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Larry Turner


NORTH POWDER, OREGON-Ski Anthony Lakes is like Mom's home cooking and homemade ice cream served with champagne powder. Simple and very, very good.

It is very pleasantly trapped in a bygone era of skiing whereas families, friends and tradition take top billing. And bigger is not better. No fancy lodge, no Gucci gear, no jet setters with inflated egos, no hot doggers(well, maybe a few but they're in their 70s and 80s). No problem.

In the ski world, this Northeast Oregon mountain mini resort is like a quiet little town in paradise. There is one triple chair lift and two small surface lifts serving 21 runs (38% which are intermediate and 42% advanced). There is a Nordic Center and cat skiing, too.

"You come to Anthony Lakes to ski, not to show off your fancy threads," says Jerry Krieg, Anthony Lake's marketing director.

Roseburg's John Paulson slips nto a powder chute
John Paulson on a solo run


I must admit though, I was impressed with superman's threads, ala Kenny G (not the musician) from Dayton, Washington. The self-ascribed 58-year-old "paleo hippie" travels from his home state to Anthony "because they consistently have the best ski conditions." The recovered alcoholic-"skiing saved my life 20 years ago from the booze"-sleeps in his bumper sticker (my favorite was: Montana: Steep, Deep and Cheap) adorned van "the Cave" behind Anthony's Starbottle Bar. He calls himself "a skier with a boarding mentality. Skiers when they call a ski resort ask a thousand questions. Boarders but one: 'Are you open?'"

Kenny G ready to roll
Moose Stephens... 75 years young


Kenny G has skied 50 resorts in eight states and Canada. Perpetually connected with the 60s "because it represents individual freedom," he has a ski wardrobe of 25 costumes. "The duller the mountain, the more outlandish the costume. Superman is reserved for the best mountains."

Anthony Lakes is located 19 miles west of North Powder and 35 miles from Baker City. The resort opened November 15 this year-the earliest in 15 years-and will close "when the lack of snow and people prompt us, too," says Krieg. With a base of 7100 feet and the top at 8000, Anthony Lakes is the Northwest's highest ski area, historically providing abundant snow and a longer season than most ski resorts. Anthony's slopes face north and east, preserving snow pack better than South and West facing ski resort slopes.

Known for its champagne powder-the driest in Oregon--, friendly staff and laid back attitude, Ski Magazine named it "the most lovable ski area in America where the dry powder and big-time backcountry skiing belie the size and stature of Anthony Lakes." Anthony's Powder Catski Tours on the mountain's backside gives skiers and boarders access to an additional 200 acres of steeps, glades and bowls up to 1500 vertical feet per run, starting at a whopping 8300 feet elevation.

In the 1930s, Anthony's ski pioneers would trek up 4000 feet, strap on six-foot wooden ski planks and cut loose.

"These hail and hearty ski souls were superhuman," says Krieg.

Today the mountain boasts many "old timers" that are not "going gentle into the good night." Eighty three year old Creston Shaw has been on Anthony Lake's Ski Patrol for 38 years. The retired grass farmer windsails Hood River and Corpus Christie in the off-season. "I firmly believe that the older generation does not need to be in the twilight of their life during the twilight of most lives," says Shaw.

Moose Stephens, 75, grew up drinking Jersey cow milk in his native Texas. The retired Forest Service employee first skied Anthony Lakes in 1970. "I fell off the lift on my first ride, brushed myself off and said to the guys, "I'm your new Snow Ranger (a position he held until retirement). " Stephens skis Anthony every day and when the area is closed Monday through Wednesday, he cross-country skis and snowshoes. "A person is unwise to spend their lives indoors. We raised our six children on this wonderful mountain. They still come back and ski. A family that skis together stays together," reflects Stephens.

Cindy Wardlow, 55, started skiing Anthony when it first opened with a Pomalift in 1963. "All we had were two Pomalifts and a snow shack. This area is timeless, still very much as it was back then," says the director of vocational education in Kelso, Washington's school district. "In the 60s we had some characters skiing here. My favorites were named Poison Zamzaboo, Pokatokee, Snowhead and Melonhead who ran the lift and wasn't too bright." I asked her if I should use that quote. She replied," How would he know?"

One character by the name of Jim Ochea really stood out. He called Wardlow "twinklenose." "He had a bullet in his leg. One day the FBI came and arrested him. Unbeknownst to us, he was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.

A photo of Wardlow in her bikini posing on a slab of Anthony Lake's ice she once sent to a friend in Vietnam. "Boy, did I get a lot of letters from soldiers," she laughs. "They all wanted to come and ski Anthony Lakes."

Haines Hot Springs
The "kitty" for hot springs use


The original Anthony Lakes ski area officially opened in 1938. The area closed during World War 11 and was reopened by Olaf Rodegard with two rope tows in 1947. Rodegard closed it again in 1949 and gave up the operation when someone stole his snowplow. Champ Bond moved Anthony to the current Little Alps area (four miles away from the original) in 1954 with minimal ski facilities.

The area gained fame in the late 60s with the filming of the Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin movie Paint Your Wagon. "A lot of ski patrollers were in the movie as extras," recalls Wardlow. The Starbottle Hotel scenes were filmed here and the remainder of the movie 40 miles away." The movie's original Starbottle Hotel sign hangs today in Anthony Lake's Starbottle Bar-a funky, casual retro 60s western resort style bar replete with old hanging wooden skis, nontypical deer antlers, barn wood siding with brands, hanging Mardi Gra beads and old black and white ski photos.

Helmet reflections
Audry Nevue, Portland, and her ski dog Daisey


The bar specializes in hearty brews from Baker City's Barley Brown Brew Pub, some appropriately named Snow Plow and Tumbleoff Ale.

There are no overnight accommodations on the mountain. A unique place to stay is the historic Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City, which offers rooms with free skiing (888-434-7374). Haines Hot Springs would be a good place for a pre or post ski soak. Thursdays, Anthony Lakes offers half price skiing. Ski Anthony Lakes can be reached at 541-856-3277 or online at: www.ski@anthonylakes.com.



Prints may be
purchased by contacting Larry at Skiturn789@yahoo.com.

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