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Mt. Baker Ski Area

Mt. Baker Ski Area is a ski area located in the Cascade Range in the US state of Washington. The area features 38 named runs of more than 62 mi (100 km), serviced by ten lifts. The ski resort is also known for its immense snowfall, boasting an average of 663 inches (17 m) and often receiving the most snowfall of any ski resort in the world. It also holds the world record for measured snowfall in a single season at 1,140 inches (95 ft / 29 m). Besides its deep snowpack, it offers expert terrain in-bounds with easily accessible side and backcountry terrain. However, most terrain is suitable for intermediate skiers, with a small amount of terrain for beginners. The Mt. Baker ski season generally lasts from late November through late April.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington


Mt. Baker Ski Area is in Whatcom County, in the northwestern section of the US state of Washington. Situated in the North Cascades, a subrange of the Cascade Range, its White Salmon Base Area is at an elevation of 3,500 ft (1,067 m), with the highest point being Chair 8, which tops out at 5,089 ft (1,551 m). Thus, the lift-accessible vertical rise is 1,589 ft (484 m). The ski area also features a second base area, Heather Meadows, at 4,300 ft (1,310 m).

The ski area lies within Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, with the Nooksack River Valley to the north. Despite its name, the resort is closer to Mount Shuksan (9,134 ft / 2,784 m), located to the southeast. Mount Baker (10,784 ft / 3,287 m) lies southwest.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

The highest named peak in the resort is Panorama Dome, located at the top of Chair 1 and Chair 6 (5,026 ft / 1,532 m).

Mt. Baker is the main ski resort near Bellingham on the banks of Bellingham Bay which is part of the Salish Sea, located 52 mi (84 km) west or just 21 mi (34 km) south of the US-Canada border.

Many other natural areas surround the region: The Mount Baker Wilderness is directly west and north of the resort, while North Cascades National Park lies to the east. The Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness lies south of the ski area.

Getting to Mt. Baker Ski Area

The Mt. Baker Ski Resort is easily accessible by all available modes of transportation: by plane from other states or from abroad, your own or rented car from Seattle, or by shuttle service.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Nearest Airports

The nearest airport to Mt. Baker is Bellingham International Airport, located just north of Bellingham, roughly 50 mi (80 km) west of the ski area. The closest major airport in the country is Sea-Tac International Airport, located 145 mi (233 km) south, between the cities of Seattle and Tacoma.

As the ski area lies just 10 mi (16 km) south of the US-Canada border, those with a passport can also utilize British Columbia, Canada airports. Below are a few Canadian airports in the region:

  • Abbotsford International Airport. This airport lies just north of the US-Canada border, a 47 mil (76 km) drive from the ski area. Driving from Abbotsford to Mt. Baker passes through the Sumas Border Crossing, which often has a much shorter wait time than the Peace Arch Border Crossing.
  • Vancouver International Airport. As the largest airport in British Columbia, Vancouver International Airport lies a 94 mi (152 km) drive northwest. Visitors should note that the main route from the airport to the ski area utilizes the Peace Arch Border Crossing.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Driving Directions

Then, getting from the airport to Mt. Baker Ski Area by your own or rented car is relatively straightforward, as it sits at the end of State Route 542, also known as Mount Baker Highway.

From Bellingham, Sunset Drive travels east and turns into Mount Baker Highway. Visitors stay on this road as it travels through the Nooksack River Valley before eventually climbing to the designated ski area. Those visiting should note that there are no public utilities, such as gas, in the area.

From Seattle, visitors travel north along Interstate 5 for roughly 70 mi (112 km) before merging onto WA-9 North. This highway intersects with Mount Baker Highway in the city of Deming. From there, visitors stay on Mount Baker Highway until reaching the ski area.

Parking Lots

There are two main parking lots at Mt. Baker Ski Area, with one located at each of the base lodges:

  • The main parking lot is at the White Salmon Base Area.
  • The Heather Meadows Base Area parking lot is occasionally closed during the week if the lifts on that side of the mountain are not operating due to inclement weather. Access to the main backcountry area is in the Heather Meadows parking lot.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Shuttle Services

The Baker Bus is a shuttle service that transports skiers from Bellingham to the ski area. The bus features multiple pick-up locations and makes stops along the way in Kendall, Maple Falls, and Glacier. The bus only operates if at least five seats have been reserved. The fare is $20 round-trip from Bellingham.


