I have yet to have a bad day here

jhkc
Posted · 208 Views · 2 Comments

Pros: the snow, the views and the people

Cons: no place to stay within 30 minutes

I have a colleague who raved about Baker and offered to take me there. I held out for years before finally going with him in 2013. We had an epic day of untouched powder till noon and I was hooked. I have only managed to go up four more times since then, twice in the past month. Each time has been memorable. 

 

The views are spectacular.  Mt Shucksan towers over the area around Chair 8. Baker is visible on the area at the top of Chair 1. Lots of great vistas. On chair 8 you can see a long line of people hiking out of bounds and skiing down the ridges; makes a long chair ride feel much shorter and more entertaining.

 

The snow... there's lots of it. And the top of the hill is cold enough to keep it drier than what I normally experience on the coastal mountains of British Columbia. Beware that there are times where you'll be faced with white out conditions or fog. But the trade off is the huge amounts of wonderful snow. My latest visit was end of February 2017. The snow looked tracked out - it hadn't snowed in two days... but there was still lots of it and it was soft, fluffy and fun. I was able to find a few small stashes of untouched powder in trees and really enjoyed myself.

 

Posaune's Unofficial Guide on this website is incredibly accurate - the definitive guide to Mt Baker. It's a must read before you go, especially if you've never been before. If you're an intermediate skier I'll add a couple of my notes below as his guide highlights the black runs:

 

Chair 8 is where you want to be for blues. It's wide open, the runs tend to merge into each other meaning that it's really easy to invent your own lines and you'll be hard pressed to do the exact same area the same way twice unless you really know where you're going. The views here are stunning so make sure you take breaks to enjoy the view. If you're feeling adventurous you can ride the piles of powder in between Easy Money and White Salmon. Lower on the hill there's a flatter but equally powder filled area between some widely spaced trees around the top of Easy Money. 

 

Off of Chair 4 My daughter enjoyed the trees around Sneaky Pete run. And if you veer off to skiers right before the fences there's an unmarked run called "The Death Star" that all the kids love. It's like a trench between the rocks and trees with high banked areas. Lots of fun for me and my daughter. 

 

If you're feeling confident and brave, the North Face is probably the easiest black run. It has nice powder towards the end of it and leads you to the top of chair 3 and 4 (also very nicely explained by Posaune in his guide.)  On weekdays to get to Austin, Pan Face area you'll have to hike from the top of Chair 5. It's not that far and it's definitely worth it. You get an awesome view of the Hemispheres and Mt Baker.  It is not busy and I think intermediate skiers should be able to survive Austin and Blueberry Cat Track (which on older maps was rated a Blue run). I survived it and the challenge spurred me on to improve my technique so that I'd enjoy it more versus just hanging on.

 

The only downside is there's no accommodations close by. The nearest town is about 30 minutes away (Glacier, WA) and it's a very small town. And yet that is probably one of the things that keeps that small local hill feeling here. The people are super nice and friendly. The lodges are nice (especially the Raven Hut) but they're not the monstrosities you see at the mega resorts. It's all about the snow, the views and having fun. 

2 Comments:

The more I ski Whistler the more I like Baker
Significant meth driven crime issues in the valley. Zero level of respons from county government.