Many years have passed since the internal rumblings of our mountain sides have quieted along the East Columbian Plateau. These jagged peaks greeted Oregon Trail wagon trains as formidable obstacles. Decades later, America’s railroad would offer safe passage through these up-lifts of granite. Buildings and towns sprang to life with agriculture, timber and mining. People were gaining acccess to some of the biggest country in the American west and skiers were soon to folllow!
In 1938, resort areas such as Kirkwood, California and Sun Valley, Idaho were soon discovered. Road houses were built along rail lines by summer and winter visitors. Through family heritage, the sport of early telemark skiing had been handed down through generations. America, with all of its turn-of-the-century enthusiasm, was starting to recreate year round. A few of these adventure seekers began looking for winter deep in the heart of the intermountain, far west, and Pacific Northwest regions. A few of these free spirits occupied the Baker Valley near Haines, Oregon. They trudged up the mountain side tonatural powder glades of the finest snow found anywhere. They began to frequent summer cabins high about the timber. They began aligning themselves with railroad officials, National Forest Service Representatives, booster clubs and elected government officials. Through this step by step process, the North Powder Lakes, now known as Anthony Lakes, gained notoriety with thousands of hearty souls.
Through the early 1940’s, a road had been punched through and a small cadre of lodges would comprise a rope tow area in a concert with the Anthony Lakes Playground Association, Evergreen Ski Club and a whole lot of volunteerism. After WWII , the lakes offered some excellent downhil adventure but would close again to organized skiing until 1963. In between these times, Champ and Lois Bond would operate another hill at Little Alps just down the road from the present day ski area. Around 1962, Governor Hatfield agreed to clear the road with state plows if an organizing group could get a start to the project. The group flew into action with the inclusion of telephone, power, physical plant and Poma lift installations.
The area was awarded a 20 year permit in 1965 to a corporation, with day lodge and chairlift completion in 1967. Countless hours of clearing, renovation, and luck kept a wonderful product of great skiing a reality.
The decades would roar through the high country in deep powder snow with the resort hosting races, concerts, weddings, summer operations, cabin-stays and special events. The corporation would stabilize, the Forest Service lease would be held in high esteem by some special people and their families. These wonderful heritage families along with a determined groups of locals, continue the legacy of a great powder skiing resort. Truly, their patronage continues to live on through years and years of hard work and hard play at the“Friendliest Little Ski Area in America”.
Fast forward 50 years and the mountain’s legacy continues on with the best powder, a new mountain road and a new triple chair. Wtih the addition of boarding, skating and a well groomed cross country trail, the area has gained a reputation that continues to bring patrons from far reaching resorts such as Whistler and Aspen. The big competitors remain, yet wonderful people, great terrain and some the most breath taking back country still blows away its competitors. Winter or summer, Anthony Lakes will capture your mind while still provididng high alpine adventure only found in the REAL west!