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Crystal and Baker Trip: Im going without knowing (anything)

post #1 of 3
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A buddy from college and myself are headed to Crystal and Baker the day after christmas. Were leaving Tahoe on the 26th, driving all day/night and skiing 4 days between Crystal and Baker. 

What I know: Its going to be f*#@ing epic. Its going to snow.

What I dont know: 
Which mountain we should be at through the course of the storm(s). Crystal has a higher base, but Baker gets more snow? How do Baker and Crystal compare terrain wise?

Whats the cheapest way to do it (college students)? Im looking at some ski/stay packages, as well as a bed and breakfast near Baker. Do either of the resorts have anything like a motel 6 within about an hours drive?
(Is it illegal to sleep in your car?)

Are there any other mountains within about 3-4 hours worth driving to?

And most importantly, whose down to shred? Shoot me a PM if your going to be riding either of those places in the next few days and want to hook up. Ill respond to change, wearing purple jacket skiing with one other skier and a snowboarder. 
Way to excited for the best christmas present ive ever given myself. See everyone out there.


post #2 of 3

These links will be your friend






You probably want to think about Crystal, Alpy, Stevens and Baker. You can find many religious discussions about each area on all the usual forums.  The bottom line is that while none delivers runs of epic vert, they all have great terrain and if there is snow, the skiing at each be great. 


They might all go off. Or one might be way better than the next. Microclimate + storm track is everything.  If a convergence zone hits the right way, it can deposit a foot or two while 15 miles away gets inches. Elevation also does not tell the whole story. Baker is often wet-ish, but it sort of makes its own weather. Stevens and sometimes Alpy can benefit from the "pass effect" (low pressure sucking cold continental air westward through the pass) & can have a snow level a decent number of hundreds of feet lower than the surrounding mountains. Bottom line: flexibility matters...


The lodging situation is generally weak - hence the relative anonymity of the skiing here. No 500 or thousand unit condo complexes to house anyone you'd market to out of the area... And xmas week...I have to imagine the pickings near the ski areas are slim. But it can't hurt to check. Again, there are old threads on this. My bias would be to spend at least a couple days near Seattle & be able to hit any of a few areas depending on the late evening forecast or the early morning conditions reports.


Not sure what my schedule looks like. But I'm a slow old guy anyway. Probably post up when you know where & when you'll be & see what is happening.




post #3 of 3

To do Baker cheap stay at a cheap motel in Bellingham.  There is little to no lodging near the ski area.  There are cheap but sketchy motels at the Samish Way exit off of I-5, or better ones to the north near the airport on the west side of I-5 off the Bakerview exit.  There is no lodging off of the Sunset Drive/ Mt. Baker Highway exit, which is where you will go to get to the ski area.  Driving time will be about 1:15.  You can sleep in the parking lot at Baker, though there are no services between 3:30 pm and 8:00 am, and it will be dark almost the whole time.


Spindrift has a good point in that the skiing can be fabulous at any of the four areas, Crystal Mountain, Alpental, Stevens Pass, or Mt. Baker.  They all have great expert terrain.  The weather that is coming up in the next week looks good, but being flexible about where you choose to ski would be optimal.  A place in Bellevue, east of Seattle, would give you maximum flexibility.


Have a great time.  I would offer to host you at Baker, but I have to work next week so that I can have January and February off to ski.


P.S.  Check out the links to the resort pages for Baker and Stevens in my signature line.  Make sure you scroll down to the unofficial guides underneath the reviews.



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