Deep in the PNW: A Hidden Ski & Snowboard Paradise at Mt Baker, Washington

Last February, filmmakers and athletes Eric Lee O’Brien and Audrey Hebert drove their skoolie (converted school bus) Tessy deep into our corner of the Pacific Northwest to visit Bellingham and the Mt Baker Ski Area. It was one heck of an adventure. Discover how the rugged mountains, endless freeride terrain, and lively parking lot camping culture make Mt Baker a hidden paradise for skiers and snowboarders. 

The Mountains

One of the coolest things about Mt Baker is how remote it feels. It’s a mom-and-pop-style resort that has two rustic lodges at its base areas and emanates cool old-school vibes. It’s an hour and a half outside of Bellingham, which is on the Salish Sea in northwestern Washington, just below the Canadian border. From Bellingham, you drive east towards Mt Baker through open fields and old growth Pacific Northwest rainforest, before climbing up into some of the most rugged, impressive mountains you’ll find in North America.

The Terrain

The terrain is unmatched. Seriously. You’ll find a combination of hidden pow stashes, perfectly spaced tree skiing, long rolling groomers, and a bunch of insane freeride terrain. There’s enough to explore here to keep you busy for weeks, but the terrain in the resort is just the beginning. There are several short hikes off of the resort that access wide open bowls, huge cliffs, and a bunch of fun natural terrain features.

The Snowfall & Season

Not only is there a seemingly endless variety of phenomenal skiing, but Mt Baker also gets over 650” of dreamy PNW pow each season, making it the highest average snowfall in North America. One year it snowed over 1,100 (!!) inches. The season generally starts in December and runs into April, but the backcountry skiing is phenomenal through June. If you enjoy bottomless pow, ski-movie-type terrain, and turns most of the year, you’ll love it here. Here’s a look at Mt Baker by the numbers:

  • 10 lifts

  • 663” annual snowfall

  • 5,089’ top elevation

  • 3,500’ base elevation

  • 1,000 acres

  • Insane backcountry terrain in every direction

The Town

Bellingham is an idyllic outdoor town that’s laid back and has a great vibe. You’re right on the water, there are all kinds of amazing places to grab food and coffee, and it’s an absolute utopia  for summer adventures, including mountain biking. It’s really easy to get there by car, plane, or train, and is the perfect place to gear up for, or unwind after, your missions to Mt Baker. 

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        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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