Mt Baker Ski Resort Terrain

Mt Baker Ski Resort Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Mt Baker Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    3,589 – 5,089 (1,500)
  • Average Snow Fall
    688 inches
  • Lifts (10)
    8 quad chairs
    2 handle tows
  • Ski Season
    mid Nov - mid Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 38
    Size – 1,000 acres
    Beginner - 24%
    Intermediate - 45%
    Expert - 31%

Mount Baker Ski Area Terrain

The Mt Baker ski area is spread across two mountains. Mount Shuskan (pronounced “Shuck-sun”) rises to 9,131 feet (2,783 metres) but the chair only goes to 5,089 feet (1,551 metres). This side of the resort has the White Salmon Day Lodge and base area. On the other side of the Mount Baker Ski Area, Panorama Dome rises to 5,000 feet and has the Heather Meadows base area. Skiing and snowboarding from the Heather Meadows area involves a bit of uphill to then go downhill on a lift that then picks the odd vagrant up at the mid–station (even if there are three on the chair already).

Both sides of the Mt Baker Ski Resort have the gentle terrain near the base, and the Panorama Dome side in particular gets very steep towards the top.


The Mt Baker ski resort has 10 lifts, of which 8 are slow fixed grip quad chairs, none of which have safety bars. Chairs 1 and 2 don’t run on weekdays, but Chair 6 gives access to all of the Chair 1 terrain with a short walk. Pan Face, The Chute, Austin and all the Chair 1 cliffs are easily accessed. If the Pan Face area is closed due to avalanche danger, ask patrol when it its likely to open and be ready get out there!

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets are inexpensive and they’re even cheaper on weekdays. Kids 6 and under and 5th graders ski free. Access to the handle tow is free and beginners get significant discounts if they just use chair 2 (open weekends and holidays only).

Mt Baker Snow and Weather Conditions

Mount Baker Ski Area receives insane amounts of snow and if you’re looking to get a tan, this is not the spot for you (unless you travel in spring) due to frequent stormy and whiteout conditions.

Baker’s claim to fame is that it holds the world record for the most recorded snowfall in a season, a whopping 1,140 inches (29 metres)! And the annual average snowfall is up there as one of the highest for a ski resort in the world (a couple of the Hokkaido ski resorts might give Baker a run for its money). Needless to say, with that much snow from Mother Nature, manmade snowmaking is not required.

The Mt Baker ski resort has a very low elevation so the freezing level can yo-yo and a day can be rather borderline between powder and needing to wear your raincoat. It’s also common for the ski area to get into a melt freeze cycle.

For the Powder Hound

Due to Mount Baker Ski Area not being a destination resort and being reasonably isolated, crowds are usually not a major issue….except on a weekend powder day. The ratio of expert riders at Mt Baker is incredibly high, and considering the small size of the in-bounds terrain, unless you’re on the first lift you won’t be getting freshies.

Midweek it’s relatively quiet and we had an absolute ball. And just our luck (call it good management) it puked in time for some fine Monday freshies. Try 8 inches overnight with another 12 inches falling on top of that before lunch – all on a 200 inch base. Jealous? Drooling? Spewing you weren’t there? Sneering because you’ve been there when it was better? Whatever – point is the locals will hate me for saying what you already know. Baker is fun. Look at the weather, go when it dumps on a weekday, and get to know the mountain.

The locals will also hate me for saying it, but before the lifts open, you can do a few drop ins off the Heather Meadows road and get picked up on the road, a short drive back down the road from the White Salmon turnoff.

Mt Baker Skiing for the Beginner

Mt Baker has some decent beginner terrain that is conveniently located near the two day lodges. The free handle tow is a bonus and easy progression potential can then be found off Chair 7, 4, 3 and 2. The only downside for beginners is that Mt Baker has a lot of powder days, and learning to ski or snowboard in a foot of fresh powder is darn difficult.

Intermediate Skiing Mt Baker

Ditto for intermediates. Those used to carving on firm groomers will find it tricky with all that powder. There also isn’t that much good intermediate terrain with only a few poxy runs near the bottom, or one chair that services various meandering blue runs that lack consistent fall line.

Terrain Park

Mt Baker is not the place to come to ride a terrain park.

Mt Baker Skiing - Advanced

Chairs 1 and 6 provide access to some single black diamond terrain either side of the cliffs. This includes some wide open runs where you can bash through the moguls to your knees’ delight, and there are also some challenging lines amongst the trees.

The double black run under Chair 5 called Gaby’s is a bit of a doddle relative to some of the extreme terrain and could be attempted by most advanced riders.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

In the gnarly inbounds terrain department Baker excels, with lines that fall into both the expert and extreme categories. The terrain is varied and in addition to cliffs, there are chutes, bowls, cornices, and trees. All these areas are roped off with warning signs but unlike most resorts, it is OK to go under the ropes as long as the signage doesn’t say ‘closed’. Many of the cliffs are just marked with a little orange disk so keep your eyes orange-peeled.

Cliffs and chutes off Chair 1 are accessible from the top of Chair 6 as well. They are the most challenging and The Chute under Chair 1 is perfect for show ponies with supreme skills. Other steeps and chutes accessible from Chairs 5 and 8 are less intimidating but still rate high in the pucker range.


Backcountry access is permitted from the Mount Baker ski area and some of the best skiing lies just outside the boundary gates. Easy access to the backcountry is from the top of Chair 8. There is a whole lot of terrain out there….

As to be expected considering the steep terrain and abundant snow, avalanches are a problem, so check the avi conditions and bring your backcountry pack and at least one buddy. This area is definitely only for those who are backcountry savvy.