It's what brought us here, the legend of deep snow and steep terrain. Collectively the guides at Guided Exposure have traveled around the United States in pursuit of both those things, endless powder days and steep, interesting terrain; and during our experiences elsewhere we always heard lore of the place where you could indeed have it all. All of these stories seemed to materialize in the North Fork of the Nooksack Valley in Washington state, home to Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. It's here that we found deep snow, endless powder days, and the terrain has something to offer everyone.
We have ridden nearly every corner of the Mount Baker Backcountry that's within 1 to 4 days. And there is without a doubt this is the place to be. As one of the premier ski and splitboard guide services we chose to live here first and work here second. The result is a truly authentic connection to the terrain, the snow, and the community we have grown to share with others.
New to the Baker Backcountry? let us introduce you to it with the big open slopes, bowls, and faces that line the Bailey Lake Cirque. This glacial carved valley is surrounded by an ancient volcanic plug that is now known as Table Mountain. We can leave the cars and within an hour we could be standing on top of the best run of your life.
As our guests continue to grow with our guides we help each skier and rider develop a style that only Baker can cultivate. Big arching turns, fall line flow, steep turns, terrain compression and speed management, are all developed while following our ski guides. A classic line like the one pictured above requires patience, guidance, and respect and is known as the Stonemason Coulir. This rock lined chute is seen as the throat and mouth of the stone mans head. A sub summit of the larger Slate Mountain Massif. The Stoneman is a dynamic slope with its aspect to wind and sun and its position towering over the North Fork of the Nooksack: it wind loads, scours, get sun and stays shaded. As such it varies from steep and narrow early to wide later, this highly sought after and rarely ridden classic has layers of adventure.
The vast expansive wilderness of the North Cascades spreads out around the Mount Baker backcountry and our imagination runs wild with excitement anticipation of the next new adventure. From Mount Shuksan, pictured here, to Mount Baker the snow covered accessible mountainous terrain is unparalleled in the lower 48. With a complex network of deep valleys, steep cliffs, and convoluted snow loads, navigating that seemingly close terrain becomes riddled with green out navigation (a funny way to say that we loose visibility to the lush dense forests of the PNW). Throughout the years we have honed our craft by creating skin tracks that elegantly ramble through plummeting ridge lines, rolling powder bowls, and Douglas fir lined chutes.
Wether you ski or snowboard our AMGA trained and certified ski and splitboard guides know the aspects and elevations to treat you to the best snow imaginable. As passionate and dedicated mountain guides we believe that our desire to ski good lines and good snow is a direct benefit to our guests. We choose the best snow in the best terrain for the best of our groups. Which is you!
Imagine driving up from the rain forest wondering "where is this snow everyone talks about?" then start to see it slowly pile up along the road side, gradually gaining depth to the car bumper, then to the roof, then hovering overhead as the snowpack reaches 15 feet deep. Now with our choice terrain picked for the day we skin away from the parking lot and with in a half hour we can start riding fun warm up runs, with in the next hour we step it up to longer runs and maybe even steeper. Then with in an hour of the car we are riding spines and ridges with glaciered towering peaks surrounding us and just a few other tracks in sight.
Where: Located a scant 8 miles from the Canadian border Glacier, Washington is tucked away amongst the ferns, moss, and towering Douglas firs and Red Cedars. Next to crystal clear salmon spawing grounds and glacial till tinted aquamarine tarns. This small hamlet is the gateway to the Northwest Cascades.
When: Our season starts in early November when we start skiing on the local glaciers. Then by Thanksgiving we are skiing easier to access terrain. By March we are headed back out onto the glaciers and the bigger surrounding mountains. And as the snowline melts upwards we follow it all the way to the end of summer in late June. That's right a 9 month ski season!