Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Beads and Bras on Baldy
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John Wayne--or, is that Elvis?--has greeted those riding the Lower River Run chairlift for several years. PHOTO: Karen Bossick
   
Monday, February 22, 2021
 

STORY BY KATE DALY

PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK AND KATE DALY

 Now that Mardi Gras has passed, some people are hoping no more beads and stuff will be tossed into the trees and cliffs along the chairlifts on Bald Mountain.

 They feel the need to celebrate, just like everyone else these days. But, in this case, they think enough is enough!

 
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This bicycle was found, then lost, under the Mayday Chair. PHOTO: Kate Daly
 

 One skier recently called the decorative items such as the plastic ducks hanging along the new Broadway chairlift “pollution.”

 Another local agrees, saying the situation has “gotten excessive,” teetering somewhere “between a memorial and just plain junk.”

Even a lift operator on Mayday was baffled by the bright blue bike that was parked under a tree near tower eight back in January. “Bizarre,” he exclaimed.

The bike disappeared after a short time, which isn’t surprising since something of that size could pose a safety issue for skiers and boarders whizzing by. In contrast,  the way smaller SpongeBob SquarePants that has been tucked into a tree for years is just waiting for chairlift riders to crack a smile.

 
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Is it a Lizard? No, it looks like a Barbie doll-like nymph who hangs out on the rocks. PHOTO: Karen Bossick
 

And how about the growing collection of figurines on the cliffs along the River Run lift?

Han Solo, Barbie, a troll, tiger and lion have all taken up residence in the neighborhood of what one college student refers to as the “Yoda cave.”

A bartender in Ketchum shares some knowledge about the tradition: “There are always a bunch of toys and other doodads that get left on the cliffs under the lift. I heard people like climbing up during early November to leave those trinkets for show. This year there is a definite dinosaur theme that I haven’t seen in previous years.”

Change is nothing new. The old troll tree under Lookout Express is long gone. Legend has it that a small bra tree once stood out in that area a while back.

That could be a nod to the possible origin of this whimsical tradition. Research suggests back in the 1950s or ‘60s some guys grabbed underwear from their partners and then hung it in trees to brag about their actions.

In the ‘80s Aspen had a notable bra and panties tree, which was then copied at Vail and other ski areas around the country.

Perhaps Sun Valley Resort should be glad the displays these days are more family friendly. But, when asked about the slope side collections, spokesperson Susan Mansfield wrote, “Unfortunately, the unorthodox items are not a resort-focused initiative so we’re unable to comment on that.”

Separate inquiries to Mountain Operations and Ski Patrol were met with silence.

When questioned about what he has encountered on the mountain, one snow maker laughed, “I just heard about an old stuffed deer head mounted on a tree between Upper River and Ridge that’s been there for several years.”
Guess it’s not in the way of anyone or any equipment. But, like the hockey stick that used to jut out of a tree next to the Mayday lift a decade ago, this stuff does make one wonder: How did that get there? And why?


 

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