“Good times, bad times, sad times and glad times,” said Sun Valley ski patrolman Richie Bingham on Sunday about his upcoming retirement after 52 years on the job. Bingham sat down outside of the Ski Patrol station on Bald Mountain for an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express, above. Bingham arrived in Sun Valley in 1967 from Roy, Utah, and Weber State College. He had filled out a job application and had landed a job with the patrol before coming to Idaho. He described himself as a decent skier but met and skied with Bruce Malone, Carl Rixon and Greg Morrison and was influenced by the likes of Dan Manning, Morgan Thomas and Pat Bauman. He became a better skier. Paul Matthes was Ski Patrol director when Bingham first started.
Bingham describes his Ski Patrol experience as an “awesome job,” blending an incredible team from a diverse group of personalities with a common goal of taking care of skiers in need of help.
What has kept him on one job for more than 50 years? “A couple of years like this one when you can ski every inch of everywhere,” Bingham said. He also said that every day on the patrol there was some kind of adventure, and posed the question asking how many jobs can actually offer that?
Sun Valley Co. has scheduled a retirement party for Bingham on Thursday, April 18, at the River Run Lodge, and Bingham’s last day on the job is April 21, closing day of the ski season on Baldy.
When asked about his immediate plans, Bingham mused, “I’m 72, and I want to mess about the best I can.”
He reflected on the memories of the hundreds of people he has met and helped on the mountain and the camaraderie developed with the mountain staff as irreplaceable and the highlight over the past 50 years.
“I look forward to skiing on Baldy without a radio,” he said.