7 Mt. Baker Pro tips - A Locals Guide

December 10, 2015.NWT3K.1 Like.0 Comments

Calling home to Washington’s most dedicated and hardcore powder hounds, Mt. Baker ski area is most commonly known for holding the world record snowfall and hosting the largest snowboard race in the world, the Legendary Banked Slalom.

Mt. Baker local and freeskier, Dustin Watson, shares with you his pro tips for getting the most bang for your buck when visiting Mt. Baker.


1. Stop at Glacier’s famous “Wake N’ Bakery”

Mt-baker-wake-n-bakery

No trip to Mt. Baker ski area is complete without a morning stop at the “Wake and Bakery” in Glacier, the last town on the 542 before arriving at the resort. Treat yourself to one of their amazing breakfast burritos and a hot cup of coffee to start your day off right.

2. Hike In & Get First Tracks On Chairs 5 or 6

Most Mt. Baker locals know that on any pow day chairs 5 and 6 are the ones to get to early. They also happen to be right in the middle of the ski resort, which leads to an all-out rat race to get there first. Half of skiers and riders coming from Chair 7, based out of the lower White Salmon Lodge, and the other half racing over from Chair 3 and the upper Heather Meadows Lodge.
But if you want to beat the pack, park at the lower White Salmon Lodge parking lot and make the quick boot-back up the cat trail that shoots right from the entrance up towards to resort. This will lead to the bottoms of Chairs 4, 5, and 6. Expect the hardcore locals to be there before you, and a Pro Patroller standing guard until the lifts officially start spinning, at which time you and your buddies will be hoopin’ and hollerin’ your way into some epic first tracks.

3. Experience The Chair 7 trees

Mt Baker powder skiing

If an early morning hike isn’t your thing, Chair 7 offers amazing gladed tree skiing right off the top of the lift. If you’ve ever seen the opening segment to Tanner Hall’s “Believe”, then you know what I’m talking about. Cut left off the top of chair 7, and you’ll find a zone which offers tight trees, many small to medium sized drops and pillow lines. Good snow coverage recommended!

4. Gobel’s is good, but….

So you’re going up Chair 5 and staring at the run directly below the chair imagining the awesome turns you’re about to take down the gut, a run called “Gobel’s”. But if you resist coming down directly below the chair and instead drop in to the right, following the ridge before cutting back right towards the chair, most skiers and snowboarders will often find an even deeper snowpack to have accumulated, as well as bigger and better pillow/cliff options. Not for the faint of heart, this zone is for advanced skiers and riders only and known by locals as “Libraries”.

5. Get Pitted In The Natural Halfpipe

Mt baker banked salmon

This run is home to the Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom, the longest running snowboard competition in the world. Remove the side slipped banks and race gates, the natural Mt. Baker halfpipe, also off Chair 5, is a riders playground. The gully offers natural hits from tabletops, hips, gaps, and vertical walls – all of which are great to play and slash around on. Also, don’t miss the natural halfpipe on a powder day!

6. The Elbow Is Where It’s At

Skiing at Mt baker

The elbow, a lift-accessed back country zone, is accessible by veering skiers right off the top of Chair 5, but better accessed from the top of Chair 8, heading in the same direction. A great, open glade zone provides skiers and boarders with great turns throughout the day. Usually good into the afternoon after fresh snow. Make sure you stay right as it begins to drop off and you’ll need to hit the cut-trail to avoid a series of un-droppable cliffs that will leave skiers stranded and in need of rescue. Always go with someone who has skied the area your first time!

7. The Shuksan Arm Is Gods Child

A back country zone that will leave even the most experienced riders trembling in their boots, the enormous face is visible from many parts of the resort, but is only accessed from the top of Chair 8. The zone, which requires approximately a 45 minute hike, offers everything from safety lines for newer backcountry riders, to spine walls and cliffs that mimic the monster peaks of Alaska. Hit this with fresh snow and blue skies and it will very likely be one of the best runs of your life.

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