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Deep in the PNW: A Hidden Ski & Snowboard Paradise at Mt Baker

By Katherine Donnelly on

Last February, Eric Lee O’Brien and Audrey Hebert drove their skoolie (converted school bus) Tessy deep into the Pacific Northwest to Bellingham, Washington to visit Mt Baker Ski Area. It was one heck of an adventure! 


The rugged mountains, endless freeride terrain, and lively parking lot camping culture make Mt Baker a hidden paradise for skiers and snowboarders. Here are the the essentials:

Photo by Mark Erickson (@markeywa)

The Mountains

One of the coolest things about Mt Baker is how remote it feels. It’s a mom-and-pop-style resort that has two rustic lodges at its base areas and emanates cool old-school vibes. It’s an hour and a half outside of Bellingham, which is on the Salish Sea in northwestern Washington, just below the Canadian border. From Bellingham, you drive east towards Mt Baker through open fields and old growth Pacific Northwest rainforest, before climbing up into some of the most rugged, impressive mountains you’ll find in North America.

The Terrain

The terrain is unmatched. Seriously. You’ll find a combination of hidden pow stashes, perfectly spaced tree skiing, long rolling groomers, and a bunch of insane freeride terrain. There’s enough to explore here to keep you busy for weeks, but the terrain in the resort is just the beginning. There are several short hikes off of the resort that access wide open bowls, huge cliffs, and a bunch of fun natural terrain features.

Photo by Mark Erickson (@markeywa)

The Snowfall & Season

Not only is there a seemingly endless variety of phenomenal skiing, but Mt Baker also gets over 650” of dreamy PNW pow each season, making it the highest average snowfall in North America. One year it snowed over 1,100 (!!) inches. The season generally starts in December and runs into April, but the backcountry skiing is phenomenal through June. If you enjoy bottomless pow, ski-movie-type terrain, and turns most of the year, you’ll love it here. Here’s a look at Mt Baker by the numbers:

  • 10 lifts
  • 663” annual snowfall
  • 5,089’ top elevation
  • 3,500’ base elevation
  • 1,000 acres
  • Insane backcountry terrain in every direction

The Town

Bellingham is an idyllic outdoor town that’s laid back and has a great vibe. You’re right on the water, there are all kinds of amazing places to grab food and coffee, and it’s an absolute utopia  for summer adventures, including mountain biking. It’s really easy to get there by car, plane, or train, and is the perfect place to gear up for, or unwind after, your missions to Mt Baker.

Feature photo by Audrey Hebert @audreysnowclimb.

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