Artist Point Tour
Map: Shusksan Arm
Flyby Video -(1.8 MB-Requires Quicktime Player)
Start: Mt Baker parking lot - 4200 ft.
High Point: Hootoon Point- 5200 ft.
The Artist Point tours all began in the upper-most parking lot at the Mount Baker ski area. These tours are ideal for short half day outings, or in poor weather when you may not want to stray far from civilization. Starting from the south end of the parking lot head south along the cross-country ski area which is just west of the downhill ski area skirting along the outermost runs. Once you have reach the bottom of the "Austin" ski run, you'll begin to climb up towards Austin Pass, the first plateau on the route. The route then follows the summertime roadway that leads to Artist Point. Once you have reached Austin pass, the the road bears SW and winds its way up to the Artist Point which provides for excellent views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. From here you may head south towards Hootoon Point or west to the ledge of Table Mountain for a few extra feet of vertical. On your way up you'll see many different options for your return downhill runs. In good snow conditions, which is common on this tour, you'll have no trouble finding the powder.
One excellent option when heading down towards Austin pass is to continue to the right (south) of the Pass down towards the valley which heads towards Baker Lake. This provides several hundred feet more vertical in the trees which are nicely spaced for free heel turns. Skiers should be careful not to enter the valley beyond its initial drop from Austin pass. Conditions can be unstable as there are numerous steep slopes on either side. Likewise heading southwest beyond Artist Point along the south side of table Mountain is quite risky unless conditions are extremely stable.
When you arrive at Austin pass, there are several ways to head back to the base of the ski area depending on the difficulty that you want. For beginners skiers, the slopes around the cross-country skiing area provided short runs which are ideal for practicing returns in ungroomed snow conditions.