Photos by Patrick Kennedy
The delicious scent of freshly fried bacon wafted up the slopes of Mt. Baker Ski Area on a rainy day in mid December. A combination of factors – tasty smelling food and dismal skiing – sent many curious and hungry folks over to the Mt. Baker Beacon Rally in the Heather Meadows base area, where they escaped the rain under vendor tents and learned how to rescue anyone buried in an avalanche.
Carne, a Bellingham craft butchery, supplied participants with free bacon and hot chocolate while knowledgeable pro patrollers and guides gave free lessons in avalanche rescue. Vendors such as REI and BCA, as well as local guide services such as AAI and Mt. Baker Mountain Guides, gave away more than $3000 worth of prizes in a festive raffle at the end of the day. Participants earned tickets for the lessons they took, and those who put their skills to the test in the rally itself (teams faced off to be the first to uncover buried avalanche transceivers) won double tickets. In other words, avalanche awareness and proficiency were awarded with a higher chance of winning awesome prizes, including brand new skis and splitboards.
Organizer Patrick Kennedy had this to say about the event:
“The 5th Annual BBR went down as the best smelling Beacon Rally in the world. Pretty sure about that. It’s also the best organized according to Steve Christie, director of sales at BCA. I’d agree with him this year. Steve has maintained that opinion for the past few Rallys, but this year the event was executed at its finest so far. Mt Baker did an outstanding job supporting and organizing the Rally, especially considering the low snowpack and inch of rain we received that day. The event staff kept the mood positive and it seemed to spread throughout the event. I suppose the addition of free hot beverages and fried Bacon from the local craft butcher Carne in Bellingham didn’t hurt the mood; you could smell the bacon from Chair 1. Even if you didn’t hear about the event you may have smelled it.”
Expect bacon to be a theme at the annual event: it brought in about 190 attendees. Say “Baker Beacon Bacon Rally” ten times fast!