Tickets to slide
By JAYSON JACOBY
Baker City Herald
Downhill skiers and snowboarders who misplaced their gloves or their goggles last spring needn't fret just yet.
Ski season in Northeastern Oregon is a couple storms away, so there's still time to unearth your gear.
The front that swept through early Tuesday deposited several inches of snow at Ski Anthony Lakes, in the Elkhorn Mountains about 35 miles northwest of Baker City.
That storm boosted the resort's snow base to 12 inches.
Ski Anthony Lakes, which had its annual "snow or no snow party" on Nov. 17, needs another one to two feet of snow to start running its triple chairlift, said Bill Junnila, who's in his first year as the resort's general manager.
"We're excited to get the season going," Junnila, who worked at Ski Anthony Lakes for a couple seasons in the mid 1980s, said on Wednesday morning. "The earliest possible opening we can do we will do."
One more blizzard ought to be sufficient to open five kilometers of groomed trails for cross-country skiers, Junnila said.
For now, though, cross-country skiers can make tracks around Anthony Lake for free, he said.
The highway to the ski area was plowed after Tuesday's storm, but the road won't be maintained regularly until either the Nordic center, or the day lodge, or both, are open, Junnila said.
Oregon Sno-Park permits are required at the Ski Anthony Lakes.
The snow that fell Tuesday is the frothy powder for which the resort is renowned, yet this is the rare situation in which a glut of that heavy slush known as "Cascade concrete" would be better, said Amy Warner, the resort's operations director.
That's because wet snow compacts into a more solid base than does powder snow, which sometimes is about as solid as moon dust.
Once that base is built, though, powder snow of the sort that mantles the slopes at Ski Anthony Lakes today entices skiers and boarders to seek unmarked routes through the whitebark pine groves.
"In the ski business it's a day-to-day thing," Warner said.
The next two days don't look promising.
Snow doesn't return to the forecast until Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Although Ski Anthony Lakes' base elevation of 7,100 feet is higher than any other resort in the Northwest, its location east of the snow-interrupting Cascades some years leaves Ski Anthony short of snow in November.
Most years the resort opens between mid November and mid December.
Last year Ski Anthony's triple chairlift started ferrying skiers on Nov. 25.
For updated information, call 856-3277, visit www.anthonylakes.com