Mountain Safety

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Here you will be provided with information to help you enjoy your Sun Valley Resort vacation safely while maximizing fun on the mountain. Remember to always ski and ride within your ability and be aware of the skiers/riders around you.

 

    After Hours Access

    Bald Mountain After Hours Uphill/Downhill Policy

    Download Bald Mountain After Hours Uphill/Downhill Map

    • During the winter skiing and riding season, after hours uphill travel is permitted on Bald Mountain only from 5am to 8am and from 5pm to 8pm. All after hours users must begin descending no later than 8am (morning use) or 8pm (evening use).
    • These hours may vary, and uphill travel may be subject to temporary closures due to weather, special events, maintenance, or other circumstances - check the Mountain Report or the Sun Valley app for updates before heading out, and please pay attention to signage at the River Run and Warm Springs base areas announcing any temporary closures.
    • Uphill and downhill traffic on Bald Mountain must follow the three designated routes, marked with illuminated markers along the sides of the trails. These routes are highlighted in yellow on the below trail map.
    • Skiers and riders must stick to the sides of the trails while traveling both uphill and downhill during the designated after hours access periods and must not travel in groups wider than two abreast at any time.
    • Skiers and riders must yield the right of way to and stay clear of all ski area machinery (groomers, snowmobiles, and snowmaking equipment). When encountering areas undergoing winch operations, users are required to re-route their path of travel to avoid potentially unsafe situations.
    • Users must wear retroreflective clothing, a headlamp, and a blinking tail light at all times. 
    • Users must obey all posted signs and adhere to all trail and run closures.
    • Dogs are prohibited on Bald Mountain from November 1 through April 30.
    • Mountain bikes are not allowed on Bald Mountain from November 1 through April 30.
    • If you pack it in, please pack it out. Help us keep Bald Mountain clean for future users.
    • Users who are in violation of any part of Sun Valley's Bald Mountain uphill travel policy may be subject to removal and/or other penalties.
    • Outside of the winter skiing and riding season (when the resort is closed for skiing/riding), uphill travel on Bald Mountain is not monitored or patrolled. Guests may skin or hike uphill at their own risk.

    Bald Mountain After Hours Uphill/Downhill Map


    River Run Uphill/Downhill Routes
    • From the River Run base area, travel up Lower River Run to the intersection with Olympic Lane. Take a left and follow Olympic Lane until you reach the top of the Roundhouse gondola, then veer right and continue on Roundhouse Lane. Roundhouse Lane then intersects Upper College at the top of Frenchman's chairlift. Take a left and travel up Upper College, which will take you to the top of Bald Mountain.                       

    • From the River Run base area, travel up Lower River Run past the base of Lookout Express, then veer right onto Sunset Strip. Sunset Strip gradually bends left and connects with Lower College. Follow Lower College to Upper College, which will take you all the way to the top of Bald Mountain.
       

    Warm Springs Uphill/Downhill Route
    • From the Warm Springs base area, follow Lower Warm Springs to the intersection with Maiden Lane. Take a left on Maiden Lane and travel until you reach Flying Squirrel. Continue up Flying Squirrel, which merges with Upper College at the top of Frenchman's chairlift. Continue on Upper College, which will take you to the top of Bald Mountain.

     

    Dollar Mountain After Hours Uphill/Downhill Policy

    We are continuing to offer the same after hours uphill/downhill access on Dollar Mountain that has existed in years past. Uphill hiking is permitted outside of normal lift operating hours (typically from 4pm to 9am, weather and conditions permitting). There are no designated routes for after hours access, and dogs are permitted on the mountain. We ask that guests please be considerate of others and clean up after their furry friends.
     

    Additional Details

    Sun Valley's uphill and downhill travel policy, approved by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), allows access for uphill and downhill travelers outside of operational hours. Uphill travel within ski area boundaries poses significant safety concerns for uphill and downhill recreationists, ski area operators, and staff. Sun Valley's policy reflects our commitment to seek a balance between mitigating safety concerns of uphill travel as a recreational use within the downhill ski area/Special Use Permit area and the resort has been granted a Special Use Permit from the USFS.

    To protect the public from potential hazards that may exist from time to time, prior to the opening of the ski season, during the ski season, and after the closing of the ski season, the ski area is authorized, with USFS pre-approval, to close areas subject to potential safety hazards and to post signs at uphill access points announcing the closure of those areas.

    Sun Valley continues to work closely with the Ketchum Ranger District, Sawtooth National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and local organizations to build awareness and provide public education regarding uphill travel and recreational uses. Our goal is to find a reasonable balance between user groups who share a common interest in recreating within the Sun Valley Special Permit area in a safe, non-confrontational, and sustainable manner.

    All participants within the permit boundary are considered skiers and are subject to Idaho Statute title 6 chapter 11, 6-1106 Duties of Skiers.

    Equipment Policy

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    Ski Equipment Use Policy

    When operated in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Sun Valley Ski Area, ski equipment is allowed, with the exception of ski bikes, snow trikes, snow bikes, plastic snowboards, sleds, discs, snow scooters, toboggans, and/or tubes, which are prohibited at the Sun Valley Ski Area.

    Adaptive Device Use Policy

    Sun Valley Company allows the use of adaptive devices or other “manually-powered mobility aids” designed for use on the slopes, including mono skis, bi skis, skibikes, and outriggers. Reasonable accommodation for users of on slope “manually-powered mobility aids” will be made so long as such use does not create an undue burden on the safety and efficiency of normal operations. Users may be required to load and unload safely with minimal assistance or participate in an approved adaptive program. Additionally, the Sun Valley Ski Area offers or will arrange for adaptive equipment when requested in advance by individuals wanting to enjoy sports at the Sun Valley Ski Area.

    Other Power-Driven Mobility Device Policy

    Sun Valley Company in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service established a public access policy precluding motorized equipment on slopes and trails within the established boundaries of the Special Use Permit granted for public skiing access. That policy remains in effect.
    The public access policy for Sun Valley Company was established to prevent serious harm to the environment and the natural resources. Due to the need to address soil integrity, erosion and vegetative concerns, the Ski Area has adopted a “no motorized” policy for the public during the summer season.
    Due to concerns with actual safety practices in the winter season, Sun Valley Company has determined that the use of any power-driven devices or vehicles by the public would conflict with our safety requirements necessary for the reasonably safe operation of our on-slope activities.

    Ski Patrol

    In 1936 the Union Pacific Railroad company opened the doors of Sun Valley, America’s first four season mountain resort. Billed as North America’s premier mountain recreation destination, Sun Valley became the standard for all mountain towns to follow. Concurrently, the Sun Valley Ski Patrol (SVSP), America’s first and longest-tenured ski patrol, began skiing the slopes of central Idaho’s Pioneer and Smoky mountain ranges.

    More than three quarters of a century later, the SVSP continues its tradition of world class service to our guests. Trained in skier safety techniques, advanced first aid, snow science, lift evacuation, avalanche mitigation and rescue, toboggan handling and mountaineering skills, members of the ski patrol are highly certified and skilled individuals.

    Toboggans

     

    Originally the ski patrol was led by members of the U.S. Army’s famed 10th Mountain Division. In fact, Nelson Bennett, one of the SVSP’s original Directors, actually cut many of Sun Valley’s most famous runs by hand. Over the past eight decades, the patrol has continued to be an industry leader in the development of best practices within the ski resort profession. These advances range from the invention of the ski patrol toboggan in the 1940s to technological advances in computerized dispatch systems today.

     

    Ski Patrollers and Avalanche Dogs

     

    Ski Patroller

     

    The ski patrol staff encompasses 67 highly trained professional men and women who average approximately 17 years of service with many exceeding 40 years on the job. This unequalled level of service is one of the many shining lights of the Sun Valley Company brand. The team consists of world-class skiers who are dedicated to enhancing our guests’ experience on the slopes of world-famous Sun Valley.

    Connect with us on Facebook Ski Patrol fan page Facebook

     

    Skier Safety

    Mike Lloyd - Ski Patrol Director

    “The safety of our skiing and riding guests is our first priority. We view every day as an opportunity to meet and greet our skiing and riding guests and talk about safety on the slopes,” said Mike Davis, Director of the Sun Valley Ski Patrol. “As members of the Mountain Community, it is incumbent on everyone to respect each others’ space and desire to have an enjoyable experience on the mountain.” Mike Davis - Ski Patrol Director

     

    Skiing can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas, you might see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country or other specialized equipment such as that used by the disabled. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.

    Sun Valley trails are rated according to their difficulty relative to other trails on their respective mountains. Users of all ability levels should begin with easier trails before advancing.

    Responsibility Code

    1. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.

    2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

    3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.

    4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.

    5. Always use devices that help prevent runaway equipment.

    6. Observe posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.

    7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

    In addition to Easier, More Difficult, Advanced and Experts Only runs, Bald Mountain offers five Family Areas where we ask our guests to "Go with the Flow." These areas are shaded in yellow on the trail map and include: Lower Broadway, Seattle Ridge, Lower College, Olympic Ridge and Lower Olympic and Mid and Lower Warm Springs. These areas are clearly marked with yellow on-hill signage.

    There are also three Slow Zones in which guests are asked to go "Very Slow." These areas include: Upper College, the Meadow Hill at the base of Seattle ridge and 42nd Street to the bottom of Lower River Run. These areas are highlighted in red on the trail map and are clearly marked with red on-hill signage.

