Mt. Baker Ski Area
- Ski Areas: Mt. Baker Ski Area
- Population: Bellingham 80,885
- Road and Weather Conditions: (360) 676-2100; (800) 695-ROAD
- Snow Report: (206) 634-0200 (Seattle), (604) 688-1595 (Vancouver, B.C.)
- Annual Snowfall: 750″
- Ski Season: October-May
- Chamber of Commerce: (360) 734-1330; www.bellingham.com
- Visitors Bureau: (360) 671-3990
- Average Cost of 1-bedroom Apartment: $400
- Mt. Baker Lift Ticket Prices (Check Website Beginning in the Fall)
- Local Newspaper: Bellingham Herald, (360) 676-2600; www.bellinghamherald.com
Located in the extreme northwest corner of the United States and just fifteen miles from the Canadian border lies majestic Mt. Baker. The Mt. Baker Ski Area is not actually on the 10,778-foot volcano of the same name, but sits on an arm of its 9,720-foot next-door neighbor, Mt. Shuksan. Ten miles to the west is tiny Glacier, Washington, which serves as the local ski town with rental shops, coffee shops, and lodges. The closest city and home of many Mt. Baker employees is Bellingham, a college town forty-five minutes to the west. Most of Mt. Baker’s weekend skiers come from Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, both about two-and-a-half hours away.
Forget about all those other ski resorts who brag about their huge annual snowfalls. Nothing in North America even compares to Mt. Baker’s astounding 750 inches of annual snowfall. Because of the extreme snowfall, large natural half-pipe, and ideal terrain, Mt. Baker has become a mecca for snowboarders.
World champion boarders practice regularly at Mt. Baker and live in nearby Glacier. The half-pipe is the site of the annual Mt. Baker Legendary Half-pipe Banked Slalom Snowboard Competition in late January that attracts shredders from all over the world.
Mt. Baker maintains a Nordic trail loop for cross-country enthusiasts which offers spectacular views of Mt. Baker and the national forest. If you’re tired of the snow, Bellingham, Seattle, and Vancouver offer mild, snowless winters only a short drive away.
Hiking and mountain biking are popular summertime activities. Nearby North Cascades National Park offers great hiking, camping, fishing, and sightseeing, and Bellingham has a number of festivals and attractions. Mount Shuksan is the most photographed mountain in the world and attracts many summertime visitors.
Glacier is a small town but still has a few popular taverns and eateries. Popular with the skiing and hiking crowd is Milano’s Market and Deli on the Mt. Baker Highway. At Milano’s you can stop at the deli for a quick sandwich or lunch before a hike, or sit down in the Italian restaurant for a longer meal and drinks. One of the most popular spots in the area for both eating and drinking is the Deming Tavern in the logging town of Deming on the Mt. Baker Highway. The tavern serves cheap beer and great steaks. Also near Deming is Carol’s Coffee Cup, a popular spot for skiers to fill up on burgers, cinnamon rolls, or homemade pies.
Bellingham, forty-five minutes from Mt. Baker, has a small airport, but most out-of-towners would be more likely to fly into Seattle, ninety miles to the south. Sea-Tac International Airport is served by just about every airline, with easy connections from throughout the country. Bellingham is an easy one-and-a-half hour drive from Seattle on Interstate 5, then the resort is about thirty scenic miles up the Mt. Baker Highway.
There are no employee buses or shuttles, but Mt. Baker Shuttle and Limo Service will take you to the resort for a fee; call (360) 599-1180 or (800) 845-1180. Hitchhiking is your cheapest bet and is very popular near Glacier and Deming.
Most serious skiers live in nearby Glacier, but a lot of Mt. Baker employees live in Bellingham, which offers many more housing opportunities at better rates.
The main employer in the area is Mt. Baker Ski Area, and the closest town, Glacier, has a few jobs in local hotels, restaurants, and bars. Glacier is so small that jobs can be tough to find, so Bellingham might be a better option.