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SMG/The Fifth Season Mt. Shasta Backcountry Ski Report 1.30.15

Like much of the West coast, Mt. Shasta has endured yet another mosty dry January. Above averge tempertures and abundant sunshine has at least provided ski conditions in the good to excellent range on Mt. Shasta. It’s hard to complain with mild temps and smooth sun softened corn snow, but this is the time for frozen fingers and raging wood stoves. With our wettest months coming up, we’re still confidant that we’ll see significant addition to our snowpack. Until then, we’ll be enjoying the beautiful spring like weather and winter sun.

January 2015 skiing Casaval Ridge Mt. Shasta

January 2015 skiing Casaval Ridge Mt. Shasta

Our last measurable precip was on January 16 with 6″ new snow on Mt. Shasta. This greatly improved the ski conditions and has created a smooth supportive base and good to great skiing on many south to east aspects.

Clouds lift to reveal 6" of new snow while ski touring in Avalanche Gulch Mt. Shasta January 2015

Clouds lift to reveal 6″ of new snow while ski touring in Avalanche Gulch Mt. Shasta January 2015

The alpine climbing has been quite good as well with firm cramponing and low avalanche hazard on the entire mountain. It is still early winter and although mild, above 11,000′ the snowpack is not going through melt freeze cycles, the ski quality generally diminshes at the upper elevations. We discovered this while climbing Shastina and were rewarded with a full value outing.

Skiing Shastina's mighty crater rim in Winter conditions

Skiing Shastina’s mighty crater rim in Winter conditions

Thursday (1/29)  USFS employees were out for their regular snow pack measurements, we’ll report back when we hear what the totals are. I estimate we’re not too far below average, certainly at the upper elevations we’re doing well, and I’ll go so far as to say we may have some of the best skiing currently in California, although that’s really not saying much.

It looks like we may see some new weather patterns early next week. Let’s keep the faith, there is still a lot of winter to go. There are early forecasts for an atmospheric river and general instability in the atmosphere to bring us back into the storm track.

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Upcoming Events

January 31st Truckee, CA Backcountry Basics

Feb 6-7 Avalanche Awareness and companion rescue Mt. Shasta

Feb 14-16 AIARE Level I Avalanche Seminar Mt. Shasta

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