Monday, December 25th, 2017
Cross Country Skiing near Mount Baker
Todd Elsworth

There are many reasons to go to the mountain (aka Mount Baker) in the winter months: snowboard, downhill ski, sled, special events (like the Annual Legendary Banked Slalom in February), snowshoe or cross-country ski. We combined sledding and cross-country skiing on a recent outing; this is a story of reconnecting with our Nordic heritage and future exploration into the snow-covered wilderness near Mount Baker.

As we passed through Glacier and began the ascent up the Mount Baker Highway we started to enter the SNOW ZONE. Our conversation led us to talk about our personal ski histories and what we missed about the past- aka “The Good ‘ol Days.”

My friend is an Idaho native who grew up with skis strapped to his feet exploring the rolling hills and mountains around his town. Jason was raised on cross-country skis and was able to ski a couple times a week through a program in his small town of Pocatello. For me, it wasn’t until I graduated from college and moved to Sun Valley, Idaho that I found myself touring on the classic cross-country ski equipment. This is when I had my own first-hand experience confirming that skiing is not solely the downhill sport to which most people relate.


The Norsemen started sliding around on skis as a means of utility, transportation and for hunting. This activity naturally evolved to be a fun form of exercise and competitive sport experienced around the globe. These Vikings simply strapped planks of wood to their feet as the way to get from point A to point B- and eventually C and subsequently the rest of the alphabet. These were the founding fathers of skiing.

They also had a god on their side “… the Scandinavian god “Ullr” is considered the Guardian Patron Saint of Skiers. An Ullr medallion depicting the Scandinavian god Ullr on skis holding a bow and arrow is widely worn as a talisman by skiers in Europe and elsewhere.”- source: Wikipedia/ULLR

Jason then asked me the tough question, “Where do you go X-C skiing around here?”

“I think you park over there and there’s a bunch of trails that head up that way,” I replied, as we drove by the Salmon Ridge Sno-Park past Hannegan Pass Road- just 13 miles past Glacier.

When I got home, my assumption was confirmed- as I found more detailed information from Nooksack Nordic Ski Club about the trails listed below.

Nordic Ski Trails near Mount Baker

Trail Length Difficulty
Base area (Mom’s, Crossover & Waterfront Loop) 1 1.6 km (1.0 mi) Easy
Lower Anderson Cr. Rd. to 1st switchback 2.8 km (1.7mi) Easy
Lower Hannegan Rd. 2.0 km (1.2 mi) Easy
Razorhone 4.8 km (3.0 mi) Easy
Silver Fir Campground (Ungroomed) 1.1 km (0.7 mi) Easy
Upper Anderson Rd. 3.9 km (2.3 mi) Medium
Upper Hannegan Rd. 1.6 km (1.0 mi) Medium
West side of Cougar Loop (Blueberry Bounce to bridge 1.6 km (1.0 mi) Medium
White Salmon Rd. 3.2 km (2.0 mi) Medium
East Cougar Loop (aka Bear Hill) 1.3 km (0.8 mi) Difficult


I’ll also leave you with this:


Come snow! Come snow!
Fall fast, fall slow
Be it powder or crud,
Let the inches be shown

Come snow! Come snow!
Blessed Ullr bestow
Make white our peaks
Make full our bowls

Come snow! Come snow!
From here to fro
Let the ski god be praised
Let his gifts be shown

To learn more about snow sports in the Bellingham region, see our Snowsports page.
For an updated list of local cycling events and equipment see

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About the Author:

As the co-Executive Director of Recreation Northwest and the founder of the Bellingham Traverse, Todd promotes outdoor recreation and brings people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. He enjoys biking, hiking, paddling, skiing and will try anything twice. Get connected at


  1. […] and signed up for a beginner clinic to get me back on the right track. You may like to read the background story that sowed the seeds for me to get back into this active winter sport and explore our local trails. […]

    Pingback by Learning how to Cross Country Ski at Salmon Ridge (Mt. Baker) | Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism — February 26, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

  2. Come say hi to us this Saturday December 30, 2017 and every Saturday through January 27, 2018 from 10AM – 2 PM at our Ambassador days program. We will be happy to discuss cross country skis, the trails, the Nooksack Nordic Ski Club and the awesomeness of cross country skiing over a hot cup of cocoa in the Razor Hone parking lot.

    Comment by Mary Beth Jaynes — December 26, 2017 @ 5:56 pm

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