NORTH POWDER If you want to know what Friday was like for some people at Ski Anthony Lakes, imagine you're a close-to-obsessed Beatles fan and Paul McCartney shows up at your club and asks you to play along on andquot;Get Back.andquot;
Except on Friday the topic was not pop music, but extreme skiing.
And the unexpected visitor was Glen Plake, one of the sport's pioneers and most famous practitioners.
Plake visited Ski Anthony Lakes as part of his andquot;Down Home Tour,andquot; a nationwide tour of smaller ski areas.
Plake and his wife, Kimberly Plake, started their visit by sampling the slopes with local skiers, including most of the Ski Patrol crew at Ski Anthony Lakes, said Jerry Krieg, the resort's marketing director.
andquot;I can honestly say that Glen Plake's Down Home Tour Crew were the most down-to-earth group of skiers I have ever encountered, much less being the nicest, most sincere group of famous skiers I have ever shared a ski slope with,andquot; Krieg said.
Although snow has not been plentiful so far this season, Plake said he has skied enough to have a great imagination, and he andquot;can see great powder lines on this mountain,andquot; Krieg said.
After eating lunch, Plake said he wanted to tour some of the granite peaks that loom over Ski Anthony's groomed runs.
The Down Home Crew, along with Krieg and local skiers Dennis Mawhinney and Blain Tipton, hiked about 40 minutes from the top of the chairlift to the steep chute below the Lakes Lookout.
Krieg said he waited nearby to photograph the skilled skiers.
Mark Abma, a member of Plake's crew, took the chute first, and he glided down as if it were an intermediate run on a small hill, Krieg said.
Glen Plake went second, and his effortless turns easily explained his legendary status in this industry. Kimberly Plake also skied the chute easily.
andquot;In all, it was an unbelievable experience to ride with a legend such as Glen Plake,andquot; Krieg said. andquot;I know our Ski Patrol, and our two local riders that went out on the hike share the same opinions with me, as we have discussed many times in the last 48 hours.andquot;
Later, Glen Plake handed out goodies from a box full of his sponsors' products, such as T-shirts, calendars, posters, hats, flip-flops, stickers and other items.
He then signed a poster for every person he rode with that day, and every person who was present. He even signed several posters for close friends, the local Starbottle Ski Club, and a few locals who missed out on this once-in-a-lifetime day at Ski Anthony Lakes.