Mt. Baker Ski Area usually opens in late November and runs through late April, with an average season of around 140 days. The best snow conditions are often mid-December through early March.

Snow and Weather Conditions

Mt. Baker Ski Area boasts an average annual snowfall of 663 inches (17 m), often receiving the most snowfall of any ski resort in the world. During the 1998–99 season, Mt. Baker Ski Area broke a world record after receiving 1,140 inches (95 ft / 29 m) of snow. Due to the massive snowpack, Mt. Baker is the only ski area in the Cascade Range of Washington not to use snowmaking devices.

The relatively low elevation of the ski area, coupled with its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, results in periods of rain and heavy, wet snow. These occasional wet conditions are historically outnumbered by fresh snow and deep powder days.

Baker is the land of extremes when it comes to snow. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning to spend time here:

  • You’re going to need seriously waterproof clothing. Baker gets dozens of days a year with double-digit snowfall totals. The wet snow will seep into your outerwear, leaving you drenched in a couple of hours if your gear isn’t up to par.
  • Conditions here can change fast. One day, it could be 30 inches of fresh, light powder. Then the snow could turn to rain, turning the mountain into an unskiable, sloppy nightmare. You might get another 15 inches of powder overnight, and the next day is incredible.
  • Watch out for your knees. Baker has many days with heavy, wet snow that is perfect for blowing ACLs and other ligaments in the knee. Wrap your knees and keep them bent in a forward stance in chopped-up heavy powder.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Mt. Baker Ski Map

With two base areas — White Salmon and Heather Meadows — and advanced to expert terrain throughout the region, getting around Mt. Baker Ski Area can be a bit confusing on your first visit. Below is an overview of the area and how to get around.

  • From the White Salmon Base. Often referred to as the Mount Shuksan (9,134 ft / 2,784 m) side, this base is on the eastern side of the ski area. Skiers can take Chair 7 to access the easiest runs on this side of the resort. From the top of Chair 7, they can take Chair 8 to the highest point at 5,089 ft (1,551 m). This chair leads to blue, black, and double-black runs. Skiers can descend to Chairs 7 and 8 or travel towards the center of the mountain to reach Raven Hut Lodge.
  • From the Heather Meadows Base. Situated on the western side of the ski area, skiers can access the beginner slopes serviced by rope tows and Chair 2. This lodge also provides access to Chair 1, which leads to the top of Panorama Dome (5,026 ft / 1,532 m), servicing black and double-black runs. From the summit of Panorama Dome, skiers can descend back to Heather Meadows Lodge or travel towards the Raven Hut Lodge, perched in the middle of the ski area.
  • From Raven Hut Lodge. Skiers can not access Raven Hut Lodge from the parking lots. The lodge connects the east side of the mountain, White Salmon Lodge, to the west side, Heather Meadows Lodge. From Raven Hut Lodge, Chair 5 provides access to the White Salmon side of the ski area, while Chairs 6 and 4 direct skiers to the Heather Meadows side.

Skiers can access both the easiest and most challenging runs on the mountain through the Heather Meadows Base Area. Intermediate skiers can find ample ski runs beginning at the White Salmon Base Area and the Raven Hut Lodge.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

From the top of Chair 8, skiers have sweeping views of Mount Shuksan (9,134 ft / 2,784 m) to the southeast. On a clear day, skiers have sweeping views of Mount Baker (10,784 ft / 3,287 m) from Panorama Dome, serviced by Chair 6 and 1.

Mt. Baker Slopes and Ski Lifts

Mt. Baker Ski Area offers terrain suitable for skiers of all skill levels. However, the mountain caters more to intermediate, as well as advanced, and expert skiers. Beginner terrain covers 24 % of the ski area. Meanwhile, 45 % of slopes are ideal for intermediate skiers. More experienced skiers can still enjoy the ski area, with 31 % of the terrain classified as expert-level. The expert terrain is marked as an “extreme danger zone” on the mountain to help ensure skiers without the proper skill set do not enter this terrain by accident.

