|One week at Baker equals a season anywhere elseStory and photo by Molly BakerNorway. Chile. British Columbia. Argentina. Utah. Colorado. Montana. Wyoming. California. Idaho. These are just some of the ski destinations that filled my schedule last season. My ski area Rolodex boasts some of the best. Heli-touring lodges deep in the Canadian wilderness, mountainous fjords far above the Arctic Circle, and Patagonian skies opening with snowfall to cover the rocky and rugged Andes – these are the memories I’ve filed away. They will always be there. Until I get a day of skiing at Mt. Baker in this season. Then these places, the skiing, the mountains, they evaporate. And only one place exists in my fanatical ski-motivated mind – Mt. Baker.
Every fall, amidst trip planning, when the weeks away from home begin to concretely add up,
Take snowfall. Mt. Baker holds the world record for snowfall in one year. During the ’98-’99 winter a total of 1,140 inches fell on the perfect, steep slopes of the ski area. That’s 95 feet.
And even if the snow comes in average quantities (which is above average for most other ski locations in the world), the people satisfy my need for community and they do this with an unparalleled quirkiness tricky to find, at least in this concentration. Tree house dwelling ski bums, longtime locals, and the influx of college students from Western Washington University create a hodge-podge of personalities with one simple goal: to enjoy the fruitful offerings of Koma Kulshan and the surrounding mountains. A 50-year-old lawyer’s passion is the same as that of a 23-year-old college graduate’s. They are skiers and snowboarders that subscribe to the mountain and its powers to find sanity, excitement or a reason to tolerate all the rain in Bellingham. They’re all a part of the Mt. Baker tribe.
A relatively predictable snowpack, potential glances of Mt. Shuksan and its hanging glacier in between storms, the annual Banked Slalom, après in the Tap Room followed by dinner at Milano’s, unexplored mountains just beyond your gaping eyes – the list of Mt. Baker’s attributes is endless.
All I need is one week there this year because one week at Mt. Baker is equal to an entire season somewhere else. X