Among powderhounds, Mount Baker is well known as the little resort with the highest average snowfall totals of any resort in the world, with nearly 700 inches of snow per year. In 1998, it also snowed a world record total 1,140 inches. In February of that year, it snowed 308 inches, or an average of 11 inches per day for an entire month. Couple this with some seriously cool terrain and needless to say, it’s been on our radar.
The knock on Baker is that the snow that falls often is not of the fluffy variety we found in Utah the previous weekend. With big, moisture laden storms rolling off of the Pacific, the snow can sometimes take on a cement-like consistency that makes you think twice before calling it powder. This was exactly the situation we found ourselves in on our first day in the Pacific Northwest. As we drove up from rainy Bellingham, rain continued the fall until almost the moment we pulled into the parking at which point it was like someone pulled the “snow” lever and it began to dump.
Unfortunately, the snow that continued to fall throughout the day was both dense and falling on top of another, even denser, layer of snow. All in all, it gave the effect of skiing on mashed potatoes for most of the day. As is usually the strategy, our solution was to go higher and traverse into less tracked sidecountry terrain, where the snow improved further.
Overall, Mt. Baker delivered on what we expected. Challenging terrain, a super deep base, and some heavy, heavy snow. While conditions were not ideal for enjoying everything Baker had to to offer, we saw more than enough to warrant a return trip in the future. It was now time to head north, for a softer snowpack.