Please note that the following color scheme is used to rate ski runs at Mount Baker Ski Area:

  • The easiest runs are green 🟢
  • Medium difficulty is blue 🟦
  • Advanced is black diamond ◼️
  • Expert is double black diamond◼️◼️

The total ski area acreage is 1,000 (405 hectares).

As for the ski lifts, Mt. Baker ski resort has ten: eight chairlifts and two handle tows.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington


  • Slopes total length: 62 mi (100 km)
  • Types of slopes: easy (green) — 15 mi (24 km), 24%; intermediate (blue) — 28 mi (45 km), 45%; advanced (black/double black) — 19 mi (31 km), 31%
  • Longest slope: 1.9 mi (3 km) with an elevation difference of 1,492 ft (455 m)
  • Popular slopes: Oh Zone, Nose Dive, Canuck’s, The Chute
  • Total skiable terrain: 1,000 acres (405 hectares)

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Ski lifts

  • Total lifts: 10 (8 quad chairs, 2 handle tows)
  • Lifts operating hours: 9 am to 3:30 pm in general
  • Top station: Top of Chair 8 (5,089 ft / 1,551 m)
  • Base station: White Salmon Base Area (3,500 ft / 1,067 m)
  • Difference between stations (max vertical drop): 1,589 ft (484 m)
  • Average height: 4,250 ft (1,295 m)

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Other features and services

  • Artificial snow: No
  • Night skiing: No
  • Cross-country ski trails: No
  • Snowshoe trails: No
  • Snowboard park: No
  • Sled slopes: No
  • Snow tubing: No
  • Ice-skating field: No
  • Outdoor stores: Yes
  • Ski rentals: Yes
  • Ski school and ski lessons: Yes (Baker Beginnings, Race Development Ski Program, Women’s Program, Tune-Up Tuesdays, and others)

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Mt. Baker Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Though no cross-country ski or snowshoe trails are within the designated ski area, visitors can find routes for both activities nearby.

  • Cross-country skiing. Most trails in the region are at the Salmon Ridge Sno-Park, along Mount Baker Highway, just past milepost 46. Situated at 2,000 ft (610 m), the Sno-Park has 15 mi (24 km) of groomed cross-country ski trails.
  • Snowshoeing. Some snowshoe routes start from the same nature park, following along the Nooksack River. Those using snowshoes in this area are asked to stay on designated trails and out of the set ski tracks. Another popular route for snowshoeing begins near the Heather Meadows Base Area and travels to Artist Point. Those traveling through this region should note that the trail passes through avalanche terrain and check the Northwest Avalanche Center report before entering the area.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Mt. Baker Backcountry Skiing

Skiers can access the main backcountry ski section in the region from the Heather Meadows Base Area. From the parking lot, skiers have ample terrain to ski some untouched powder surrounded by the North Cascades.

They have multiple options for ascending the slopes of the main backcountry bowl, which features the frozen Bagley Lakes at its base. Popular routes include Table Mountain Ascent and Herman Saddle. To drop back into the main bowl, skiers have roughly 20 different lines to choose from.

Once at the top of Herman Saddle and Table Mountain (5,751 ft / 1,753 m), skiers have unobstructed views of Mount Baker (10,784 ft / 3,287 m) to the southwest. From Herman Saddle, they can explore Iceberg Bowl and Osama before skinning back up and dropping back down to Bagley Lakes. A few routes, such as Guidos Glades and Swift Creek, drop off the south side of the Table Mountain Ascent, though a majority of the routes in the region descend back into the main bowl.

Shuksan Arm

Skiers can access the backcountry terrain on the Mount Shuksan (9,134 ft / 2,784 m) side of the ski area from the top of Chair 8. Skiers can ascend along the Shuksan Arm before skiing some of the region's steepest terrain, including routes such as Hollywood Ridge, Pyramid, and Safety Line.

Anyone entering the backcountry should have the knowledge, skills, and gear necessary for avalanche terrain. Skiers should also check Northwest Avalanche Center for up-to-date avalanche forecasts. Fortunately, Mt. Baker has embraced a culture of awareness around the Shuksan Arm backcountry gate. Ski Patrol will check to ensure you have a beacon, shovel, and probe. You must also have a partner; no solo adventures on the Arm.

