Mt. Baker ski bus still hanging on

A longtime winter ride program that shuttles young skiers from Oak Harbor to Mount Baker is back on course after doubts crept up in recent weeks about its future.

A group of parents worked with the Oak Harbor School District as well as Mount Baker Ski Area to extend a ski bus program that’s been around North Whidbey for more than 20 years.

The group signed up 18 high school and middle school students and secured a school district employee and other chaperones to keep the program alive.

The parents had until Jan. 2 to report to Mount Baker whether they’d have enough participation and qualified supervisors.

Although participation fell short of their goal of 25, the parents and a coordinator with Mount Baker Ski Area worked out an arrangement so that the program would cover six trips to the mountain instead of the usual eight, with the first one happening Jan. 11.

Through the winter ride program, students must pay $150 each to cover transportation costs then receive discounted rates on lessons, lift tickets or season passes, and rental equipment.

Last year, parents used a charter bus to transport Oak Harbor kids to Mount Baker, but the cost was steep, according to Lori Holt, who’s son participated.

This year, the Oak Harbor School District agreed to allow a school bus to shuttle kids and chaperones, however, it required that one of the chaperones be a school district employee during all of the trips.

Coreen Lerch stepped forward to take on that role, however, the parent group is still seeking another school district employee to keep Lerch from having to attend every trip.

The parents also are looking for more student riders and additional chaperones. There is hope that more riders and chaperones could possibly extend the program to eight weeks.

The winter ride program is aimed at high school and middle school students.

Single riders may join the group for $33 a trip. Students and parents qualify for that rate.



n For information about Oak Harbor’s program, or to sign up, call Lori Holt at 360-544-4107, or email to her at


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