We'll get the road to Artist Point open this year

Snow buries the road to Artist PointWe made the call this week to reopen the road to Artist Point, despite some seriously deep snow. It’s going to take some work, but we're going to make it happen. (Where and what is Artist Point?)

We hopped in a couple snowcatsyesterday, courtesy of the Mount Baker Ski Area, and climbed up the side of the mountain to Artist Point to check snow conditions and measure depths. 

Technically, we didn’t make it all the way to the top in the snowcats. We ended up getting stuck a short distance from the upper parking lot. The sun and warmth had softened the snow too much for the snowcats. So we had to get out and hike the last quarter mile or so. No biggie; it was a beautiful day to be on the mountainside. It was a little tough to hike in the soft snow but we managed – I know what you’re thinking, “boohoo for me.” J

Taking GPS depth measurements
Let me tell you, Mount Shuksan looked amazing. What a special place Artist Point is. The pictures from the trip are great, but they just can’t do it justice; you have to be there to experience it.

Measuring snow depths in the shadow of Mount ShuksanAnyway, the snow was about 30 feet deep in the upper parking lot. It was 26 feet deep over the restroom in the upper lot. There was one spot, just before the upper lot, where the snow was in the ballpark of 50 feet deep – that’s where the wind typically drifts and piles it up. For the most part, the snow was between 20 and 30 feet deep over the entire stretch of the roadway.

We have our work cut out for us this year. The plan is to send some equipment to the upper parking lot next week to start working on the deepest spots and cut some drainage ditches. We can’t do a whole lot of work until after the big Ski to Sea race at the end of May. They kind of need the snow in place for a successful event. We hope to hit the snow clearing hard by mid-June, provided the weather cooperates, and then, if we’re lucky, we could have the road open sometime in July.

Let’s hope this warm weather continues because it can move a whole lot more snow a lot faster than we can with our snowblowers and bulldozers. Last year’s spring was dismal (to put it nicely), and we never really got the warmth needed to melt the snow. Consequently, we didn’t open the road all the way to Artist Point. If I remember correctly, it continued to snow through June. Bleh!

Artist Point is open year-round, but it should be a whole lot easier to get to this year with the road open. I’m sure this comes as great news to many. 
View of Mt Shuksan from Artist Point

With views like this, it's easy to see why Artist Point is such a special and beloved place. It boasts 360-degree-panoramic mountain views of the Cascades, Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker and more. People come from all over the world for the incredible views.