Before You Go
Skiing and snowboarding are active sports. Make sure to eat a good breakfast and follow it up with a hearty lunch and snacks to ensure that you have fuel for the entire day. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are available for purchase at the Heather Meadows and White Salmon day lodges. You are welcome to bring your own sack lunch, but please consume it in the designated areas. Make sure to get adequate sleep the night before. You’ll have more fun if you’re well-rested! Remember to drink water throughout the day. It can be easy to forget to stay hydrated in the winter weather. Dehydration can have serious effects on your ability to perform physically.
Even before your day on the mountain, familiarize yourself with the Mt. Baker Trail Map. This handy map folds up to fit into your pocket for easy access and contains a wealth of helpful information. The trail map shows the named ski and snowboard trails and their difficulty rating. Green circle trails are the easiest, blue squares are more difficult, black diamonds are most difficult and double black diamonds are experts only. The trail map also shows the ski area boundaries, extreme danger zones and slow zones. You will find points of interest such as the day lodges, first aid, restrooms, ticket office, rental shop and others. Additionally, the trail map is where you can find Mt. Baker’s Mountain Policies and Guidelines which provide policies, risks, responsibilities and more safety information. For example, sledding and tubing is prohibited within the Mt. Baker Ski Area Boundaries. Outside of the ski area is Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest land where snow play is at your own risk.
Base Layer & Socks
Synthetic, wool and wool blend base layers and socks will help you retain heat in the cold. AVOID cotton. Cotton actually can pull heat away from you, especially when wet. This can make you even colder. Wearing a SINGLE pair of over the calf synthetic or wool socks will help keep your feet warm and be most comfortable in ski and snowboard boots.
Bring a fleece, down or wool layer to wear over your base layer and under your waterproof shell. Sometimes people choose multiple mid layers to adjust as conditions change. If you get too warm you can always take them off, and if too cold, you can add additional layers.
Waterproof jackets and pants are extremely important in the northwest. The conditions at Mt. Baker can be variable and staying dry is key to having fun in a mountain environment.
Helmets are an effective choice for helping to keep your head warm, dry and protected. Make sure to look for one that is designed for winter sports. If you choose to wear a hat, under your helmet or on its own, it’s best if it is made of synthetic material or wool.
Waterproof gloves are just as important as your waterproof outerwear layer. If your hands tend to get cold, waterproof mittens are a warmer choice than gloves. Having an extra pair with you on snowy or wet days is useful.
Neck gaiters keep the cold wind from your face and neck. A simple neck gaiter goes a long way to help keep you warm on windy and snowy days. We especially recommend them for kids.
Goggles & Sunglasses
Snow goggles shield your eyes from the wind and snow elements. It is very difficult (and not much fun) to try to see on a snowy day without goggles. The sun (when it shines on occasion here at Mt. Baker) reflects off the snow and is hard on your eyes. Sunglasses are very important in the mountain environment.
It is a good idea to bring extra layers and outerwear, including extra hats, gloves and goggles. That way if anything gets wet or cold, you can change into a dry set. It’s also a good idea to have an extra set of clothes to change into after your day on the mountain to make the ride home more comfortable.
Check the Mt. Baker Snow Report and WSDOT SR542 Road Conditions prior to your departure for the latest conditions updates. Allow plenty of time to travel to the ski area; it takes between an hour and fifteen to one hour and thirty minutes minimum from Bellingham. Be prepared for winter driving conditions by ensuring your vehicle has ample fuel, adequate tires, ice scrapers and snow brushes, a shovel and tire chains. Remember, carrying tire chains in your vehicle is required to drive on SR 542 and you may be turned around without the proper equipment. As you travel, pay attention to the signs along the highway indicating the current chain requirements.
Directions & Travel Info to Mt. Baker Ski Area
Check road conditions and follow WSDOT Winter Driving tips.
Arrive at the ski area between 8 am and 9 am for your best chance at getting a first-come first-served parking spot on busy weekends and holidays. Follow parking lot staff’s directions on where to park. Overnight parking is available by reservation only.
After parking your vehicle, gather what you’ll need to get started for the day and head towards the day lodge. Restrooms are located in the parking lots (flushing bathroom trailers and pit toilets) as well as in the day lodges. Make sure to grab a trail map for each person to become familiar with the ski area and read over the Mountain Safety Guidelines. Keep the trail map handy in your pocket throughout the day as it contains lots of helpful information!
Free Self-Guided Learning Zone
Visit our Self-Guided Learning Zone in the beginner area for tips to learn the basics of skiing and snowboarding at your own pace or to brush up on existing skills.
Free Handle Tow
Learning to ski or snowboard? Take advantage of the FREE Heather Meadows Handle Tow to practice your skills.
If you need help on the mountain, contact Mt. Baker Ski Patrol at 360-300-7070 or visit either the White Salmon or Heather Meadows Aid Rooms for free first aid. This phone number is also located on the trail map!
Program this number into your phone prior to your visit for easy access while at the ski area.