Mt Baker Opening Day 2013: Posi-Vibes All Around

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Today, opening day at Mt Baker, was a day of firsts. It was Baker’s first day for the 2013-14 season, and also my first time riding the mythical beast. My expectations for fog and deep heavy snow were met with blue skies and a light coating of crusty pow on groomers. A local told me as we watched the trails from the lift that everything below us will be buried by Christmas.

All the lifts were running. Lines were non-existent even though a considerable crowd turned out. Most open areas in-bounds were torn to shreds by midday. The snow was soft just off the groomed path, and the rollers and cliffs quickly shaped up for long runs full of side hits. Lapping chair 8 remained fun even after the sun dropped down the backside of The Beast and temperatures dropped below 30.

Eager powder seekers unstrapped and lugged their backpacks up above chair 8 to get some softer turns and exercise, but most of the terrain out of bounds looked like it needed a bit more snow. I should mention, however, that I’m from the East Coast where the average snowfall per season is roughly the same as Baker on this opening day. I’ve never taken an avalanche safety course. I don’t have a transceiver. I’m unqualified to comment on backcountry conditions and safety. But judging by the small number of tracks out of bounds, it seems okay to say that we could use another storm to fill things in a little.

I fell asleep last night picturing the stereotypical Baker pow day. When I hit the road in the morning I was mentally prepared to swim through foggy waist-deep oceans, blasting cliffs and tomahawking down pretty much everything.

Today was a reality check. Winter starts here. You get to ride lots of powder soon, young grasshopper. For now you must go fast, blast airs, get lost, and give lots of high fives.

This is what the first day is all about. It’s when we get our feet back. Our brains shift into winter mode. We smile a lot. We walk the fine line between taking it easy and going totally wild. I can speak for myself, and the folks I lapped with today. We got wild, and everyone had a great time. Posi-vibes all around.

Shout out to all the people who got banged up on opening day! There was a large group of injured-looking people nursing beers on the patio. Feel better soon, everyone. There are many days to come.

On behalf of everyone at frequency TSJ, a huge thank you to The Howats, the Mt Baker crew, patrollers, road crew, lifties, cafeteria staff, and the Mt Baker community for a stellar start to the 2013-2014 season.

Photos: Jessica Galbraith.


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