Tumble Off.jpg

Tumble Off, along with the other ski runs at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, have plenty of fresh powder snow after a week in which up to four feet of snow fell at the ski area in the Elkhorn Mountains.

ANTHONY LAKES — Peter Johnson is not the sort who begrudges a blizzard.

But even as someone who depends on snow, Johnson concedes it’s possible for a little too much to fall a little too rapidly.

As much as 4 feet of powder in less than a week, for instance.

The positive part of this frozen onslaught is that it accumulated on the ski runs at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, where Johnson is the general manager.

In the midst of a rather lackluster winter, the series of potent Pacific storms that plowed through Oregon the past several days were welcome.

But because skiers and snowboarders have to drive to the resort, and because they like to park when they get there, this wintry barrage was causing a nightmare for Anthony Lakes’ maintenance crew.

“Our crew’s been at it since 6 a.m. Wednesday (Feb. 17),” Johnson said on Thursday morning. “And they’re still going.”

The weather offered only a brief respite for the beleaguered plow drivers as they prepared the ski area for its opening Thursday morning, Feb. 18. Snow tapered off late Wednesday, but the latest storm arrived Thursday and added another half a foot or so to the ski area’s base.

Anthony Lakes is open Thursday through Sunday.

On Wednesday afternoon the ski area, via its website, asked visitors who were planning to drive up the mountain that day and stay overnight in their RVs to wait until Thursday morning to give workers time to push the snow out of parking areas.

Johnson said he’s never seen so much snow fall in one week during his decade as general manager.

The weather pattern during that period illustrated the sometimes dramatic differences between what happens in the mountains and in the valleys.

Although several inches of snow also fell in Baker City on Monday, Feb. 15, the snow there all but stopped by late that day.

But snow continued to fall, heavily at times, at Anthony Lakes on Tuesday and Wednesday. And on the road and parking lots, of course.

The same pattern pummeled other mountain areas, including the northern Blues around Tollgate, with lots of snow over the same period.

The official snow-measuring station nearest Anthony Lakes is an automated device in a meadow about half a mile east of the ski area itself. That station, which reports snow depth at midnight each day, recorded 43 inches of snow at the start of Thursday, Feb. 11.

During the next seven days, concluding at the start of Feb. 18, the snow depth increased to 79 inches — a total of 36 inches.

Another station, in the northern Blues near Tollgate, recorded similar totals for the week. There the snow depth rose from 47 inches early on Feb. 11 to 90 inches the morning of Feb. 17 — 43 total inches in six days. At Schneider Meadows, in the southern Wallowa Mountains north of Halfway, the snow depth increased from 68 to 88 inches. Two sites at the southwest corner of the Wallowas both measured about 30 inches of new snow over the past week.

Considerable amounts of snow fell at lower-elevation sites, such as Tipton, along Highway 7 between Sumpter and Austin Junction. The snow depth there rose this week from 32 to 52 inches.

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