Eric and I awoke for a lovely sleep in my car in the Mt Baker Ski Area parking lot at White Salmon Lodge. After breakfast we drove three miles up the road to park at the Heather Meadows Lodge. Here we walked a Cat track beside the ski area that offers access to Mt Baker Ski Area’s backcountry. I had my XC Ski book with me which described a great tour to Artist Point via this Cat Track and then along a ridge. We clipped into our skis and began to follow the track.

All went lovely at first. It was another great day. The clouds were still around to block the sun, but higher so the mountains were more visible. The track was freshly groomed and gently rolling. We stayed the the far right as downhill and back country skiers use the trail coming down at high speeds. And then we hit the first hill. The hill was steep, but not too long. Eric side stepped and I simply herring boned up. Then things were flat again for a few yard before we hit a BIG hill. I would have rated it as a Blue Trail if I was coming down it. Slowly we herringboned up the slope. At the top we could see were those with climbing skins and snowshoes turned off the track on onto the ridge to artist point. We could not cross the steep side of the slope in our skinny ski so we continued up hoping to gain the ridge on the next switchback. But we were greeting by more downhill skiers whizzing down from the top of Pan Dome… and herringboning for the next hour just did not sound delightful so we decided to turn back. We had to walk down the hills as they were too steep to get down with our Nordic skis, but once at the bottom were had a nice glide back to the parking lot.

Eric and I drove back to White Salmon Lodge and took a short tour up The Flat Cat Track just to the left of the main ski area. It’s a groomed snowmobile trail with gentle up and downs perfect for xc skis. It was short though and the round trip took about 25 minutes. Salmon Ridge, the larger Nordic area down the road did not have enough snow so we ended up heading home early unfortunately.

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