An open letter to the management and employees of Mt. Baker Ski Area
Four of my friends, one of which lives in Seattle, and myself headed up to Glacier over Presidents' Day weekend for some skiing. I have a calf injury which prevents me from skiing or snowboarding. I am trained, licensed, and certified to use a skibike (including chair lift entry/exit). Prior to buying plane tickets and room reservations, my friend in Seattle e-mailed a Mt. Baker representative concerning the use of ski bikes, and was told that ski bikes are allowed on chairs 7, 5, 3/4, and 2. So, the four out-of-state guys buy tickets and make room reservations.
On our first day on the slopes, I have a great time ski-biking all morning long. After lunch, on my second lift up (around 1:30), a lift operator stops me from getting on the lift, and tells me that ski biking is not allowed. I have to disassemble my snow bike, and I get escorted off the mountain on a snowmobile. I pleaded my case (me being a middle-aged out-of-state guy with a brittle calf muscle) at the Administrative Office. I was told by both an agent and then a manager that regardless of my handicap and my training, I would not be allowed back on the chair lifts. Anyway, I requested that they simply observe my ability to safely use the lifts. The manager agreed to meet me an hour later at 3:00. The manager shows up at 3:25, and tells me to board the lift by myself in the middle of the chair, which is exactly how not to safely board a chair lift. I convinced him to allow me to get on the lift with an experienced skier so that I can correctly rest my bike frame on the chair lift arm rest. I gently explain this to him as he is the God of The Lifts, and I don't want to agitate this guy. As I ride up, he rides under for a bit, then races to the top lift station. As I meet him there, he ignores me for 10 minutes while talking to an employee about skate skiing. Then, he escorts me down the slope, as I take it easy with some slow turns down the mountain. Halfway down, he tells me I ski fine and that it is terribly dangerous to take a ski bike on a lift and that he will not allow me to use the lifts. He then quickly takes off on his snowmobile. What a drag! My ski vacation and vacation budget is shot due to the irrational inflexibility of this boss. He really did not care.
Anyway, my friends shortened our three-day visit to two days, and we left Glacier for Seattle a little earlier than we had planned. I want to let the folks in Glacier know that we had a great time there. The ski shops, restaurants, and live music were all good, and we met numerous great locals during our brief visit. It is too bad for such a nice community that the management at Mt. Baker is simply lousy.
Baker is a great area if you like challenging, ungroomed terrain.
The snow can be heavy at times and there are sometimes "rain events."
The groomed runs are usually packed on weekends and can be scarey to navigate due to the unpredictable behavior of the novice sliders.
Most of the good stuff is steep.
No fancy restaurants or shops.
Most of the good stuff is steep.
LOTS of new snow.
Varied, challenging terrain.
No pretentions, it's just a ski area.
I love the place.
this is not a 'resorty' type of ski area. They have a very nice lodge but it isn't Steamboat/Vail/Jackson etc. and it doesn't try to be. The snow is HUGE and the terrain is really great. Overall, the accomodations are a bit unrefined but if you want snow Mt. Baker is where its at and the cost ~$35ish/lift ticket is cheap for the quality of ski area Mt. Baker is. Have a great time!
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