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Observer 11/24/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Preparing the slopes

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Preparing the slopes

Anthony Lakes Ski Resort General Manager Peter Johnson said that prices for the 2013-14 season will remain the same as last season. (WesCom file)
Anthony Lakes Ski Resort General Manager Peter Johnson said that prices for the 2013-14 season will remain the same as last season. (WesCom file)
 

Anthony Lakes Ski Resort gears up for another season 

Alice Trindle can discuss in detail the tangible things that make Anthony Lakes Ski Area special.

The dry powder snow.

The short lift lines.

The three-state panorama from the top of the mountain.

But the essence of this place, she believes, is harder to define.

“It’s a sense of, well, spirituality,” said Trindle, who lives near Haines and has been skiing, and teaching other skiers, for decades at the resort in the Elkhorn Mountains.

“The heritage of that place is just special,” said Trindle, who’s also one of five directors of the nonprofit Baker County Development Corp., which has owned the ski area since 2010. Trindle doesn’t volunteer the specific number of years she’s been active at Anthony Lakes, but she does offer a telling anecdote.

During spring break this year, while serving as a ski instructor, she taught three consecutive classes in which at least one student had a parent or grandparent who had also learned from Trindle the basics of turns and stops.

“One of the things the board is absolutely dedicated to is that we want to keep the flavor of this area exactly as it is,” Trindle said. “It’s a family-friendly place where you can grow up, and come back to.”

One aspect that makes Anthony Lakes inviting to families is a price schedule that’s a bargain compared with most resorts, General Manager Peter Johnson said.

And that’s not changing for the 2013-14 season.

“We’re keeping prices the same across the board,” Johnson said. “We want to keep it as affordable as we can.”

Half-price Thursdays will return this winter, as well, said Marketing Director Chelsea McLagan, who is herself starting her second stint at the ski area.

McLagan had the same job at Anthony Lakes from 2007-09.

“I’m excited to be back,” she said.

Not everything is identical on the mountain, though.

Anthony Lakes has added a second rental yurt to its overnight accommodations. The original yurt proved popular last winter, Johnson said.

“It was booked up every single weekend, pretty much every day we were open,” Johnson said.

That yurt, with a diameter of 16 feet and capacity of five people, will again be on the east side of Anthony Lake.

The new yurt is a larger, 20-foot model with room for as many as eight people, Johnson said.

This yurt will be placed at the southwest corner of the lake, near the summertime day-use lot.

“It’s an extremely scenic spot,” Trindle said.

Both yurts are within a quarter-mile of the lodge, and both have a woodstove for heat, a gas stove for cooking and kitchen essentials.

Neither has electricity.

The smaller yurt costs $200 per night, and the new, larger model rents for $250 per night.

To reserve a yurt, go to Anthony Lakes’ website, www.anthonylakes.com, and look under the “Services & Activities” menu.

There are no major changes on the mountain itself, with all the same runs, as well as the back side terrain accessible by snow cat.

Anthony Lakes did buy a third snow cat for run grooming.

That will allow crews to groom the slopes faster after a big snow, and having a third machine is a buffer in case one of the two others has a mechanical problem, he said.

Johnson said crews will focus more this winter on the terrain park near the lodge.

Trindle also noted that Anthony Lakes, with almost 25 miles of groomed cross-country trails, has a much larger, and more diverse, Nordic operation than many much larger ski areas.

As always, the goal is to open for the season the day after Thanksgiving — Nov. 29 this year, Johnson said. The opening date depends on the weather, of course, but an unusually early snowstorm in late September and early October has spurred optimism, Johnson said.

“We still have 10 inches to a foot at the top of the mountain,” he said.

Skiers have less than a week to take advantage of a discount on a season pass; that deal ends on Halloween.

The annual parties for season pass holders are scheduled for Nov. 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ten Depot Street in La Grande and Nov. 7 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Paizano’s Pizza in Baker City. 

Snow conditions and other information is available at www.anthonylakes.com or by calling
541-856-3277.

Resort remains
under public ownership

Anthony Lakes Ski Area is approaching its fourth winter season in quasi-public ownership.

The private owners, after losing an average of $45,000 per year over several consecutive seasons, gave the ski area to Baker County in July 2010.

The county then transferred ownership to the nonprofit Baker County Development Corporation.

In the first year, Baker County’s motel room tax committee gave the corporation $30,000 for marketing.

Union County contributed $20,000, and also approved a 10-year exemption on property taxes, which saves the corporation about $4,500 per year.

The lodge and other structures are just across the Union County border. The buildings and other structures are on public land — specifically, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, which administers the ski area under a special use permit.

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