Ski Anthony Lakes
Ski Anthony is set deep in the Blue Mountains in Northeast Oregon just north of La Grande. On paper, the lakes looks like a typical local ski area with 1100 skiable acres and a 900-foot vertical. However, Ski Anthony has a little bit more under its belt than that. For one, the base elevation is the highest in the state at 7100 feet. Peak elevation is 8000 feet, which means that the snow that drapes across the ski area is never going to be cement quality. Annually, 300 inches (7.6 meters) of great powder fall on the slopes every year.
Keep in mind that this is a ski area, not a resort, so there is no traditional lodging available on site. However, two yurts (think a round permanent tent) are available to rent. These have a small kitchen, bunks, and a wood stove for heat.
Hitting the Trails
There are 21 named trails at Ski Anthony. The difficulty mix is 20 percent novice, 38 percent intermediate, and 42 percent expert. There is one terrain park at the Lakes, but Broadway is more of a boardercross course than a traditional park. One of the great things that Ski Anthony offers is cat skiing that will take you to other nearby peaks for some crazy steeps and drops. You get access to another 2000 acres of glades with measured verticals of up to 1700 feet in pristine powder.
As far as in-bounds skiing goes, novices can go pretty much anywhere in the park. There are two groomers that traverse the edges of the park and one that cuts right through the middle. A shorter run is right near the base, accessible from the single tow. For intermediates, Holiday is a great run that has a fun dogleg near the end. If you’re an advanced skier, the whole park becomes your playground. While the named trails are going to give you some awesome rides, you can ski through any of the trees, making your own path through the glades.
The lift system is tiny compared to the runs offered. One triple chair runs to the summit, one tow bar, and one magic carpet lift. Don’t worry about lift lines though. Ski Anthony is rarely crowded. You’re going to rub elbows with friendly locals, especially on days after a snow, but you’re never going to worry about the crowds like you’d see at Hood or Jackson.
The Bottom Line
Ski Anthony is a great stop on any ski-vacation weekend. Spend a day exploring the mountain and the second on a cat trip. With low lift prices and lack of crowds, this ski area is more than worth the trip. Add in the elevation and the fluffy powder that comes with it and you’ve got a resort that should be skied at least once in your life. For a memorable weekend, pack in your own food and stay at one of the yurts by the lake. You won’t forget the experience, that’s for sure.