Words: Ben Hilley - @beninthebackcountry
Once a year the Weston Crew packs up and pulls the Tiny home westward to the snowboarding mecca of Mt. Baker for the annual Splitfest. 60 years ago, the 8-chair, Mt. Baker Ski area chose to welcome snowboarders rather than ban them, and now boasts a legendary snowboarding history. For those of you that have never been to Baker, put it on your “to-ride” list.
Scoping out the approach with Mason Davey and Good Woods.
Imagine if you will, a massive snowy volcano rising thousands of feet above ancient moss drenched evergreen forests. The slopes form endless backcountry lines, weaving in and out of ancient serrated glaciers, slowly making their own journey down the sacred face. Technically, it is an active, glaciated, andesitic, stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc and part of the North Cascades of Washington. Also known as Koma Kulshan, or simply Kulshan by native peoples, this sacred peak has been a holy place for snowboarding since day one.
Wandering through the woods.
You won’t find 5-star dining or crowds of foreign tourists here. Instead, you'll find some of the best inbounds, freeride snowboard terrain in the nation, and backcountry splitboarding possibilities are endless. Oh yeah, did we mention it’s also one of the snowiest places on earth? In 1999, the resort set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season – 1,140 inches… of powder. You could spend years in the Northern Cascades exploring some of the most scenic and remote mountains you’ll ever encounter and most likely without any other humans around. This place is truly magical and well worth the journey it requires.
Mason Davey on the descent.
Hence, Mt. Baker Splitfest… a three-day gathering of the splitboard tribe from around the world. This community gathering is about backcountry stewardship and exploration, making new friends, and tagging new lines. It is also a chance for the top splitboard manufacturers to meet their customers and offer free demos of their best products. Any avid splitboarder should put this event on their calendar and make the journey to experience this one of a kind event.
Good Woods shredding “Secret Chute” on Table Mountain.
Just like the mountain, the locals are a no bullsh*t bunch. What you will find at Baker is a group of core snowboarders who ride hard and hold this mountain close to their hearts. Visit the local town of Glacier and “get sconed” at the Wake and Bakery – home of the best coffee and breakfast in town. Stop and talk shop with Jeff at Mt. Baker Snowboards, maybe he will recommend some tasty lines. And definitely stop by Chair 9, the local apres bar and a killer pizza joint. Remember, support your local businesses!
Interested in a riding partner to show you the goods? Make friends with a local. Our ambassador John “Good Woods” Woods lives in Glacier and may be the last true snowboard bum on earth. If you’re in town for a few days, let the locals know you’re looking for Good Woods and maybe, just maybe, the legend of Mt. Baker will appear, let you chase him for a couple of laps, and entertain you with his constant positivity and true love of the mountains.
Sneak Peak into Good Woods' art studio.
Mt. Baker is truly the snowboarder’s mecca. If you do choose to journey there, give this place the love and respect it deserves. We'll see you at Chair 9.
Read more about Good Woods
Details for Mt. Baker Splitfest can be found at: