Mount Baker, Washington
Credit: Corey Rich / Getty Images

Mount Baker, home mountain of the "Godfather of Freeriding," Craig Kelly, and an epicenter for early snowboarding, has a special place in many competitive riders' hearts. Seth Wescott is no different. "A lot of us growing up snowboarding in the eighties looked to it as this amazing place," he says. Now that he's actually made his pilgrimage to the mountain, Wescott holds the Washington resort in even higher esteem.

"It's a very unique resort experience,' he says. "It's still family owned. There's absolutely nothing corporate about it." He proves his point by describing the Coke machine. Instead of a Coke logo, it bears a picture of neighboring Mount Shuksan.

The backcountry reminds Wescott of Alaska – super steep, stable Pacific snowpack – and it feeds back into the ski area. He says the arm from Mount Baker to Mount Shuksan has some of the best backcountry snowboarding in the world and requires only a 15-minute hike that's mostly a traverse. And, thanks to Baker's geography – the peak is located in a funnel of mountains that catch storms coming off the Pacific – it gets pounded with snow.