In rural eastern Oregon’s ranch country, the Wallowa Mountains poke out of the wheat farms and cattle ranches to collect snow as powdery and light as anything in the Wasatch. The mom-pop Anthony Lakes Ski Resort is a classic old-school hill with a few chairs climbing to the highest lift-accessed terrain in Oregon. There’s little fanfare at the base with a small lodge and the quirky Starbottle Lounge where lifties eat stale popcorn and nachos ’til closing time around 6pm. Portland and Boise ski hounds have just started discovering Anthony Lakes, but its core clientele comes from the surrounding ranch towns of Baker City and LaGrande.
When the rural Baker County School District is reduced to four-day weeks, the Ski for the Health of It (SHI) program provides students with lift passes, rentals and lessons to ski for eight Fridays. The program fills a critical child care and activity void while introducing a new population to the joys of skiing.