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Skiing the California Cascades - Shasta, Shastina, & Lassen


Skiing the California Cascade Volcanoes

My first memory of skiing Mt. Shasta was approx 20 years ago on a road trip to Whistler in June. There were clear skies, full moon, classic Northern California high pressure, and three of us attempting to “knock off Shasta in a day” on our way north. The climb was a junk show, and we didn’t get anywhere near the summit, but the corn skiing from Lake Helen down to the car was epic. (approx. 3500ft) Not because it was steep or “rad”, but because it was truly hero snow that just kept going and going. High speed effortless turns on a soft, smooth carpet. Memorable, to say the least.
Fast-forward 20 years and Shasta is still delivering. With over 100 summits and numerous ski sessions on the mountain, I still go back for more. Some ski days are short laps down low on the mountain, others include up and over adventures with car shuttles or long hikes back up and over to make it back to the car. The California Cascades continue to inspire when I’m skiing with guides, guests, or old friends looking for the Nor Cal spring skiing corn harvest…
Last week began with the annual SMG guide training. We meet and greet potential new guides; re-connect with old guides (now old friends), and ramp up for the coming season. Shasta Mountain Guides is a lot like a small family that gathers each spring for a power packed summer of guide work. Work hard, play hard, has been the standard since I began 15 years ago.
So my week began with an “in-town” day of SMG meetings and slideshows, and slowly progressed into a classic week of skiing the California Cascades.
Sun & Mon were guide training skills days on the mountain, but we managed to sneak in at least 5000ft of skiing. Then, with guide training finished, Tues & Wed included two summits of the North Face of near by Lassen Peak. (Summit height 10,457ft and 4000ft climb x 2). And then, I was lucky enough to connect with the local Shasta crew to Climb and ski Shastina (Summit height of 12,330ft and 5300ft climb) into Diller Canyon. And finally I was lucky enough to have a three-day ski trip on Shasta, Fri – Sun, which included lots of short corn laps and one ski descent from the summit on Saturday. What a great week! Seven days of skiing classic Cascade lines. Approx. 28,000ft vertical of climbing and skiing corn, pow, and some variable snow ;)
Some seasons leave us short on snow, and some deliver the goods. This season has been a rough one for California, but the “Southern Cascades” always seem to come thru from my perspective. Climb it, ski it...

More photos from our May 2-4 Ski trip on Shasta:

Another blog post on skiing Shasta: