Mount Baker Skiing & Snowboarding GUIDE
Nestled in the North Cascade mountain range, Mount Baker Ski and snowboard area receives some of the most snow of any location on the planet. This snowfall, 658” annually, combined with steep and challenging terrain has entrenched Mt. Baker on the bucket list of skiers and snowboarders around the world. Mount Baker ski and snowboard resort was also one of the first ski areas in the country to allow snowboarding, establishing itself deeply into snowboard culture and history. While there are certainly the amenities of more developed ski areas, you won’t find giant base lodges and hotels; Mt. Baker is simply focussed on having some of the best powder skiing and snowboarding in the world.
The Mount Baker ski and snowboard area is not actually located on Mount Baker itself, rather the eight quad chairlifts sit between the impressive Mt. Shuksan and the peak of Mt. Baker. On clear days skiers and snowboarders can catch glimpses of these massive peaks, which are some of the tallest in the Cascades. Mount Baker has two base areas - the White Salmon base area, which is open daily, services the Shuksan side, skiers right. The Heather Meadows base area, which operates only on weekends and holidays, services skiing and snowboarding on the Panorama Dome side, skiers left. A run called The Canyon splits the two. This natural halfpipe has all sorts of fun side-jumps and jibs.
Mount Baker’s skiing and snowboarding is definitely geared towards advanced riders with lots of steep chutes and natural terrain features. There is, however, some fairly good beginner terrain, and some options for intermediate skiers as well. When the big snow storms come through, the ski area can get crowded, so it helps to show up early and to have a plan. If you’re seeking out those cliffs, chutes and pillow lines that the area is known for, Chairs 5 and 6 are a good place to start. It’s this huge natural, inbounds terrain that has been drawing extreme skiers and snowboarders to Mt. Baker for decades. Very steep chutes and features shaped by the wind pair to create a playground for these skiers and boarders alike.
Chair 8 accesses Mount Baker ski area’s intermediate terrain. The lift and its terrain make up the Shuksan side boundary of the Mount Baker ski and snowboard area. Take a cruise down the Oh Zone and Daytona for some sweet warm up laps, or stay on these intermediate runs all day if you fancy. Skiing and snowboarding in and out of the trees here will not only give you some visibility on flat-light days, but help you score some fresh powder as well.
Mt. Baker is really known for its backcountry access, with a ton of accessible skiing and snowboarding located just outside the ski area boundaries. These backcountry areas are not controlled by ski patrol and there are extreme avalanche dangers present. Check the avalanche forecast and be prepared with the proper knowledge and backcountry gear
. If you don’t have that knowledge or gear, there are local guide services like the Mount Baker Mountain Guides
that can help you explore the backcountry terrain safely.
Mountain Stats & Trail Map
| Average Annual Snowfall
|| Vertical Drop
| Top Elevation
|| Total Skiable Acres
| Base Elevation
|| Quad Chairlifts
Travel Information & Directions
Located in the North Cascade Mountains, Mt. baker ski and snowboard area is about a three hour drive from Seattle, 1.5 hours from Bellingham, and two hours from Vancouver. There is only one way in, and one way out of Mt. Baker, Highway 542, the Mount Baker Highway. This highway can get very snowy and slippery, so make sure to stay updated on the road conditions and prepare accordingly.
WSDOT Mount Baker Highway
There are no accommodations at the Mount Baker ski and snowboard area itself, unless you bring your RV with you. There are RV spaces in the parking lots for both the Heather Meadows and White Salmon base areas. For those looking to stay closer to the ski area than Bellingham, there are several small lodges and bed and breakfasts located near the town of Glacier.
Mount Baker Lodging Overview
Local Food Picks
Some of the restaurants near Mount Baker have become almost as famous as the ski area itself. One of these can’t miss spots is the Wake N’ Bakery in the small town of Glacier, right off the highway. Stop by for a breakfast burrito and some coffee on your way up, or try out the various baked goods, they are all super tasty. Also located in Glacier is Graham’s, which is a good spot to grab a burger and a beer after a long day shredding powder. Milano’s has some tasty italian food that you’ll be surprised to find in cute little Glacier. If you can hold your hunger, Bellingham has some of Washington’s best restaurants and local breweries worth checking out.
Mount Baker Dining:
The Wake N' Bakery
Where to Find Lift tickets to Mount Baker?
The lack of giant lodges and over-developed infrastructure not only gives Mount Baker ski area its small, community character, but also means that it has some cheap lift tickets, too. Bring cash if you want to save yourself from credit card processing fees. Discount Mount Baker lift tickets are available to youth, teens, and seniors. Children six years old and younger ski for
Mount Baker Lift Tickets
Mount Baker Weather Information
Did we mention it snows a lot? An average of 659” of snowfall each year on Mount Baker, that is almost 55’ of snow. During the record-breaking 1998-1999 winter a mind-blowing 95’ of snow fell. Mt. Baker weather is obviously snowy, but it can also get a bit wet. Proximity to the coast and elevation means it does rain from time to time, so check out the Mount Baker ski report, and be prepared with the correct waterproof ski and snowboard gear
. It doesn’t happen often during the winter, but when the sun comes out in the spring, the skiing and snowboarding are all-time.
Mount Baker Weather Resources
Mount Baker Ski Report
Mount Baker Snow Forecast
There is a reason why so many ski and snowboard movies have been filmed at Mount Baker ski area over the years; the extreme terrain and huge snowfall make for a combo that can’t be found anywhere else. The community-oriented feel and deep powder will have you not wanting to leave. It may be a bit farther from Seattle than some of Washington’s ski and snowboard areas, but it’s a can’t miss for visiting skiers and snowboarders.
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