August 28, 2020
YES, MT. BAKER WILL BE OPEN THIS SEASON!
We are excited for the season and looking forward to seeing you all . . . friends, family and new faces in the snow and mountains this winter. We will continue providing Winter Ski Area operations and services, and will be doing so with modifications to follow current Washington State and COVID-19 requirements relevant to the ski area.
Our crew has spent many, many hours this summer planning for the various scenarios we may see this winter, and now our crew is putting these plans into action and we will be ready for the snow to fly. Scroll down to see a summarized list of our plans. Throughout the fall we will be adding videos of our department managers walking through some of our planned operations for the upcoming season. So check back throughout the next few months for continued updates.
While your day-to-day experiences will be different as we all adapt to ski area operations during COVID-19, enjoying nature and the outdoors remains the reason we are here.
- EXPANDED OPERATION SCHEDULE: Open 7-days-a-week from Opening Day through May 5, 2021*
- COVID-19 bonus; we are adding 7-day-a-week operation through the entire month of April and through May 5th.
- Featuring springtime feature parks, starting around April 1st.
* Opening and closing day are dependent on conditions
- Heather Meadows Base Area - Daily operations (7-days-a-week) will be based out of Heather Meadows this season. The Heather Meadows facilities allow for more capacity during physical distancing.
- White Salmon Base Area - Open weekends and holidays, and possibly open for some midweek operation days.
- Raven Hut Lodge - Open 7-days-a-week
- CHECK THE WEBSITE SNOW REPORT DAILY FOR OPERATIONS DETAILS Please check the website snow the day prior to visiting the mountain, and the morning of each visit to verify operational plans for the day of your visit.
- NUMBER OF PEOPLE SKIING/RIDING: Under current requirements, when the season begins you will not need a reservation to ride the lifts at Mt. Baker.
- There may be a few, or many, days that there are NO RESTRICTIONS on the number of people we can have skiing/riding the mountain.
- There also may be a few, or many, days that there ARE restrictions on the number of people we can have skiing/riding the mountain.
- RESERVATIONS: If, and only if, RESTRICTIONS on the number of people skiing/riding ARE NEEDED for a given day, we will implement an online reservation system for skiing/riding access. Again, there may be a few, or many, days this season where there is NO RESERVATION SYSTEM. There also may be a few, or many days, this season where there is a reservation system.
- Season Passes: If, AND ONLY IF, there is a reservation system for lift access in place on a given day, Mt. Baker season passholders will be guaranteed AT LEAST 51% of the reservations on that day. In order to monitor the number of people skiing/riding on a reservation day, passholders with a confirmed online reservation will need to activate their reservation at the ticket office and get a daily lift ticket (free) for that day in order to access the lifts.
- Daily Lift Tickets: If, AND ONLY IF, there is a reservation system for lift access in place on a given day, visitors will be required to secure a reservation online, and then visitors with a confirmed online reservation will need to activate their reservation at the ticket office and get a daily lift ticket for that day in order to access the lifts.
- MT. BAKER FACILITIES: This season, access to all Ski Area facilities will be limited to Mt. Baker daily lift ticket and season passholders only. This includes chairlifts, lodges and ski area restrooms.
- PARKING :
- For those who don't purchase a current Mt. Baker daily lift ticket or season pass, public parking at Heather Meadows is available on the WSDOT-maintained Highway 542 loop between 7:00am - 7:00pm.
- Mt. Baker ski area maintains the Heather Meadows and White Salmon lots at our expense for skiing and snowboarding customers. Given the significant increase in non-ski area users, we might restrict parking in our parking areas to paying customers only.
- Overnight Parking: Will be limited and by reservation only.
- PARKING :
- Yes, we are selling season passes, starting September 15th! Please CLICK HERE to link to our season pass section for complete details.
- BUY ONLINE! For the health and safety of our staff and you, the customer, we have structured our pass prices and revised pass-making options this season to encourage purchasing online. This will greatly reduce in-office, in-person transactions, which is important at this time.
- Online purchasing benefits
- Mailed directly to you! Your season pass and complimentary custom art neck gaitor will be shipped directly to you in a timely manner at no additional charge.
- It's faster! No in-person or over-the-phone wait time.
- Promotes social distancing. Reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure for yourself and others.
- Re-use your old photo (for returning passholders) or upload a new one online.
- FREE "Easy Money" gift card (value up to $40) for returning passholders who purchase online during Droppin' In rates. See FAQ for more information.
- It costs the same - no added fees for buying online.
- No need to get dressed up for a trip to the Business Office . . . you can make the purchase at home in your bathrobe while watching Afterglow or Dark Matter.
