Mount Baker Ski Area Opens Early for 2015: An Interview with Doug Ziegler


An interview with Doug Ziegler.

Doug Ziegler is a snowboarding enthusiast with a love of all things outdoors. You will find him driving his Subaru WRX up the mountainside of Baker, Stevens Pass, and Snoqualmie in the wintertime, snowboard and gear in tow. His current goal is to become a police offer to help keep the streets of the greater Seattle area safe and secure.


 

Due to the pleasantly mischievous work of El Nino, the Mt. Baker Ski Area became open to all snow enthusiasts on Thursday, November 19th this year- a full month earlier than last year. Mt. Baker is a draw for Washingtonians and residents of nearby states alike, with its towering peaks and winter wonderland terrain. This season we caught up with Doug Ziegler, snowboarder extraordinaire, who took advantage of the early opening to take on the heights of Mt. Baker on Thursday.

 

What winter activities do you do on Mt. Baker?

DZ – I only do snowboarding up at Mt Baker. I tend to go up there and hike sometimes but that is early winter so I can hike to the snow and snowboard.

What kinds of runs are there for skiers and snowboarders?

DZ – There are many different types of runs at Baker. Most of the runs are intermediate but there are some beginner areas and some pretty advanced stuff. Baker is one of the largest back country hiking mountain areas that we have.

Why do you choose Mt. Baker over other snowy locations?

DZ – Baker tends to be the first to open every year. Since I have been deprived all summer, I tend to wanna jump back on the board as quickly as I can.

How are the lodges at the top of Mt. Baker?

DZ – Baker actually has two main lodge areas and one mid mountain. I tend to park at the lower lodge at Heather Meadows because it tends to be less crowded and more advanced terrain compared to the upper lodge at Pan Dome which is mostly where the beginner area is at. There is also the Raven Hut at the base of the “valley” between the two sections of the mountain. This is only accessible via either a long hike or from snowboarding/skiing to it.

What is your favorite part about Mt. Baker?

DZ – There isn’t just one single thing I can really pinpoint about Baker. I do enjoy the vastness of it. And I guess if I HAD to pinpoint one thing, I love that every time I am there, it’s something new. I only go up there at most a couple times a year so I am always looking for new stuff there and it seems to be changing all the time.

If you could only do one run on Mt. Baker’s slopes, which one would it be?

DZ – This is a tough question. I don’t know Baker well enough to really pick a single run. It also heavily depends on the type of snowfall there is. Don’t want to do off-trail when it’s all icy but don’t wanna stay on-trail when the powder is fresh. I would probably narrow it down to Chair 8 if I had to choose a section. It tends to be the chair with the most options to offer.

How is Mt. Baker’s current snow and weather?

DZ – Baker is really a hit or miss mountain. You can guess on the weather with the weather reports but the best thing to do is hope for the best. I have been up there in perfect blue bird conditions (this past Thursday) and I have been up there when it was cold, windy and the wind chill factor was at negative 15. That was a day I actually got cold.

Would you continue to go back to Mt. Baker if the snow holds?

DZ – I definitely will continue to go to Baker until the day I cannot snowboard anymore. I do only go there a couple times a year because Stevens Pass is and will always be my home mountain. I grew up on that mountain and will continue to go there mostly. But Baker will always draw me to itself with its terrain and always-changing experience.

 

For adults, Mt. Baker’s season pass costs $790. More snow is expected from the coming months and many people are already scheduling their winter seasons to fit the demands of skiing or snowboarding Mt. Baker. Doug Ziegler took advantage of the early opening, but you’ll probably find him scaling the snowy cliffs of Stevens Pass from here on out. If you’re a lover of all things powdery, white, and snowy, hop on over to Mt. Baker’s website to get the directions and information you need.