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Feet and hooves treaded the steep peaks along the Columbian Plateau long before Anthony Lakes ever brought skis to the natural powder. Oregon Trail wagon trains and the railroad system braved the mountains' jagged spires, giving rise to buildings, towns, and, eventually, a community of winter enthusiasts. Families of Telemark skiers gradually made headway into the area and attracted fellow adventurers to what was then the North Powder Lakes. During the Great Depression, the Oregon Civilian Conservation Corps built the historical Nordic Center Lodge, which is now surrounded by 29 kilometers of groomed lanes and 11 kilometers of single-track and snowshoe trails. The construction of a rough road, a day lodge, and chairlift fueled the resort's snow-based fire in the postwar boom, and modern-day additions such as a new mountain road and triple chair attract athletes from far and wide. As detailed in a feature on OutdoorsNW.com, the ski area became county property in 2010 so that it could remain in the hands of the locals whose families helped develop it.
Today, skiers might opt for a quick lesson before hitting the slopes or they can refuel with a warm cinnamon roll or bowl of housemade chili in the lodge. Near the Nordic-area campground, overnight guests can rest their bones inside a 20-foot yurt that sleeps up to eight people at a time or a 16-foot yurt that sleeps up to five?each with prime views of Gunsight Peak. Here, campers pile split firewood into a wood stove and recall the days when pioneers had to slow-roast their TV dinners over an open flame.