Spot Checks: Mt Baker Road Gap
In the snowboard world it is likely that there is no single jump that is more iconic and highly recognizable then the legendary Mt Baker Road Gap. For decades local shreds and seasoned pros alike have been gravitating to this spot and assembling on the snow covered rock ledge that sits high above the 2 lanes of hard concrete, briefly contemplating, and rapidly stepping off the edge to cross the threshold that is highway 542. The Road Gap is world famous and has become a right of passage of sorts for locals and a check mark on the ‘must do list’ for the global traveling professional.
The road to Heather Meadows Lodge at Mt. Baker has stood for over a century but it wasn’t until 1989 that Shaun Farmer crossed over the highway on a snowboard for the first time subsequently catapulting the jump into the limelight. Since that day in 89 when Farmer took that famous leap (and a second one shirtless) the aura surrounding the Mt. Baker Road Gap has only grown and with it the fame. Since that day hundreds of riders have stepped to the edge and taken their leap of faith. From Mark Landvik to Jussi Oksanen to Devun Walsh, it is literally a who’s who in the snowboard world that has lined up and sent the kicker over Mt. Baker Highway.
The jump itself takes about 2-3 hours to build with a crew of 4-5 people. The run in can be dicey and is often considered the most important part of this build. It must be chosen wisely as speed is a big factor when you are hitting a jump that will be sending you over 2 lanes of highway while nearly 40 feet high. As the snowpack grows so does the distance down to the road and as the season progresses the jump can become a mammoth. The most daunting part of hitting this jump obviously is knowing that you are going to be sending a 30-40ft high air over dead flat concrete. The consequence of coming up short would be unfathomable and catastrophic. Once the jump is built and the run in is set its time to send it. Don’t speed check on the first hit. You are much better off sending it a little deep first try then the converse and coming up short. Once you got the speed figured its time to sesh.
Last weekend longtime Baker local Robin Foster and a crew of 4-5 built the Road Gap proper and had a nice snowy mid winter session. Some tricks were thrown down and some cherries were popped. After the session the jump stood alone in solitude awaiting another fresh snowfall and another crew of familiar and unfamiliar faces to dust her off and take their shot at the Legendary Mt. Baker Road Gap.
From Mark Landvik to Jussi Oksanen to Devun Walsh, it is literally a who’s who in the snowboard world that has lined up and sent the kicker over Mt. Baker Highway.