Boots? Check. Jacket? Yup. Worries? Leave those at the door. We’re headed to Mt. Baker.
During times of challenging uncertainty, it’s hard to imagine a better escape than the mountains. Skiers and snowboarders’ collective experience has consistently proven that the joys of sliding snow can inverse even the surliest of frowns. It’s an all-consuming act which leaves little attention to spare, particularly on whatever may be bogging you down back home. Most who spend their free time at the end of Washington State’s Highway 542 can attest to this, especially now. It’s no secret that this past year-and-a-half brought with it unprecedented hardships. Although in a world that in many ways feels flipped, Mt. Baker Ski Area stayed the course throughout the entire 2020-21 season. Snow fell in abundance and from first chair till last on each of the 162 days the resort was open, we found respite above 3,500 feet.
Besides for the COVID-19 protocols implemented at the ski area, this season came together in a semblance of normalcy. If you’re familiar with Mt. Baker, you already know that normal means incredible. Whether you were racing for first tracks down Gabls during any one of countless storms, bashing through the late season slalom on Honkers, just learning to ride or successfully departing all eight lifts for the first time this season, Mt. Baker served as a place to immerse yourself in the moment. A place to push yourself, grow and gain perspective. A place to unwind, enjoy and, in turn, appreciate—perhaps even more so than before.
We owe it to the workers who made it all possible, from the Pro Patrol to the lifties, ticket sellers, administration, and every employee in between who went the extra mile necessary for the resort to operate safely amid a global pandemic. We owe it to Mother Nature, who brought with her over 700 inches of snowfall this season. From bottomless mornings inbounds to afternoon hikes on The Arm under clear blue skies, jump sessions in the surrounding backcountry, tours up nearby Table Mountain and beyond, we owe it to such a plentiful bounty of powder.
The following is just snapshot of our snowy oasis, a small taste of our cherished wintry haven in the North Cascades. It serves as a reminder of all the fun we had there this season. More importantly, it serves as reminder of how privileged we are to experience skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Baker Ski Area. A reminder to never take it for granted. Maybe it even serves as a prompt for you to share the joys we experience at Mt. Baker with someone who hasn’t been so lucky yet—someone who’d also benefit from the respite we find at the end of Highway 542. Goodness knows everyone could use a day at the mountain, a day in which life’s stresses are left down at sea level.