Love and snow were in the air as couples eloped, renewed vows and committed to one another at the Mount Baker Ski Area on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14, or Valentine’s Day weekend.
CEO Gwyn Howat officiated more than 15 ceremonies, complete with a champagne toast, a professional photographer and a snowy aisle to walk down near the top of chairs three and four at the ski area.
After the hill once again canceled the Legendary Banked Slalom — Mount Baker's annual snowboarding race — due to COVID-19, the staff decided to still hold an event. They opted for romantic winter ceremonies right on Valentine's Day.
In the past, the ski hill hosted large weddings, but due to the amount of work, they stopped hosting them, marketing director Amy Trowbridge said. This small event was a simple way for couples to say their vows in a winter wonderland and spend the rest of the day skiing or boarding.
MADISON AND SAM LIDGARD
Gwyn Howat declares Madison, left, and Sam Lidgard husband and wife at Mount Baker Ski Area on Feb. 14. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News) After getting engaged, Madison and Sam knew that they wanted a smaller wedding. Madison, who is originally from Bellingham, saw the opportunity to get married at the ski area and jumped at the chance. “Mount Baker has already had a special place in my heart,” Madison said. “We decided that instead of doing a courthouse wedding, this is the best place for it.” (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News) Madison and Sam drink champagne after the ceremony. In a few weeks, the couple are taking a trip to Iceland to celebrate their union. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News) Photographer Ryan Duclos takes wedding photos of the newlyweds among the trees of the ski area. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
TARA AND GILBERT ORTIZ
Fifteen years after they officially married at the White Salmon Lodge at Mount Baker, Tara and Gilbert renew their vows at the ski area, with Tara in the same wedding dress. Their two kids and three nieces and nephews attended their re-union. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News) Tara and Gilbert leave the shed, usually used for the banked slalom event, to walk down the snowy aisle together. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
Tara grabs her board to hit the slopes with her family in her white dress and white coat. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
Tara said she signed her and Gilbert up to renew their vows at Mount Baker as soon as she saw the opportunity. The ski area is extremely important to their family. Tara started working there at 14 and is currently a lodge manager. Gilbert has also worked there and their son recently started his first job on the hill. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
BERNICE AND QUEZAR QUIAMBAO
Bernice and Quezar Quiambao traveled all the way from Toronto, Canada, to ski at Mount Baker. A few weeks ago, they also saw the opportunity to renew their vows after 13 years together on the snowy hill in the North Cascades and signed up. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News) Quezar guides Bernice toward the altar. Bernice grew up skiing, but when she lost most of her eyesight, she had to stop. With the help of a ski club for the blind in Toronto, she’s able to hit the slopes with a guide, who is often her husband. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News) Bernice and Quezar link arms and drink their champagne after the ceremony. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
MAEGHAN AND BRIAN HUEBER
Maeghan Scott and Brian Hueber say vows in a commitment ceremony at Mount Baker. The couple have been together since they were 17 and got engaged at Artist Point in 2019. “We live and breathe skiing,” Maeghan said. “I saw this come up online and they picked us.” (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News) Maeghan and Brian embrace at the end of the ceremony. They opted for a small commitment ceremony to celebrate one another and their love before they host a big wedding later this year. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
JACK BUNNELL AND KRISTAN WARRIOR-BUNNELL
After nearly 37 years married, Jack Bunnell and Kristan Warrior-Bunnell renewed their vows to one another. They said they decided this would be an important time to recommit to one another due to life changes over the last few years and returning to their faith. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
The pair toast with glasses of sparkling cider. They recently moved to Bellingham from Kenmore, Washington. “This place has always held a really special meaning to both of us,” Kristan said. “We have a lot of amazing memories hiking with our kids and our Labradors. We want to have our ashes spread up here, so to me this was the perfect spot to come.” (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)