So the adventure has begun, the many hours spent planning, re planning, changing, drooling, fretting and trying to make sense of it all, has finally started.
Mt Baker was the first stop, the first adventure buddy, as I will call them, was Adam. I picked Adam up nice and early, heading off on our 288KM round trip. Now, when planning this trip I forgot I would be passing timezones (I am looking at you Banff, Lake Louise, etc), but I didn’t forget I would be passing an international border, so when I left I knew I packed my passport…. this didnt stop the frantic search for it, even though it was in the top of my bag.
Border patrol were ace and let us through to the USA to ski for the day.
A few things I noticed while driving… EVERYTHING seemed bigger, yes I live in Vancouver, yes the trees are damn big, but the trees the other side of the line seemed twice as big, the gas stations had bigger candy bars, the mountains seemed a bit bigger, BUT!! the line up for the parking lot was non existent! 1-0 to us.
Standing in the parking lot, looking up on Mt Baker, I could feel a strange, warm wind blowing across the lot, which isnt what I expected, but that was only to fade into a memory as I looked straight at the glorious view of Baker, she just stood there in all her glory, shining in the hint of sun.
Mt Baker Facts (from Wikipedia)
|Location||Glacier, Washington, U.S.|
|Nearest city||Bellingham: 52 miles (84 km) west, 75 min drive|
|Vertical||1,589 ft (484 m)|
|Top elevation||5,089 ft (1,551 m)|
|Base elevation||3,500 ft (1,067 m)
White Salmon Base Area
4,300 ft (1,310 m)
Heather Meadows Base Area
|Skiable area||1,000 acres (4.0 km2)|
– 24% easiest
– 45% more difficult
– 31% most difficult
|Lift system||8 chairs, 2 rope tows|
|Snowfall||641 in (53.4 ft; 16.3 m)|
Skiing in Baker is fun and the landscape is stunning. Baker is situated in a national forest so it isn’t likely to turn into a mega resort anytime soon, and the terrain both inbounds and outbounds, (which can be accessed from the resort if you follow the backcountry safety Policy) is world class.
One thing that did leave me feeling warm and fuzzy inside, was the way everyone was so chilled and laid back, there were no lift lines, no charging fast down the hill, no scrums for food. It was very friendly and relaxed, huge kudos to the locals that have created that culture.
Overall verdict…. If the snow Gods produce, make the drive! The powder here has the potential to still be spoken about when your grandkids have kids!