Amanda Weisbrod

By Amanda Weisbrod

The Observer

Veterans will “own the mountain” on Monday, according to Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, which is hosting an event just for veterans.

On Feb. 11, veterans and their family members can ski for free and meet representatives from local veterans assistance programs at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The resort will be closed to the public during this timeframe.

The fourth annual Veterans Benefit and Winter Ski Festival, sponsored by the Center for Human Development and Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, offers complimentary ski lessons, equipment rental, lift tickets and lunch to veterans and their families who come from all over Northeast Oregon to hit the slopes and learn about available resources.

Byron Whipple, veterans service officer at CHD, said he established the event with two goals in mind.

“The first goal is Anthony Lakes showing its appreciation to its veterans community,” said Whipple, who served 22 years in the Navy before retiring. “The other goal is to have veterans interact and get to know the local community resources that are available to them.”

Representatives from WorkSource Oregon, Community Connection of Northeast Oregon, the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in La Grande, and the National Guard Family Program will be in attendance. There will be no speakers or Q&A sections, however. Whipple said he wants the event to be as organic and low-stress as possible.

“It’s a lot easier for anybody to meet one of their community partners in a relaxed environment and get to know them instead of trying to make six or seven individual appointments,” he said. “(Veterans) can meet them all in an hour and then have a day of skiing.”

See complete story in Friday's Observer