- Online purchasing benefits
Pass prices shown on website include everything except Washington State Sales Tax. So you will NOT be charged additional processing fees, mailing fees, credit card fees, or anything else, just the local taxes.
- Seating Capacity Reduction: Be prepared for reduced availability. In order to facilitate social distancing and follow state mandated protocols, we will see up to a 70% reduction of indoor seating capacity. We are still working through the details, but there may be extended wait times, allocated and/or assigned seated dining times, and/or a reservation system for seated dining.
- Revised Menus: We are creating more Grab-and-Go options with revised menus. We are also remodeling our lodges to improve traffic flow and have great food options for eating outside or in a vehicle, in addition to reduced indoor seating.
- Heather Meadows: Remodeled deli area on the first floor, with revised traffic flow. Additional uncovered outdoor seating and beer service areas will be available. There will also be additional remote trailer restrooms.
- White Salmon: Additional uncovered outdoor seating and beer service. There will also be additional remote trailer restrooms.
- Raven Hut: Very limited indoor seating, with additional outdoor seating and beer service. Limited access to indoor restrooms, with additional outdoor restrooms.
- General: There will be reduced capacity for Instruction throughout the season, and online reservations will be required for daily lessons. There will also be a new, hosted guided discovery learning area.
- Komo Kids Program: Limited to intermediate and advanced ability returning 19-20 participants with modified format.
- Racer Development Team Program: Limited to returning 19-20 participants with modified format.
- Saturday Winter Ride Youth Program: Cancelled for the 20-21season.
- Reduced capacity inside rental shop.
- Reservations will likely be required.
- Mountain Shop areas will monitor capacity to be in compliance with social distancing and all other mandated safe practices.
- Lots of great retail items are available on our online store. CLICK HERE to shop online.
BELLINGHAM BUSINESS OFFICE
- We are encouraging as many sales and services normally made at the office to be made online.
- Maximum 3 people at a time in the lobby, others line up outside with distancing.
- We will continue to stay informed of current health official information and requirements regarding COVID-19 and will operate and implement guidelines and precautions accordingly.
- At the time of posting, COVID 6-foot distancing protocols are in place in all our facilities, parking lots, lodges, restrooms, lift lines, outdoor areas, chairlifts and all parts of the ski area. Be aware that these protocols may change.
- At the time of posting, please bring a mask when coming to the Ski Area or Business Office. No mask, no service.
- If you have symptoms, DON'T COME TO THE SKI AREA.
Previous MBSA COVID-19 Updates
Click arrows below to open drop-downs
July 1, 2020 Update
As of May 22, 2020 the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS) will begin a phased reopening of trailheads, day-use areas, and other developed recreation sites. For more information about what areas in the National Forest are accessible, please go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/news-events/?ci... or call (360) 856-5700.
Our Heather Meadows Cafe will open for the summer season as of Friday, July 3. PLEASE REMEMBER: MASKS ARE REQUIRED. We are taking extra precautions to help keep our staff and our guests safe. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 recently or have symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, aches, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, headache, chills or loss of taste/smell, please keep everyone safe by staying home.
What We Are Doing:
- Wearing masks to help protect ourselves and our customers per Washington State requirements.
- Providing extra spacing to allow parties to maintain 6 feet of distance in seating and waiting areas.
- Hand sanitizing stations are available to all customers and employees.
- Condiments, cutlery, or other self service items available upon request in single use (non-reusable) portions.
- Providing disposable menus upon request.
- All employees must pass a health screening before coming into the workplace. Sick employees will stay home
- Employees will wash or sanitize their hands often, in accordance with Washington State DOH.
- Cleaning and disinfecting common areas and surfaces regularly with extra attention to high-touch areas.
- Posting signage to remind everyone of best hygiene practices.
What We Expect You To Do:
- Wear a mask to help protect yourself and our staff per Washington State requirements.
- Self-screen before entering: If you have been exposed to COVID-19 recently or have symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, aches, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, headache, chills or loss of taste/smell, please keep everyone safe by staying home.
- Maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and those not in your party.
- Make use of hand washing and hand sanitizing stations.
- If you have underlying health conditions or are otherwise at high risk of contracting COVID-19 the CDC recommends that you avoid all non-essential public contact.
- Respect staff and other customers.
For more information visit cdc.gov/coronavirus or coronavirus.wa.gov
May 22, 2020 Update
Starting May 22, 2020 the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS) will begin a phased reopening of trailheads, day-use areas, and other developed recreation sites. For more information about what areas in the National Forest are accessible, please go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/news-events/?ci... or call (360) 856-5700.
