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SMG/The Fifth Season Mt. Shasta Backcountry Ski Report 12.22.14

This season we’ll be posting regular ski and snow conditions reports from the Mt. Shasta backcountry. Partnering with local skiers, The Fifth Season, and the Mt. Shasta Ski Park, we’re here to share our knowledge with a healthy heaping of stoke and the hope that winter continues to deliver to California.

Mt. Shasta December 2014 backcountry skiing

Mt. Shasta December 2014 backcountry skiing

After a week of some of the best early season powder skiing we’ve had in years we’re still glowing over our good fortune. The Mt. Shasta snow pack is in great shape with this being one of the 10 wettest Decembers on record. We currently have about 8′ of snow at treeline, a little more above, and a little less below. The road to Bunny Flat is plowed and sanded with about 4-5′ of snow at the trailhead.

Mt. Shasta December 2014 backcountry snowboarding

Mt. Shasta December 2014 backcountry snowboarding

Early Monday morning (12/22) the clouds finally lifted along with the temps to reveal a snow encrusted Mt. Shasta. The last storm cycle finished with rising temps and snow levels but still skied better than expected. We did observe rain runnels to about 8,200′ and natural avalanche starting from Sargents Ridge and depositing snow into the Old Ski Bowl. This likely occurred Sunday as the snow levels rose to almost 8,500′ and significant weight was added to the pack.

Avalanche in the Old Ski Bowl December 22, 2014

Avalanche in the Old Ski Bowl December 22, 2014

The current transitional state of the snow pack will greatly improve with the cooling temps and another round of precipitation coming with Santa on Christmas Eve. It may be our collective prayers, but it’s looking like the possibilty for a White Christmas will hopefully make all of our winter dreams come true. It’s still too early to be too optimistic, but we are excited to have a base and hopefully to be within the sites of the jetstream this year. So far, it’s been cooperating!

For climbers, we’re still leery of the upper elevations and being exposed to Mt. Shasta’s extensive avalanche paths. Winds are constantly shifting on the mountain and start zones are being loaded/deposited regularly. Use extreme caution above treeline and be aware of rapidly changing conditions.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and safe backcountry adventures this year!

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Upcoming:

Saturday January 24th. Mt. Shasta Ascension Randonee Race. A fun/competitive uphill ski race at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park. That evening trade your race suit for party gear and head out to the SnowBall! The annual party/fundraiser for the Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center.  A great weekend in Mt. Shasta

Comments

  1. Don Triplat says:

    Yo peeps. Good to hear you are gettin some. Keep it coming please. 🙂

  2. Was just in town and skied for the first time this season. May I suggest that you list the uphill race on http://www.ussma.org? Ski mountaineering / randonee racing is a fledgling sport here in California (several years behind UT and CO in terms of races and participants), but it would be great to coordinate California event listings through the national site. I just learned of your race from this post and unfortunately have other ski plans that weekend. Bear Valley has a three race series (last Saturday of Jan, Feb, and Mar).

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