Despite a power outage, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort got their lift spinning for opening day on Saturday. Skiers and snowboarders flocked to the resort to ride, fall and enjoy the snow.
“We’re a super small ski area but we have a base elevation of 7,100 feet so we get killer snow,” Marketing Director Chelsea Judy said.
Judy is one of about 30 employees who run the mountain.
“It doesn’t really feel like work most of the time because I’m here with the people I love doing what I love,” she said.
Sixty-two-year-old Bill Shank is the director of the ski school at the mountain and said, “It’s like a family here.”
Shank is in his third year as director, though he has skied at the mountain much longer. He enjoys sharing his joy of skiing with people such as 25-year-old Jenny Daffer, who moved to Oregon from the Philippines. Daffer has been skiing less than a year but keeps up with Shank just fine.
The mountain opened in 1963 and is still frequented by some of the original skiers, including members of the all-volunteer ski patrol.
One chairlift provides access to about 1,100 acres with roughly 900 vertical feet. In January the mountain’s cat-skiing operation will start up, offering access to 2,000 acres on the southwest side of the mountain. The passenger snow-cat, dubbed “Ladybug,” can fit a dozen people. The cost to ride Ladybug for the day is $199 a person and $149 for pass-holders.
The resort offers about 30 kilometers of cross country skiing as well as snowshoe trails and mountain biking in the summer.
2015/16 was a record year for Anthony Lakes. They had roughly 23,000 skier visits, up from the average of 18,000. Judy attributes this to more people hearing about the laid back atmosphere, friendly staff and affordable prices.
With only one lift and limited parking, Anthony Lakes can only handle so many people on the weekends.
“We’re definitely operating at capacity a lot of our Saturdays,” Judy said.
The resort introduces kids to skiing and snowboarding through a number of youth-oriented programs. One such program is the Anthony Lakes Ski Trip Program offered by the John Day Canyon City Parks and Recreation. The program provides transportation to and from Anthony Lakes, as well as discounted lift tickets and rentals.
The cost per trip is $30-40 for kids and $25-35 for adults, but organizer Greg Whipple said those interested in driving themselves or car-pooling could also get discounted rates.
The bus has trips planned for Jan. 14, Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and Feb. 25.
“Their programs for kids are great,” Whipple said of Anthony Lakes. “There’s no place that comes near it.”
The bus can seat about 55 people for the roughly three-hour ride, which typically leaves from the Grant Union parking lot at 6:30 a.m. and returns at 7:30 p.m., Whipple said.
Students in sixth grade or younger are required to be accompanied by a guardian, and anyone under 18 is required to take a lesson regardless of their skill level.
Last year, the majority of riders were kids, but Whipple said they are trying to reach out to millenials in the community.
Though the Ski Bus usually receives a substantial grant from Community Counseling Solutions, this year they will be going without one.
The school district provides the group with a bus and driver for $500 a trip as well as an additional bus in the event of a breakdown or crash, according to Whipple.
For more information, call 541-575-0110 or visit jdccparksandrec.weebly.com.