Mt. Baker Opening Day: The Northwest gets pooped on!

Obviously, everyone knows that the Northwest had a beyond-crappy snow fall season last year—the worst since the winter of 76/77. I didn’t go snowboarding until, like, February, and I only went five times total in the Northwest. Of course, this year I was really exited to hear that Mt. Baker was getting totally pooped on, and the rumor among the proverbial “bro mill” was that the lovely and passionate people at Baker would be opening their lifts early on November 8. In fact, I was on the Mt. Baker Web site more than MySpace waiting for the good word. Finally, there it was: “We will be opening November 8!”

Our crew for the opening-day mission consisted of K2 Team Manager Ryan Runke, Nitro’s Tonino Copene and Mark Welsh, Janna Meyan, and Curtis Ciszek along with filmer Trent. James Jackson and Marc Frank rolled in to the already packed lot at about eight to meet us, only to find out that the line to get lift tickets was at least an hour and a half wait—it was stretched halfway down the parking lot like a Def Leppard show in ’88. I had to think fast, I wasn’t about to wait that long only to have all the sick lines I’d been claiming get tracked out by the smart people who came early. Then, it hit me—I grab Marc Frank to spice up my cause and head for the administration office: a couple minutes later, I was in and out with tickets in hand. The people who run Mt. Baker are so awesome—they love snowboarding and cater to our culture like no other resort.

Anyway, up the lift we go. There is no half pipe, no park crew, no triple kink, no gondolas, no cell phone service and certainly not a bad vibe in sight. Just gnar terrain and powder, powder, powder. Did I mention how deep it was? It had been dumping, and there was not a dry patch in sight. You could get waste deep anywhere off the groomed trails. Not to mention the fact that it was like the pro snowboarder hall of fame up there—I saw some of shred’s biggest hitters, from Mike Ranquet and Victoria Jealouse to the Huffman brothers and the whole Wildcat crew of Devun Walsh, Chris Dufficy, and Browner. The Volcom boys Billy Anderson and Ryan Boyce were there. Tyler Lepore, Wille Yli-Luoma, Pat McCarthy, John Lange etc. etc. etc. You name it, they were there. No industry talk here, and no film crews. Just how amazing that “last run” was, laughs, high fives, and the best snowboarding can get.