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Sun Valley and Snow Facts

Two snowcats on top of a mountain

Snowcats (View larger version)

Photograph by Amir Bather

  • Averell Harriman, who was a founder of Sun Valley Ski Resort, was a special envoy to Europe under FDR and oversaw the 'Lend-Lease' operation during WWII.

  • Sun Valley has 535 snow guns for making snow.

  • The technology behind the original chairlift, invented in 1936, came from technology used to load bananas onto boats in the tropics.

  • Slope-style competition will make its Olympic debut at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

  • Though water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures must drop a few degrees lower and be sustained at that level for efficient snowmaking to take place.

  • The Snowcats used by SPT weigh 20,000 lbs.

  • One tiller alone weighs 1,500 lbs.

  • Ernest Hemingway wrote much of one of his most famous novels, 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' while staying at Sun Valley Lodge.

  • During World War II, Sun Valley closed to the general public and was instead a convalescent facility for the Navy.

  • Sun Valley has sunshine, on average, 120 days out of a 150 day ski season.

  • The longest run at Sun Valley is three miles.

  • Without a winch, a snow cat should not attempt to maneuver on a slope with more than a 45 degree angle.

  • Art Hunt, Dave Richey, and Wayne Pierce of Hartford, Ct. patented snow-making technology in 1950.

  • Most natural snow contains bacteria, pseudomonas syringae.

  • The predecessor to the snowboard was called the snurfer, and it was invented by Sherman Poppen in 1965. It consisted of two skis cross-braced together.