Last February, Eric Lee O’Brien and Audrey Hebert drove their skoolie (converted school bus) Tessy deep into the Pacific Northwest to Bellingham, Washington to visit Mt Baker Ski Area. The rugged mountains, endless freeride terrain, and lively parking lot camping culture make Mt Baker a hidden paradise for skiers and snowboarders. Here are the the essentials:
One of the coolest things about Mt Baker is how remote it feels. It’s a mom-and-pop-style resort that has two rustic lodges at its base areas and emanates cool old-school vibes. It’s an hour and a half outside of Bellingham, which is on the Salish Sea in northwestern Washington, just below the Canadian border. From Bellingham, you drive east towards Mt Baker through open fields and old growth Pacific Northwest rainforest, before climbing up into some of the most rugged, impressive mountains you’ll find in North America.
The terrain is unmatched. Seriously. You’ll find a combination of hidden pow stashes, perfectly spaced tree skiing, long rolling groomers, and a bunch of insane freeride terrain. There’s enough to explore here to keep you busy for weeks, but the terrain in the resort is just the beginning. There are several short hikes off of the resort that access wide open bowls, huge cliffs, and a bunch of fun natural terrain features.
The Snowfall + Season
Not only is there a seemingly endless variety of phenomenal skiing, but Mt Baker also gets over 650” of dreamy PNW pow each season, making it the highest average snowfall in North America. One year it snowed over 1,100 (!!) inches. The season generally starts in December and runs into April, but the backcountry skiing is phenomenal through June. If you enjoy bottomless pow, ski-movie-type terrain, and turns most of the year, you’ll love it here. Here’s a look at Mt Baker by the numbers:
Here’s a look at BAKER by the numbers: 10 Lifts, 663" annual snowfall, 5089ft Top elevation, 3500ft Bottom Elevation, 1000 acres.
Bellingham is an idyllic outdoor town that’s laid back and has a great vibe. You’re right on the water, there are all kinds of amazing places to grab food and coffee, and it’s an absolute utopia for summer adventures, including mountain biking. It’s really easy to get there by car, plane, or train, and is the perfect place to gear up for, or unwind after, your missions to Mt Baker.
The Skis we Recommend for the Trip