closed due to slides and blowing snow across the road. That allowed the Blaine County Recreation District to get in and groom cross country ski tracks that had sat unused since Monday.

And it had outdoor enthusiasts like Lucy Bourret and Glo Kimball heading to Galena Lodge where Lodge operator Erin Zell had asked volunteers to help pack more than two feet of snow that had fallen on snowshoe trails.

But the highway remained closed between Titus Creek Road 20 miles north of Ketchum and Frenchman Creek Road 25 miles south of Stanley due to a massive slide on Galena Peak that spanned two miles, uprooting large mature pines in its wake.

Many other slides big enough to bury people have released in the past two days, as well, according to the Sawtooth Avalanche Center. And, of course, at least three homes have been nailed by avalanches in the past couple weeks.

Stanley, which made the national news a couple days ago after all highways in and out were closed by wintry conditions, now has an open corridor to Challis.

But the two-day Sawtooth Ski Festival that had been scheduled for this weekend was postponed to next weekend. The Poker Run at Park Creek will now be held Saturday, March 9, and the Soup Kitchen Social at Alturas Lake will be held Sunday, March 10.

Hundreds of skiers flocked to Bald Mountain Friday morning like moths to a flame, the flame in this case being sunny skies. They found conditions surprisingly powdery, considering Thursday’s warm temperatures had turned some snow mounds in the valley into concrete.

Groomers at Sun Valley Nordic Center made a couple of swipes around the tracks early Friday morning to ensure a zip-a-dee-doo-dah experience. And BCRD reopened Quigley Nordic following a multi-day closure due to the danger of avalanches.

So many skiers drove the 16-mile hairpin turn road to Bogus Basin on Thursday that officials had to tell people to turn around and head back to Boise.

Bogus Basin, too, received more than 11 feet of snow during February. That prompted officials to throw a FebruBURIED party today to celebrate a 100-inch base. Last time the ski area had that much was 1940.

The snowpack in the Big Wood Basin stood at 115 percent of average on Friday with the snow water equivalent 137 percent of average.

Chocolate Gulch had 119 percent of average; Galena, 103 percent; Galena Summit, 118 percent; Hyndman, 127 percent, and the Vienna Mine, 113 percent. Little Wood Basin has improved significantly with the last few storms and now has a snowpack that’s 134 percent of average.

The only place in the area that’s under average is Dollarhide Summit with 92 percent of average.

The Boise Basin similarly got three times the normal amount of precipitation for February. Mores Creek has 124 inches of snow versus the 79-inch average for this time of year.

Still, the snowpack there was 125 percent of average—less than the 150 percent to 300 percent of average it had at the end of February in 2017.

Given the snowpack, the Blaine County Sheriff has suggested homeowners in areas that could flood might be wise to consider taking out flood insurance now. It takes 30 days for flood insurance policies to activate.

Emergency officials are also cautioning that snow sliding off rooftops has broken windows and even put a hole in a tractor, in one case. Some roofs of older residences could be in danger of collapsing from heavy snows.

 

 

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