Ski Tripping: Seattle to Mount Baker

Ski Tripping - Seattle to Mount Baker


AAA Washington and HearHere present “The Curious Roadtripper”, a blog featuring a curated list of popular road trips and select HearHere stories that allow you to discover and learn about the history, people, and places of the land you’re traveling while roadtripping.

At AAA Washington, we like to think of HearHere as “The Ultimate Road Trip Companion,” and what’s more of a classic road trip than piling into the car and heading up into the mountains for a day of playing in the snow?

Ahhhh! This is the time of year when skiers and snowboarders just revel in the Pacific Northwest’s bounty of snow, snow, and more snow. In Colorado, skiers and snowboarders measure their daily totals of new snow in mere inches. Ha! By contrast, here in the Pacific Northwest, our forecasts and snow reports are in FEET! We get dozens of times more snow… and we have far fewer people in our liftlines.

So, when you are ready for your next road trip, throw your boards on the rack, get on the road and head up to Mount Baker from Seattle. Our first stop, about an hour from Seattle, is in Arlington as we careen off of I-5 and hit Highway 9 heading north. Arlington is the gateway to endless outdoor recreation and is strategically nestled (at least for us outdoor-types) between the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound.

With sailing, hiking, biking, and golf in the summer, Arlington is the place for recreation. The same bounty of outdoor resources that attract visitors today sustained the indigenous Coast Salish peoples for thousands of years.

Did you know that today you can stand and cast your line at the confluence of two forks of the Stillaguamish River just as the Stillaguamish and Sauk peoples did ages ago? Yep, and you can hear that story here

Arlington, WA

Arlington, WA

Okay, back in the rig and keep churning towards Mount Baker — we have slopes to hit! Wait! How about a quick stop in Sedro-Woolley? This fun town was built on the timber industry and life here still revolves around it. Where else would there be a “Loggerodeo” with four days of chainsaw carving competitions and a beard-growing contest that goes back over eight decades? Only Sedro-Woolley! The story of how four British bachelors founded this town, and how it got its name is one for the books — or better yet, one for you. Listen to it here

After Sedro-Wolley, we veer eastward into the Cascades. You know, the first skiers in the Pacific Northwest would be amazed at the conveniences that we enjoy today. Back in the 1910s, the Mountaineers — the earliest organized ski club in these parts — started climbing up and sliding down the slopes of Mount Rainier. That was a good twenty years before a pair of entrepreneurs built rope tows to get skiers uphill at Mount Rainier, Snoqualmie Pass, and our destination today, Mount Baker. You can hear the story of those pioneers of Pac Northwest skiing right here

After we cross the North Fork of the Nooksack River, we turn east onto the Mount Baker Highway — officially State Highway 542 — and head towards the end of a 37-mile dead-end at the base of Mount Shuksan. You may know that Mount Baker gets more snow than any other ski resort, but did you know that the Mount Baker Ski Area is actually closer to Shuksan than Baker? Yep. One year, not too long ago, the resort got 95 feet of snow and these days is the host of the Legendary Mount Baker Banked Slalom snowboard race. That story is right here

While we can't wax your skis or adjust your bindings for you, we hope we can entertain you, educate you and amuse you on your journey to and from your favorite destination whether it’s a ski resort or anywhere else. At the very least, we’ll give you some trivia to breach that awkward chairlift silence! Just begin your conversation with, “Did you know that…”

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