    Areas beyond the ski area boundary are not patrolled or maintained, and Sun Valley assumes no responsibility for the safety or welfare of skiers in these areas. Rescue in the backcountry, if available, is the responsibility of Blaine County Search and Rescue, a service often very costly to the skier.

     

    Awards

    Proud winner of the NSAA 2015 National Safety Award for Best Overall Safety Program (350,000 or more visits).

     

    Avalanche Awareness

    Though Sun Valley makes efforts to minimize risk of in-bounds avalanches, these natural events cannot always be avoided. Stay out of closed areas, do not ski alone, and be aware of your surroundings. Call Ski Patrol immediately if you witness an avalanche. Avoid deep snow and tree wells, as these areas expose skiers to risk of snow immersion injuries and fatalities.

    There is a big difference between closed areas within the ski resort and Baldy’s area boundaries.

    Closed Area

    Closed means closed. Areas are closed for various reasons – lack of snow, poor snow conditions, maintenance, wildlife considerations, grooming and most importantly – avalanche hazard and mitigation. In the interest of public safety, skiing in closed areas is against the law in Blaine County.

    Snow and weather conditions can change quickly. Avalanche gates open and close accordingly for your safety. Never enter a closed area. You may lose your pass or receive a citation from Blaine County Sheriff (class B misdemeanor). If you are unsure about terrain access, please contact the Ski Patrol. In case of emergency call 911.

    Ski Area Boundary

    Public lands extend beyond Baldy’s boundary ropes. You are on your own when you go out-of-bounds. Rescue is not imminent when you leave the ski area and avalanche hazards are no different than touring in remote areas.

    Avalanche Rescue Equipment

    Skiers need to use good decision making when leaving the ski area and…

    • Have at least a basic understanding of Avalanche Awareness
    • Know the avalanche hazard for Baldy’s Side Country
    • Ski with a partner
    • Carry a cell phone
    • Carry an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel
    • Practice with your equipment!

    Skiers can practice their avalanche skills in Baldy’s automated Beacon Park. If you need assistance honing your skills or have questions about the avalanche hazard, stop by the ski patrol headquarters on top of Baldy or call the ski patrol at (208) 622-6262.

    Useful Info:

    Avalanche Education Opportunities - http://sawtoothavalanche.com/education.php
    Avalanche Advisory for the Wood River Valley - http://sawtoothavalanche.com/adv-full.php

    Controlled Blasting at Lookout

     

    Lids on Kids

    Kids' helmet and goggles

    NSAA promotes the use of helmets on the slopes. We urge skiers and riders to wear a helmet – but to ski or ride as if they are not wearing a helmet. NSAA views skiing and snowboarding in a controlled and responsible manner – not helmets only – as the primary safety consideration for all skiers and boarders. A skier’s behavior has as much or more to do with the safety of the sport as does any piece of equipment.

    In 2002, Lids on Kids www.lidsonkids.org debuted as a resource for consumers to learn about helmet use in skiing and snowboarding. This site contains FAQs about helmet use, fit and sizing information, general slope safety information, related articles and games, and testimonials about helmet use from well-known athletes, including US Ski Team members.

    www.lidsonkids.org

     

    Drone Policy

    Out of safety concerns for guests, employees, and resort property, as well as concerns for individual privacy, Sun Valley Company   prohibits the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by the general public – including recreational users and hobbyists – without the prior written authorization from the Company.  This prohibition includes drones used for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above or within Sun Valley Company boundaries. including property under the special use permit with the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management..       The general public are not allowed to transport drones on the ski lift or be carried uphill by any means without prior authorization.  This prohibition on drone operations or use extends to any drones launched or operated from Company property, as well as drones launched from private property outside of the Company boundaries.  Any authorized operation of aerial drones may be governed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations, local law enforcement, and/or U.S. Forest Service or BLM regulations, as well as those policies separately established by Sun Valley Company, which may include certification, training, insurance coverage, indemnification requirements, and waivers or releases of liability.  Any violation of this policy may involve suspension of skiing or snowboarding privileges, or the revocation of season pass, as well as confiscation of any drone equipment, and may subject violators to any damages, including, but not limited to, damages for violations of privacy and/or physical or personal injuries or property damage, as well as regulatory fines and legal fees.

    Mountain Community

    Mountain Community

    The Mountain Community encompasses our entire recreational landscape and is inspired by the idea that we all enjoy and engage in sport without competing with or interference from other mountain enthusiasts.

    The Mountain Community reaches far beyond our local mountain ranges and includes everyone who shares a passion for and appreciation of the mountain lifestyle. The Mountain Community can be expressed through the three C’s: Community, Consideration for others and Common sense. Combined with a desire to enjoy as safe an on-mountain environment as possible, this philosophy exists as a key component of the Sun Valley Company’s Safe Skiing Initiative.

    Connect with us on Facebook Mountain Community fan page Facebook

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