It is at this time of year —Western students eagerly dust off their snow gear and zip up their jackets in anticipation for the coming winter. Legendary Mount Baker often dominates the thoughts of these students. The mountain has hooked many locals, and been the reason some students take winter quarter off to become full blown ski bums.
A 90 minute drive northeast of Bellingham, Mount Baker ski area holds the world record snowfall total of 1,140 inches.
Junior Clay Williams came to Western from Sudbury, Massachusetts and said he sees familiar Viking faces every time he is at Baker.
“Whether you’re seeing someone clean off the chairlift, or your friend is flipping burgers in the kitchen, they are all students and Western is a big part of Mount Baker,” Williams said.
Junior Jack Francis grew up skiing in Utah at the well- known Park City Mountain Resort but said he skied some of the deepest powder of his life at Mount Baker.
“No one knows about Baker, it is definitely a diamond in the rough.”
“Baker’s terrain is drastically different from any other resort I have ever been to,” Francis said. “Baker is super rolling, everything is blind, it gets so much snow that anything that is super steep flattens out, and there is pillows galore.”
Season passes are $790 for adults and $690 with the student discount. Day passes are $59 for adults and $40 if you’re lucky enough to look under the age of 15.Williams said he is already trying to work around his winter quarter class schedule so he can spend a few more days per week on the mountain.
“No one knows about Baker, it is definitely a diamond in the rough,” Francis said.
Last season the ski area received a much improved 622 inches of snowfall, compared to the 287 inches received two seasons ago. The 2014-15 season was one of the worst seasons on record. This year, expectations are high with La Niña around the corner and is supposed bring a strong year of snow for the Pacific Northwest, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The resort is estimated to open sometime around Thanksgiving, but an exact date has not been set, according to the resort’s website.