April 3, 2020 Update
April 3, 2020 Update
The Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service in Washington and Oregon is aligning with state Governor's executive orders by closing all developed recreation sites across Washington and Oregon.
Mt. Baker Ski Area is a developed recreation site within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, therefore all areas inside the Mt. Baker Ski Area permit area are now closed to all recreational use access until further notice. Mt. Baker Ski Area is closed for the season.
March 22, 2020 Update
March 22, 2020
Hello Mt. Baker Skiers and Snowboarders,
Like you, in our own lives and work, we are having to adapt to the changes in daily life that our community and the world are making in order to protect our own health and the health of others by helping slow the spread of the virus.
Following Governor Inslee’s update on Friday March 20, and in continued consult with our medical team and doing our own research, we understand that there are a few things we can do to contribute in the effort to slow the spread.
Firstly, we currently are in the mitigation phase of this disease where we have an important opportunity to slow its spread. In support of science that says an essential part of mitigation and slowing the spread of the virus is social distancing, the reasonable thing for us to do is to help promote social distancing by closing the ski area through at least April 27. Yes, we are going to close for now, but we have put plans in place for a possible reopening if conditions allow after April 27. We would love to get some sunny spring skiing and riding happening, and will do our best to make that happen if possible.
Secondly, we can support our crew, their families and our local economy by supporting our crew’s health and financial well-being in ways we reasonably can. Our staff has been phenomenal through the wild ride of this season, and we would like to thank them for their flexibility and positivity especially over the past few weeks. We are paying our seasonal winter staff for their normal work hours through April 2 to help bridge them to their next seasonal jobs.
For those of us that are currently healthy, making conscious efforts to maintain this health is also very important in the overall effort, as well as just a good idea. With this in mind, 50 of our year-round /off-season crew are going to spend the next week or so putting the ski area to bed (yes, while using distancing and best practices in the workplace) and then we are giving each member of our year-round/off season crew members a two week paid health break.
During this health break, we will be paying our year-round/off-season staff to stay healthy and do their part to flatten the curve. We are strongly encouraging our staff to use this time to do things like staying home as much as possible, use distancing practices, turn off the alarm clock and get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, eat healthy, unplug, spend time taking care of children, and have some valuable quiet time. Yes, a few of us will be doing limited essential ski area work to keep the utilities on and the business running, but we are doing so with flexible schedules and only as needed. After the health break, our year-round/ off-season crew will return to work per workplace guidelines. Some will be working remotely and we will begin our normal maintenance season. If, after April 27, a time comes when the possibility to reopen may exist, it will be our year-round/off-season crew who will reopen and operate the ski area for you. Chances are it would be a limited number of chairs due to staffing numbers, but we could certainly make something happen.
A few conditions would need to exist before we would consider reopening. Among others; guidelines from government agencies and medical professionals would need to be less restrictive than they are now and reasonable to implement, we would need available medical staff for our Aid Rooms and enough masks and PPE for them and our ski patrol without negatively impacting medical facilities in the lowlands, and. . . .snow on the ground.
While we are closed, please be aware that there will be no avalanche control work done and no ski patrol or ski area medical staff available for response. See our separate safety information and FAQ for answers to a few logistical questions regarding ski area closure.
Once again, we do not take these decisions lightly and encourage you to stay informed, do your research and follow the guidelines and suggestions set out by science, and health and government officials. In your exercise and recreation plans over the coming weeks, please consider that any medical or rescue efforts you may need will take away valuable attention and medical supplies that are currently very much needed for our health care community. We also greatly appreciate the Facebook posts, notes and conversations that demonstrate how our local Glacier and greater mountain community is figuring this out together and taking real tangible steps to be a part of a bigger global effort. One of our Aid Room Advisory Committee physicians suggests that on an individual level, in addition to general precautionary measures, one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of becoming ill is to ensure you are getting quality sleep and actively reducing your stress. They suggest this, combined with getting regular exercise and eating a nutritious diet, will positively contribute to your physical and mental health and well being.
Thank you to those who are staying informed and this is a reminder that we are looking to each other to take reasonable actions to support our own health and protect the health of others so we all can resume life in a more normal way, hopefully as soon as possible. These next few weeks matter.
Duncan Howat – President
Gwyn Howat – CEO
Mike Trowbridge – General Manager & CFO
Sam Llobet – Director of Mountain Operations and Patrol Director
March 15, 2020 Update
March 15, 2020 2:45 pm
Hello Mt. Baker Skiers and Snowboarders,
In light of current circumstances, we are continuing to evaluate and base decisions about our operations in direct consult with health care professionals in our region and with timely information and guidance issued through our State and the CDC.
