Skiing Mount Baker

Boot-pack up the Shuksan Arm

Washington’s Mount Baker has no coffee shops, no on-slope lodging, and no cell phone service. What it does have is access to endless side country and the record for the most snowfall in one season (1,140 inches in 1999). “It’s as close to skiing Alaska as it gets,” says local skier Molly Baker. From the top of Chair 8 follow a boot pack east out the Shuksan arm, a four-mile ridgeline that connects to the top of the 9,000-foot Mount Shuksan. The lines off the ridge range from wide-open powder chutes to mandatory 60-foot airs–so scout from the chairlift. Start with the Heli Line, a 40-degree chute that takes 45-minutes to hike to from the top of Chair 8 and funnels skiers back to the bottom of the lift. There are no guidebooks to the area, but ask questions of the notoriously friendly locals.

YOU NEED: Skis with a minimum of 110 mm underfoot, beacon, shovel, and probe. Get last-minute gear at Glacier Ski Shop, and book ahead at the Inn at Mount Baker, a European-style chalet 40 minutes from the mountain.

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