Baldy Ski Crowds

Large crowds of skiers took to Baldy Saturday morning. The mountain closed early on Friday afternoon following multiple avalanches. The Sawtooth Avalanche Center's avalanche warning remained in place through Sunday.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 482 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the total since last March to 163,165. Of those, an estimated 82,721 have recovered. In the month of January, Idaho gained 21,606 cases.

The state reported 10 more coronavirus-related deaths today, raising the death toll to 1,735. In January, the virus contributed to the deaths of 289 Idahoans.

Blaine County gained 30 confirmed cases of the virus since Friday, including 21 today. The county also gained three probable cases, leaving local totals at 1,787 confirmed and 181 probable. As of Friday, the South Central Public Health District was monitoring 431 cases in Blaine County. In January, Blaine County recorded 384 new cases.

To date, 22,800 state residents, including 204 locals, have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine. A further 80,578 Idahoans, including 1,997 Blaine County residents, have received one dose and are awaiting their second.

Read on for news of vaccination appointment slots filling up, a fatal incident on Bald Mountain, avalanche danger in the Wood River Valley, and more news from Monday, Feb. 1.

• Today was the first day Idahoans over the age of 65 were eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, and St. Luke’s Health System ran out of appointment slots rapidly. St. Luke’s officials said some 100,000 people attempted to schedule appoints today via the myChart system. Meanwhile, the hospital system received so many phone calls that a primary customer line was overwhelmed and shut down. Doctors and officials report that demand for the vaccine far surpasses supply.

Greg Foley has more here.

• Hailey resident Gregory Plowman, 67, died at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center Friday evening after an accident on Bald Mountain. Twin Falls County Coroner Gene Turley said he believes “Mr. Plowman was skiing, at high speed, in knee-deep powder snow and snagged a ski which launched him in the air. He landed head-first in some deep snow. He fell unconscious and died of asphyxiation.”

Read more here.

• The Sawtooth Avalanche center warned of serious avalanche danger in the Wood River Valley over the weekend, following last week’s heavy snowfall. On Friday, skiers caused three avalanches on Baldy, resulting in some injuries. One slide hit three houses.

In case you missed it, click here for coverage of the avalanches. Learn more about SAC’s warning here.

• The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a series of public hearings tonight regarding three proposals from Larry Green and Matthew Cook, respective owners of L.L. Green’s Hardware and Silver Creek Ford. The two are partnering to develop 5.4 acres across from Albertsons, aiming to build a new dealership, a two-story hardware store and some condominiums.

Emily Jones reports.

For more local and regional news, visit mtexpress.com at any time, or look for a free copy of Wednesday’s Idaho Mountain Express newspaper.