2020-2021 Winter Recreation Opportunities on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

EVERETT, Wash.–The 2020-2021 season for winter recreation on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS) has arrived. Forest Service staff want to remind visitors that while most winter recreation opportunities are available this season, our in-person public programs have been canceled.  The MBS is also urging visitors to research planned activities, weather conditions, and the location in advance.   

IN-PERSON EDCUATION: In-person education and winter recreation programs, such as Eagle Watchers and Ranger Led Winter Snowshoeing, have been canceled due to COVID-related concerns. The Forest is in the process of developing virtual opportunities,  visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

SKI AREAS: Ski areas within the MBS, such as Crystal Mountain and Mt. Baker, are in operation. Stevens Pass is scheduled to open Dec. 4; the Summit at Snoqualmie will begin operations once conditions allow. For information on local ski areas, operations, restrictions, and COVID-related changes, please visit their websites.

WINTER SAFETY: Visitors looking to snowshoe, hike, sled, or do other winter activities should always prepare for potentially hazardous conditions and possible overcrowding at popular forest destinations. Visit the Northwest Avalanche Center’s website to check conditions; prepare for alternative locations due to crowding; carry essential supplies; and monitor weather conditions.

“If you plan to visit the forest, make sure you are equipped with the proper tires for snow,” said Colton Whitworth, MBS public affairs specialist.  “Carry emergency supplies for you, your vehicle and passengers. Carry a shovel. Think ahead about how you would manage if trees fell across the road you were traveling on.”

Visitors are encouraged to recreate responsibly this winter to review these important winter safety tips before heading out:

 1. Low snow, don’t go. Avoid recreating in areas with inadequate snow cover. Traveling in these conditions can damage plants and soils just below the snow’s surface.

2. Travel only in areas designated for your type of winter travel.

3. Practice social distancing, as related to the COVID pandemic, and avoid congested areas; park only in designated spots; and have back-up destinations as many forest winter locations can reach capacity early in the morning. Maintain six feet from others or when in indoor spaces. When possible, opt to eat and rest outside and if you feel sick stay home.

4. Avoid traveling in potential avalanche areas. Use terrain to your advantage, avoiding steep slopes, cornices, and gullies or depressions; periodically check for clues to an unstable snowpack. Remember, one person at a time on slopes. An avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe should always be worn on your body in potential avalanche terrain.

5. Respect established ski tracks. If traveling by foot or snowshoe, don’t damage existing ski tracks.

6. If a person develops hypothermia, warm the person by rubbing him or her vigorously and getting the person into dry clothes. Provide warm non-alcoholic liquids.

7. If you must have a fire, use a fire pan and douse it with water until it’s cold to the touch when finished.

8. Dispose of all sanitary waste by packing it out.

For more responsible recreation tips, check the Forest’s Winter Recreation Guide, Outdoor Safety Page, and recreateresponsibly.org.

For condition reports, click here or visit the Washington Trails Association at wta.org.

For more information, please visit our website or contact your local ranger station.


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