In discussions this morning with the Medical Program Director Emergency Medical Services for Whatcom County and health care community members, it was decided that the availability of the 70+ valued medics, nurses, flight nurses, and doctors who are members of our ski patrol and help provide emergency medical services on a daily basis here is now needed in the hospital and health care community. While some of our foundational medical resources at the ski area are utilized elsewhere, we will be taking a pause in our ski area operations for the next 7-10 days. On Sunday March 22nd we will consulting again with health officials to assess the availability of our Aid Room staff professionals and reassess the situation for possible reopening on March 24th.
Our core staff will continue working through this time to keep things ready to go at a moment’s notice. We assure you we will resume operations at the earliest opportunity that our medical care resources allow and within parameters and guidelines of what is in the best interest of the mountain, local and greater global communities.
We will continue to pay staff members who are scheduled to work through April 2 regardless of what day we may resume operations before then.
Highway 542 and access to the upper Heather Meadows lot will remain open depending on weather and the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Like you, we appreciate and understand how important the mountain is as a place to exercise, recharge, get some fresh air and do those things that help us all maintain our strong and good health. We greatly appreciate all the confirming and appreciative letters, texts and conversations we have received from so many of you about how important this place is to our community and we will do our best to continue to navigate this with you as we all adapt to what is happening.
We wish you all continued good health and hope that in this time you are able to get out and enjoy the fresh air and rejuvenating benefit of the so many beautiful natural places we have here in the Northwest and we hope to see you back on the mountain soon.
Duncan Howat President
Gwyn Howat CEO
Mike Trowbridge General Manager
Sam Llobet Director of Mountain Operations
March 14, 2020 Update
March 14, 2020
We at Mt. Baker would like to thank our customers for their support throughout this season and for their continued support, understanding and patience as we navigate this situation. We would also like to thank our amazing employees for their hard work in adapting to the challenges and changes we are facing. The feedback from employees and customers - in their deep appreciation for these beautiful mountains and their desire to continue working and enjoying this place - is inspiring us to continue navigating this challenging situation and maintain operations and access for our community while following the recommendations and guidelines developed by the health authorities.
This update is to help inform visitors about our continued ski area operations and enhanced measures we are taking regarding coronavirus:
- We are staying informed of current health official information, including recent proclamations by our governor, regarding COVID-19 and as issued through our local Whatcom County Department of Health, WADOH, and the CDC. We are also in frequent and direct communication with local medical professionals who are also part of our Whatcom County’s EMS and our ski patrol. We are continuing our operations and implementing guidelines and precautions accordingly.
- The number of customers and parking will be limited.
- There may be less seating and/or food service available at times in our day lodges than usual. There are also lots of beautiful outdoor seating options, including our outdoor seating areas, the mountain itself, or you can eat in your own vehicle. We encourage you to bring your own sack lunch!
- Daily Group lessons and private lessons are available on a limited basis, with limited class size. Spring Fling Komo Kids and Racer Development programs have been cancelled.
- We have posted guidance and provided enhanced sanitization supplies throughout the ski area for the public facilitate the prevention of COVID-19.
- We have instructed our staff to stay home if they have even the slightest symptoms of illness or fever or have been in close contact with someone with the same symptoms.
- In addition to existing hand washing areas, we have also provided additional hand sanitizing stations in key locations for employees and visitors.
- We have increased the frequency of disinfection in bathrooms, kitchen surfaces, door handles, and other frequently touched surfaces and are performing regular sanitization rounds through the base area facilities.
- We’ve put up CDC recommendation signage in public and employee areas.
Here are some ways we can work together to maintain a healthy mountain environment:
- Stay away from the area if you have symptoms of illness, fever, or symptoms described by the CDC or local health officials and/or are caring for others who are ill. Stay away if you have had contact with anyone who has been required to self-isolate.
- Maintain social distancing: No need to ride 4 to a chair and no need to ride with people who are not in your crew. Don't crowd in the lift lines, maintain space. Eat outside or at your car, keep a distance between tables and others eating. Bring your own sack lunch.
- Wash your hands, and wash them well!
- Cover your cough or sneeze, and wash your hands again.
- BYOP - pay with credit card and Bring Your Own Pen for signing.
Links to more information from the Department of Health and CDC:
Thank you for your efforts in becoming informed and we encourage you to review health official information sources. We will continue to stay informed ourselves and post any updates or changes that occur, here on our website.
We recognize that the mountain environment and fresh air are a great source of refuge and comfort for people in our community. We will continue to work to provide access to the beautiful mountains of this area while following the recommendations and guidelines developed by the health authorities.
Duncan Howat President
Gwyn Howat CEO
Mike Trowbridge General Manager
Sam Llobet Director of Mountain Operations & Patrol Director