Mt. Baker Ski Area is opening for the season on Thursday. Are you ready to ride this winter?
The informational meeting for Winter Ride, a multi-week chaperoned bus program for middle and high school kids, has come and gone, but it’s not too late to sign up to give your young skiers and snowboarders a lift to Mt. Baker every week.
Winter Ride provides transportation to and from the mountain as well as chaperones and the option for lessons and rentals for students in grades five through 12.
The price for eight Saturday bus trips is $100 – the same price as last year. “We’re happy that the school district has kept the
cost down,” said Melissa Solorzano, volunteer coordinator for the Blaine Winter Ride.
“The program is such a valuable experience because it introduces kids to a lifelong sport. I would encourage parents to get their kids involved,” she added.
Coordinators are hoping for around 90 kids this year. With two buses secured for the program, there should be plenty of room, Solorzano said.
Winter Ride coordinators try to provide a couple of scholarships every year for families that want to participate but can’t afford the costs of the program. Last year, community members supported two scholarships and Mt. Baker Ski Area supported a third. Solorzano said Mt. Baker Ski Area would not be providing a scholarship this year, so coordinators are asking for donations from the community.
“We have three families that have asked for scholarships and three more that are on the fence, so the more support we can get from the community the better,” she said.
Sign-up packets are available in the Blaine High School main office, the Blaine Middle School main office, the special programs building entry and at the Boys & Girls Club at 635 8th Street. Completed forms can be returned to the high school and middle school offices.
Ski and snowboard rentals for the whole season cost $162. Helmet rental is an additional $72, and eight weeks of lessons costs $75. (Ed. Note: helmets may be purchased for as little as $29 elsewhere.)
Costs for season passes and lift tickets vary according to age. A lift ticket for ages 7–15 costs $38. A lift ticket for ages 16 and up is $55. A season pass costs $210 for ages 7–12, $285 for ages 13–15 and $495 for ages 16–17.
The ski bus will pick up students in front of the middle school library, 975 H Street in Blaine. The leaving time is not yet finalized, but is usually around 6:45 a.m. The early start gets students to the mountain in time for a quick free breakfast with enough time to pick up rental equipment and suit up for lessons that begin at 9 a.m. Lessons run for two hours, after which participants can explore the mountain with their friends and chaperones.
Buses leave the mountain at 3:30 p.m., bringing riders and skiers back to Blaine around 5 p.m.
More information about the Winter Ride program can be found in the signup packets, as well as online at winterride.mtbaker.us
If you have any questions about the program or want to donate towards a scholarship, call Solorzano at 360/296-1513 or co-program coordinator Julie Apeles at 360/303-8335.