Rotarun Ski Area has been a community endeavor from the start. After World War II, it was used by locals who boot packed up and skied down. 1948 Winter Olympian Ann Janet Winn began using Rotarun as a site to teach Hailey kids how to ski, and in 1941 a group of locals constructed a tractor-and-pulley rope tow out of old farm equipment, marking the establishment of the ski hill. The ski area formally became a nonprofit in 1964, when the Arkoosh family supported the foundation of Rotarun Ski Club, Inc. For generations, area individuals and businesses have pulled together to improve and preserve Rotarun Ski Area as a place for the community to celebrate winter sport. From its inception, Rotarun’s mission has always been to provide affordable access to locals. Fueled by passionate volunteers, local businesses,organizations, and donors, Rotarun has worked its way into the hearts and minds of generations of skiers and riders. In the spirit of Rotarun’s roots, the community is once again rolling up its sleeves and investing in Rotarun to maintain its place as our “little mountain with a big heart” for the Wood River Valley.  
Rotarun Ski Area is situated to undergo a number of long-anticipated improvements, intended to ensure its longevity and grow and develop its role in the community as a place to inspire recreation and access for youth and adults alike. Rotarun offers public skiing throughout the winter season, and the local nonprofit organization Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) utilizes Rotarun Ski Area as a venue to both introduce children to winter sports through its Rota-Rippers and LASAR programs, and hone the skills of its elite-level skiers and riders. 

Thirty years in the works, Rotarun is finalizing its initial phase of installing snowmaking. For the 2019/20 season, the nonprofit ski area will have snowmaking on the lower section of the hill, enabling Rotarun to establish a base of snow on the lower skier’s left of the mountain. There has been a significant amount of work done behind the scenes to ensure that the upcoming changes to the Rotarun property are appropriately scaled and engineered for the betterment of both the Rotarun Ski Area and the Sage Springs neighborhood.

“Installing snowmaking at Rotarun has been a dream for our community for over 30 years. The aspect of the hill and its consistently cold temperatures make it an ideal location. The vision has been to create a system that is both efficient and aligned with the local spirit of the area.

Through the incredible generosity of the Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Heyward Foundation, The Janice Seagraves Family Foundation, generations of Rotarun board members, and a great many others, we are ecstatic that this incredible community asset will continue to provide a place for all of us to enjoy the winter in an authentic and inspired way, for generations to come. This is a magnificent step forward to further inspire our winter-loving community.”  

Other Rotarun Ski Area improvements include a design upgrade to the lodge, with a kitchen and bathroom remodel project to help with usability. McGrew is also working with The Hillside Ranch and The Sun Valley Garden Center to procure larger spruce trees, with the intention of placing them around the border of the property to improve overall aesthetics and better integrate the existing infrastructure.

None of these endeavors would be remotely feasible without the generosity of time and resources from a number of community partners.  

“We cannot say ‘thank you’ enough to our local supporters who believe in this ski hill, and its role in our community,” said McGrew. “Lunceford Excavation and Webb Nursery provided incredible donations to help with the significant and costly work required to remediate a mudslide we experienced last spring. Wilro Plumbing, Wood River Electric, Levatan Appliance, BC Builders, Ferguson Supplies, Sun Valley Rug and Tile, Mountain Land Design, and Idaho Lumber and Ace Hardware have all leaned in to make this lodge improvement project come to life for our kids and community. We are beyond thrilled!”

Rotarun is planning its annual family friendly New Year’s Eve event and hosting free community ski and ride sessions throughout the upcoming winter. Visit www.rotarun.org for more information and details on calendars, and ways to get involved.