Yep, there’s something wrong with this title. Mt Baker gets the most snow of any commercial ski hill on earth. Mission Ridge gets the least snow of any major hill in Washington State as its on the ‘dry’ side of the Cascades. You go to Baker for big pow, Mission for dry-ish snow, trees and cruising.
But Baker on Saturday was possibly the most beautiful ski day you cold ever imagine. The ski area is nestled between the jagged, glacier filled Mt Shuksan and the imposing volcanic dome of Mt Baker. Its an incredibly spectacular setting, but not one I’d ever really expected to see. Baker doesn’t have much of a reputation for sunny ski days.
Every chair ride and every run unfolded mesmerizing views of the seemingly endless peaks of the North Cascades. Not a cloud in the sky, no lift lines, good soup for lunch. What more can you ask for?
I guess a foot of pow would’ve been nice too. Baker has some stellar terrain, with steeps and bumps everywhere, and hike-able terrain littered with cliff bands for the unwary and/or adventurous. But with no snow for a week, it was pretty firm, but far from nasty. We followed the sun, exploiting its magic as it softened the bumps and off-trail. With fresh snow it would be amazing here, but this is a day that I’ll never forget.
By the time we got to Mission Ridge Sunday morning, 4 inches of snow were lying in the car park. Up high and in the trees, a good 6 inches were available for maybe the 500 people on the hill to carve up. It was amazingly quiet for a snowy Sunday, but we weren’t complaining. Not with runs like this …
Saturday 6300m, Sunday 8200m
Season totals so far: 32 days, 16 powder days, 242,700m vertical