You know it’s been a weird winter when people call in early February asking if we’re going to open the road to Artist Point early. Not just one call, but three in one week, and they’ve become more frequent as spring continues to blossom. The earliest we’ve recorded opening State Route 542 all the way to Artist Point is June 29, 2005. It looks like that record will fall, and soon.
A bulldozer and snow blower are clearing SR 542 to Artist Point.
Our crews began bulldozing about 15 feet of snow in the upper lot about a week ago, and Monday, April 20, they went to work on the road with a plow and our snow blower. We expect to complete clearing and preparing the highway in a week or so, then we’ll open the gate and let you enjoy an early spring at Artist Point.
|On April 20, the snow started a few hundred feet beyond the winter gate.|
|The bulldozer (upper right) starts clearing the path, followed by the snow|
blower (lower left). To give you an idea of the lack of snow,
most years at this time all that bare rock would be covered
with 10 to 20 feet of snow.
|The road to Artist Point is bordered by steep slopes in several places,|
including this area that is a section of one of Mount Baker Ski Area’s
runs that cross the highway.
Once we open the road have fun, but plan ahead and be careful. Weather conditions in the mountains can change quickly, so pay attention. If you go, take tire chains, food, water, warm clothes, blankets, etc., just like you would crossing a pass in mid-winter. Like I tell my kids, it’s better to take it and not need it than to leave it at home then wish you had it.
It looks like we’ll have a long season for Artist Point this year. Enjoy!