When the conditions are this good there is no reason to drive five hours. But they aren't always this good.

Season pass holders for Mt. Hood Meadows will get five free days at Mt. Baker in 2014-15 as part of a new partnership between two classic Pacific Northwest resorts.

That's good news for powder hounds who enjoy the occasional five-hour road trip. Mt. Baker is renowned for its massive storms, consistently deep base, and excellent backcountry terrain. Like Meadows, Baker is independent and family-owned.

The free days are somewhat limited, to the following dates:

  • Any Monday through Friday from January 5 to February 28.
  • Any day including weekends from March 1 to the end of the season.

Here’s what Mt. Hood Meadows President and CEO Matthew Drake has to say about the partnership with Mt. Baker: “We sought out a compatible ski resort and ownership / management team that shared our core values, consistently provided a high quality experience with dependable snow that would excite our unlimited passholders. Mt. Baker has the terrain worth driving to and accumulates more snow than any ski area in the country. Our passholders indicated it is one of their favored areas that they want to visit in addition to Mt. Hood Meadows. We’re eager to add these five free days as a benefit that is a real value for our loyal unlimited passholders.”

Mt. Baker Ski Area General Manager Duncan Howat adds, “We appreciate that both Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood Meadows are locally owned and operated ski areas. That fact combined with Mt. Hood Meadows' long spring season and the area's variety of recreation will make for a fun opportunity for Baker's pass holders.”

If you are a Meadows pass-holder, you might want to bookmark the Mt. Baker website to keep track of snow levels. Every once in a while a huge storm will move in from the Northwest and miss Mount Hood but dump a few feet of snow onto Baker up by the Canadian border.

Meadows season passes are selling for $499 through November 2, $249 for kids 7-14.