The arm extends for hours and hours. You can hike far. Eventually, the ridge gets steeper and becomes more of a mountaineering challenge. Glaciers began to make themselves known on the north-facing side, mostly above 7000 ft (2134 m). A skin track and a boot track will start from the gate.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Mount Shuksan

Ski Pass and Discounts

Mt. Baker Ski Area is still an independently run ski area offering multiple types of season passes.

Season passes can be purchased during the months preceding an upcoming ski season. The ski area also offers a Mostly Midweek Season Pass, which pass holders can use on Mondays through Fridays and weekends following mid-March. The Mostly Midweek Season Pass can’t be used on holidays and a few other blackout dates.

A single adult day lift ticket costs $87.04 (not including tax). A Beginner Chair Only ticket is $54.63 plus tax for those just learning to ski. Children under the age of 6 are free.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Tourist Information

Before or after skiing, visit the official tourist office of the nearest town of Bellingham:

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

I-5 Exit 253, 904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA, 98229, United States

Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am (11 am on Tuesday) to 4 pm



Skiers can find the only dining options available at Mt. Baker Ski Area in the three ski lodges: White Salmon, Raven Hut, and Heather Meadows. The main lodges of White Salmon and Heather Meadows offer a selection of burgers, fries, soups, and salads. The Raven Hut Lodge offers more healthy food options, including grain, protein, and vegetable bowls with rotating weekly specials.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

Mt. Baker Lodging

There is no lodging at the ski area. However, the ski area offers limited overnight parking spots and requires reservations. There are no hookups in the parking lots, so overnight vehicles must be self-contained. The sites are $32 a night per vehicle.

It may sound rustic, but folks who camp in the parking lot overnight are the only ones who will be skiing to the lift the following day. Visitors lacking RVs must extend their search to Glacier and Bellingham to find lodging. Unfortunately, Baker is one of those resorts where you will always have to make the commute. However, Glacier is an adorable town at the base of the mountains, while Bellingham is a bustling, hip, and artsy center. Both are great destinations for tourists, even without the nearby ski resort.

Events and Après-ski

Each year the Mt. Baker Ski Area hosts several events and races, including the Golden Egg Hunt and races such as the Annual Legendary Banked Slalom and Locals Qualifier. Other events in Bellingham include the Mt. Baker Season Launch Party, Baker on the Brain Trivia Night, and the Mt. Baker Film Fest at the Mount Baker Theatre.

The Chair 9 bar in the (closest) town of Glacier, WA, is the spot for those looking to kick back with a beer after a day on the slopes. It’s the only option, but it’s a good one nonetheless. Grab some pizza and select from several local craft brews on tap.

Nearby Towns and Cities

Mt. Baker ski area is 20 minutes from Glacier, WA, the closest town. Bellingham is just over an hour, and Seattle is just under three hours by car.


The closest major city to the ski area is Bellingham, located on the banks of Bellingham Bay, part of the Salish Sea. Home to around 93,000 residents, the coastal city is known for its many hiking, trail running, and mountain biking trails. The city also boasts numerous local craft breweries, such as Aslan Brewing Company and Wander Brewing. The aforementioned Mount Baker Theatre is one of the city's prominent architectural landmarks.

Bellingham, Washington


Seattle lies a ninety-minute drive south of Bellingham. Situated between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, it marks the most populous city in the state. Home to a large tech industry, Seattle is nestled in the western foothills of the Cascade Range. The Space Needle, an iconic city symbol, was originally built in 1962 to mark the year Seattle hosted the World’s Fair.

Seattle, Washington, USA downtown city skyline

mountain lifts
Status Type Name
Usually the skiing season starts early November here
Chair 1
Start - End
1 292 m - 1 531 m
Chair 2
Start - End
1 244 m - 1 338 m
Chair 3
Start - End
1 243 m - 1 313 m
Chair 5
Start - End
1 115 m - 1 491 m
Chair 6
Start - End
1 115 m - 1 514 m
Chair 7
Start - End
1 106 m - 1 283 m
Chair 8
Start - End
1 178 m - 1 550 m