Over the past couple of weeks, El Nino has been kind to Utah, Tahoe and the Pacific Northwest. Mt. Baker native, Angeli VanLaanen, and Mt. Baker resident, Molly Baker, knew they had to be there. With photographers Re Wickstrom and Grant Gunderson and some support from Pep Fujas and Zack Giffin, the girls took to the mountain and schralped some pow.
For Angeli, the iconic Mt. Baker road gap has always been something she has wanted to hit. The stars, weather, timing and support aligned and she was able to make it happen. Molly, coming back from a knee reconstruction, was able to hit some cliffs and drops she had been looking at for years. And most importantly, we were knee deep in snow the entire time.
Mt. Baker is one of those rare resorts that provides an endless supply of in-bounds features to drop, jump off of and ski through. From skins out to the “arm” and mellow boot packs up to backcountry booters, Mt. Baker is an athlete and photographer’s playground; all while riding chairlifts the majority of the time. It’s where Angeli did her first 360 over 15 years ago and Molly bagged her first cover shot last season.
Not only does the resort have a plethora of opportunities, but the ever-present, ever-awe-inspiring Mt. Shuksan provides a background that begs to be paid attention to. The call of Shuksan has been strong in both Angeli and Molly for years and next week, they plan to climb the gigantic mountain with Anne Keller, a Washington local who was the second woman to get her AMGA guiding certification. Anne has climbed Rainier over 50 times and has agreed to take the girls up Shuksan next week if all the proper elements including weather and snow pack provide the right environment.
With all the snow, the athletes and the proposed climb, a feature for Freeskier may be in the works, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, Pep Fujas and Zack Giffin along with Molly, Angeli and myself skied around the other day playing with some graybird shots and having one of those “this-is-why-I-ski” days.