The Rotarun Ski Area is located out Croy Canyon, west of Hailey, Idaho. Shortly after the Second World War, the “hill” began to be used by people walking up and skiing down. Ann Janet Winn—1948 Winter Olympics-Switzerland participant—began teaching local children the skill of skiing. She started at the small hill at the Hailey Elementary School and later took students to locations west of Hailey to teach lessons. Then, in 1948 a group of local residents constructed a tractor-and-pulley rope tow out of used farm equipment, and the local Hailey ski area was born.
Burt Cross, a Sun Valley ski instructor taught local adults how to teach skiing at the Kinderhorn Ski Hill north of Ketchum. These same instructors taught at the ski hill west of Hailey.
Later Idaho Power, Forest Service, Rotary and many other community members joined together and placed poles and provided electricity which created a rope tow.
The first Ski School was established in 1962 with John Davies as the first Ski School Director.
Later in 1964 a J-Bar Lift was created. The Rotarun Ski Club, Inc. was formed as a non-profit corporation to operate the Ski Area under a 99- years Lease from the Arkoosh family, which lease encompassing approximately 148 acres. A lighting system was installed at a cost of $15,000, and financed by selling $100 no-interest bonds to local supporters and a FHA loan. The following year the original warming hut was built by local carpenters with lumber donated by the Ivy Sawmill and Wood River Building Supply. Later a well was drilled to provide the Warming Hut and ski area with water.
From those days, through the 1970’s and 1980’s, the area was operated by volunteers offering local skiing and ski instruction at very affordable prices. As with many such locally funded volunteer organizations, things have not always run smoothly for Rotarun. With the vagaries of weather and funding, there have been times when equipment was lacking or in need of repair and there were times the area was unable to open or remain open for an entire ski season. Still, the ski area grew.
After the original j-bar was worn out it was replaced by a Doppelmyr Poma Lift imported from Austria at a cost of $180,000 which was acquired through fund raisers initiated by a hard working volunteer Red Bloedel in 1998 and is now available to take skiers to mountain top experiences.
The ski facility has provided a space for many successful skiers to perfect their skills. In many cases skiing has become a lifetime sport that provides exercise and enjoyment for many people from cradle to grave. One of the most notable skiers of recent times to cut their teeth at Rotarun was Picabo Street. She won the Arkoosh Cup, a favorite local race, in 1984. She went on to the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway to win a Silver Medal and then a Gold Medal in 1998 at Nagano, Japan.
Over the years, the Sun Valley Company has donated to Rotarun a number of used snow cats and grooming equipment. Today Rotarun is still operated by a group of dedicated volunteers and the community’s financial support. As it started, Rotarun remains a community ski hill.
In 2005 the hill was named Art Richard’s Mountain after our local legend Art Richards, one of the founders of Rotarun. At the same time a run was name Logan Run after Robert Logan and to acknowledge the dedication he and family members contributed to the success of the facility. The facility provides a highly visible place for the region to raise their children for the future as it has in the past. It leaves a legacy for Art.
Programs are available to the community at Rotarun are affordable winter activities to the public which include skiing, tubing and sledding. Night skiing is offered on Wednesday and Friday nights. The hill supports ski teams and hosts special races such as the Arkoosh Cup, Slush Cup, Hullabaloo Snow Board Race (in conjunction with the Sun Valley Snow Board Association), Snow Box Derby (in conjunction with the Blaine County Recreation District.). Housed in the warming hut is a snack bar for food, drinks and snacks. The hut also has space for the Ski Patrol where classes on safety, first aid and other related subjects are taught.