[caption id="attachment_1906" align="alignnone" width="200" caption="The AS Outdoor Center has all the equipment any winter sports enthusiasts may need. Check them out on the first floor of the Viking Union. Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review"]The AS Outdoor Center has all the equipment any winter sports enthusiasts may need. Check them out on the first floor of the Viking Union. Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review[/caption]

By Matt Crowley/The AS Review

Now that Mt. Baker is open and headed for another epic season, goggle tans and suspiciously empty classes will soon be commonplace around campus. For those of you who have never been to Mt. Baker or are not familiar with the area, here is everything you need to know.



The AS Outdoor Center (OC), located on the first floor of the Viking Union building off of N. Garden Street, has loads of gear available for rental. A snowboard package including a board and boots is $14 for a day and $31.50 for the weekend. They also offer packages for cross-country skiing and telemark skis, but they do not have any alpine skis available for rental. For $2 they will also provide you with all the tools you need to wax your skis or snowboard, except for the wax itself, which costs $3.50. For a full listing of available gear, including snowshoes and snow shovels, visit outdoor.as.wwu.edu. The OC only accepts cash or check, so come prepared.

Other options for equipment rental include Fairhaven Bike & Ski and the Mt. Baker resort itself.



Lift ticket rates for Mt. Baker:

Weekends and Holidays: Adult lift ticket: $47.50 w/ tax, per day

Midweek Non-holiday: Adult lift ticket: $39.50 w/ tax, per day

Adult Season Pass: $730 w/ tax

College Season Pass: $650 w/ tax



The Mt. Baker Web site (www.mtbaker.us) offers daily snow and base reports as well as slope conditions and weather forecasts. Forecasts, of course, can also be found through your favorite weather forecasting Web site, such as weather.com or wunderground.com.



The Bellair Baker Shuttle will not be running this year, but, like last year, the Outdoor Center will be providing a bus to take snow-hungry students up the mountain on Saturdays. Keep checking back to outdoor.as.wwu.edu as details become available. Viking Village (www.forum.wwu.edu) is also good place to look for rides or if you’re trying to fill a seat in your car.

According to the Mt. Baker Web site, to qualify for a college pass one must "show all classes currently enrolled in, and that full tuition has been paid for 12+ credits, at the time pass is made. A current registrar’s printout with a receipt of full tuition paid for a minimum of 12 credits and a current i.d. or something with similar information are required proof. Pass will not be made without this proof."



While we’re not here to be your parents and make sure you have plenty of warm clothes and a helmet, those looking to venture into Mt. Baker’s backcountry should make sure they are prepared before they go. Picking up an avalanche probe/transceiver from the Outdoor Center isn’t a bad idea. The OC also offers avalanche certification classes for $275 for Western students and $290 for general participants. The next class will take place Dec. 9 to 13. Although it may not be necessary for those of you just trying to hit up the bunny slopes, it could come in handy for the more rugged enthusiasts among us.

If you’re looking to earn some credit and learn a thing or two, Western will be offering beginning, intermediate and advanced skiing and snowboarding classes for winter quarter, so keep that in mind while registering. Classes will take place Sundays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a flat fee of $224.55 that covers instruction and transportation; students are responsible for their own equipment and lift tickets.

Although fall quarter is almost over and many of you will be heading home for break, it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead and begin thinking about trips up the Mt. Baker Highway once winter quarter starts. Just try not to skip too many classes.