Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Whether the credit goes to the Nordic god of snow — the tongue-twisting Ullr — or to the more prosaic form of a North Pacific storm, the result is the same. The ski season starts Saturday morning at Anthony Lakes.

The well-timed and unexpectedly powerful storm brought nine inches of new snow Tuesday night to the ski area in the Elkhorn Mountains about 19 miles west of North Powder.

It was the first major snowfall since Dec. 3, and it boosted the resort’s snow base to 25 inches, said Chelsea Judy, Anthony Lakes marketing manager.

“When we woke up yesterday morning to nine inches we were excited because we weren’t anticipating that much,” Judy said. “That’s more than was forecasted.”

The storm arrived three days after the “snow dance” party at the resort, during which visitors were invited to call on Ullr to break the dry stretch that had dominated December’s weather.

Another five inches of snow fell on Wednesday, and the next storm in the Pacific pipeline could deposit 5 to 7 more inches on the slopes tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

Opening day should be partly sunny, however.

“We could get a sunny opening day with fresh snow,” Judy said. “It should be fantastic skiing.”

Last year Anthony Lakes opened on Dec. 10.

Despite this week’s snowfall, conditions are still best described as early season, Judy said, as the snow isn’t yet deep enough to cover every obstacle.

“We’re urging people to be careful,” she said.

Several main runs will be groomed this weekend, including Broadway, Variety, Vista and the Road Run.

Anthony Lakes’ Nordic Center — in the guard station on the north shore of Anthony Lake, just east of the lodge — will be open, and several trails, including the Lake Loop and Gunsight, will be groomed.

Lifts will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Christmas Eve.

Santa will take to the slopes on Sunday.

Anthony Lakes will be closed on Christmas Day, then reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday and be open daily, weather permitting, through New Year’s Day.