[R440R, Sun Valley] skiers and snowboarders dropped down the new Sleeping Bear run on Bald Mountain last winter, but this year the run has a whole new look with lift towers, cables, and gondola cars. Sun Valley's new gondola, which will zip skiers and snowboarders from River Run Plaza to the Roundhouse Restaurant, is expected to be operational by the resort's Thanksgiving opening.

The new Doppelmayr CTEC detachable-grip gondola will climb 2,000 vertical feet in eight minutes. Each of the 56 gondolas holds eight passengers, and the lift is expected to carry 1,800 passengers per hour. The system includes 21 towers plus two end terminals.

The gondola, while in a new alignment on the mountain, negated the need for the Exhibition Lift. The resort removed the old lift and sold it to Discovery Basin in Montana.

The resort plans to use the new gondola to expand its services at the Roundhouse Restaurant, by offering evening dinners in the future. The lift also will provide a way for foot passengers to get to the restaurant and back down.

An early season snowstorm doused Sun Valley the first week of October with 18 inches of snow, just as the resort installed its first cars on the line and began testing. New trail maps will be available online showing the Roundhouse Gondola.

More information. Or call 800-786-8259.