“Happy Opening Day!”
This sentiment rang out dozens of times at Mt. Baker Ski Area last Wednesday. Whether you heard it from friends before dropping in or by strangers in the lift line, the joyous phrase was oft-repeated, and usually accompanied by a high five.
It’s easy to affix holiday status to Mt. Baker’s opening day, especially when it means this much to its powder-loving cohorts. Whether by favorable circumstance, sick-day or straight up playing hooky, hundreds made it out for the season kickoff. Add in countless reunion hugs across the mountain, party laps, powder slashes in three feet of fresh, backflips galore, après beers and hot chocolates, now we’ve got ourselves a proper day of observance.
As the lift line quickly grew in anticipation of Chair 1’s first spin of the 2018-19 winter season, our celebratory sentiments were coupled with a brief break in the weather, supplying a breathtaking view of Mt. Shuksan and a momentary lapse in the storm that brought over 40 inches of snow and 50-plus mph winds in the days prior. But the break didn’t last long. First-run-faceshots greeted those who arrived early, while near-whiteout conditions by late morning assured free refills for anyone who stayed past the 12 p.m. “should-probably-get-back-to-work” exodus. A healthy chunk of the Heather Meadows side of the mountain was open from the start, and with ski patrol working relentlessly more terrain opened throughout the day, including Chicken Ridge and Pan Face.
It’s safe to say this year’s opening day at Mt. Baker was all-time; a celebration of soaked outerwear and deep December turns, a sacrament to the arrival of another winter—in short, a holiday of our own.