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Check Out Proposals for Sun Valley’s New Lifts and Ski Run
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Monday, August 15, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Learn about proposed improvements to the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain when representatives from the Sawtooth National Forest and Sun Valley Company hold an open house on Tuesday.

Representatives will field questions about two proposed ski lifts, a new ski run and additional snowmaking from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Ketchum’s Community library.

Sun Valley Company wants to replace the Challenger and Greyhawk lifts with one new high-speed six-pack, build a new chairlift where the Flying Squirrel lift was, build a new ski run near that chairlift and add snowmaking.

If approved, work would start after the 2022-23 ski season with the new lifts expected to open in time for the 2023-24 ski season.

  • A new Doppelmayr high-speed six-pack chairlift would replace the Greyhawk and Challenger chairlifts. It would carry skiers to the top in eight minutes—35 percent faster than the current Challenger lift, which can ferry skiers more than 3,100 feet in nine minutes.

    The new Challenger lift would be realigned so that it would have a mid-station unload near where the top terminal of the Greyhawk lift currently is. The chairlift would continue uphill from there, ending near where Challenger’s top terminal now sits.

    Both the Challenger and Greyhawk chairlifts were built in 1988 and retrofitted in 1996, and both are nearing the end of their operational lifespan. The Challenger chairlift, renowned as one of the tallest chairlifts in North America, has an inclined length of 2,748 meters and a vertical rise of 958 meters.

    It ferries 1,500 passengers per hour at a speed of 5.08 miles an hour. The Challenger and Greyhawk lifts were two the first high-speed quads to be installed at Sun Valley.

  • Sun Valley also hopes to install a high-speed quad that will start near the current location of the Challenger lift’s bottom terminus and rise over Lower Warm Springs and Picabo’s Street, ending just above the start of Picabo’s Street near where the Flying Squirrel lift’s top terminus was.

     The Flying Squirrel lift was removed during the summer of 2014 after the 2013 Beaver Creek Fire damaged the lift house and chairlift.

  • The new lift would be augmented by a new Lower Flying Squirrel trail that would be provide skiers and boarders with an easy way to get down to the Warm Springs base area.
  • Snowmaking will be extended onto lower Flying Squirrel to provide a consistent snow surface.

Sun Valley representatives say the changes will improve skier circulation, spreading the flow of skier traffic over a wider area and providing guest with multiple options for accessing the rest of the mountain from Warm Springs.

It will also provide better access to new gladed skiing in the Scorpion area, where dead trees are being removed this summer as part of the Bald Mountain Stewardship Project. The ongoing project is designed to improve forest health on Bald Mountain.

The Sawtooth National Forest is soliciting public comments about the proposals until Sept. 2. Details and documents are available at  www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=62598

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