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3-day Backcountry ski tour in northern CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Castle Lake & Mt. Shasta

Backcountry skiing California

This 3-day backcountry ski tour in Northern California, entailing Lassen Volcanic National Park, Castle Lake & Mt. Shasta, is led by the certified guides from SWS Mountain Guides, who will take you to the most thrilling and fun backcountry sections of the region.

Private and Group

Cascade Range

3 Days

May, Jun




  • Backcountry ski in the best parts of Northern California!
  • Ski around fascinating and unique terrain such as steam vents and mud pots
  • Enjoy some of the freshest and deepest snow in the country
  • Choose from a wide array of challenging and fun routes and trails
  • Take in the always awesome Californian scenery and weather


I promise if you join me on this 3-day backcountry ski tour in Northern California, we will go to some of the best, most exciting and most beautiful backcountry skiing sections in the region, as we traipse and travail around the fresh powder and ideal conditions of Lassen Volcanic National Park, Castle Lake & Mt. Shasta, all while taking the time to admire the epic and awesome Californian scenery around and beneath us.

The Southern Cascades are a stretch of the Cascades Mountain Range nestled within the state of California. It is increasingly becoming renowned as having some of the best beginner to intermediate ski mountaineering terrain in the world.

Each day on this adventure will consist of a ski adventure at a different locale.

Day 1 is when we tackle the Lassen Volcanic National Park, notable for its unique ski scenery of volcanic areas of steam vents and bubbling mud pots, whilst also containing the deepest snowpack in California.

Day 2 is when we head up to Castle Lake, an area that features a superb combination of great skiing, short approaches and magnificent views.

The 3rd and final day entails the highlight of the trip for many, the world famous Mt. Shasta, renowned for its extremely deep powder and seemingly limitless array of routes and descents, all designed to thrill and reward.

The views from each location are truly unbeatable, with the lush alpine Californian countryside surrounding each place, and the usually sunny weather adding a lovely touch to the setting.

After 3 days we then say our goodbyes, hopefully having sufficiently pumped up your adrenaline and made you want to explore even more of this incredible part of California.

Indulge in some of the best backcountry skiing in California over 3 awesome days – book now to experience!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

Price details

Price is per person in a group. Maximum group size of 6.


Day 1: Meet, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Meet, backcountry ski around Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Day 2: Castle Lake

Backcountry ski around Castle Lake.

Day 3: Mount Shasta, Finish

Backcountry ski around Mount Shasta, finish.




Car camping every night.

More info

Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced Skier, Snowboarders

Meeting point

Lassen National Park, Mineral, California, USA

Equipment you will need to bring

Ski equipment

About the guide

Since 1981, we have been California's leader in guided mountaineering. From the Eastern Sierra to Mt. Shasta, we guide all of California 14ners and internationally.





What people are saying about SWS Mountain Guides

Loren Sweet


September, 2022

Had an amazing experience! What memories but must be honest, we were in over our head. Feel we were physically up to it but we went from sea level to 10,000 feet in 30 hours and it was a challenge to keep up. Some time to acclimate would have made a big difference. The guides were careful and supportive. We were outside our comfort zone for sure but also realize that made it so memorable! Thanks Loren

Jon Niswander


July, 2022

Life changing experience!!

Theodora C


January, 2022

I have summited some amazing peaks, but Mt. Whitney has stolen my heart. From her diverse landscape, to the ever changing appearance of her face each hour of the day; she is a wild beauty not easily put out of your mind. This Jersey girl hiked/climbed/scrambled-up/slid-down the Mountaineer’s Route, which was both physically and mentally challenging but, incredibly fulfilling. My guide, Matt M., was confident, extremely knowledgeable and skilled, and I am pretty sure part mountain goat. Best guide I have ever had, prettiest mountain I have ever been on; if you are considering this hike, I would say DO IT!

Bryan Vidinsky


January, 2022

Fantastic guide service! I have skied with a number of guides over the years and I have to say that the guide we booked through SWS was one of the most knowledgeable, instructive and fun guides I have spent time with on the mountain. From the pre-trip communication all the way through the climb and ski down, I felt that I was in good hands, which was really important to me as my climb/ski partner was my 17 year old son. Our trip was epic, 4:00AM wakeup to a full moon, beautiful climb and huge ski down, my only complaint is that it was only a two day trip! Highly recommend, great experience!

Rising Percey


May, 2022

Our guides took 27 of us, all of different skill level and age range 12- 50. We all loved it! Professional, friendly, helpful and highly skilled. I highly recommend them.

Magdalena Bucka


April, 2022

This was an amazing trip and overall super positive experience with SWS Mountain Guides. I had a great guide with lots of mountain experience and many cool stories to share!

Ken Manabe


February, 2022

The hike was great and I got exactly I wanted.

Barbara J Eikmeier


January, 2021

Too bad this review does not allow six stars. SWS is professional, client focused, flexible, and has the clients best interests in mind. I can say the personnel and leadership skills of the SWS guides are among the best. You can't go wrong with SWS.

Kendra Grubb


August, 2021

Excellent experience with my guide Ben and SWS. Was able to summit Mt Whitney via the mountaineer’s route thanks to Ben’s understanding of the mountain and assessment of my capabilities. Great experience that exceeded my expectations.

Oz Pena


June, 2021

Overall, the fair evaluation for the SWS Mountain Guides and the guide assigned to me is 3 stars. Reasons: 1. The guide did not seem to remember or respect the fact that I was new to mountaineering and that the name of program is called “introduction to mountaineering...”. For example, the guide set his own time for walking and resting without any concern to my physical ability for that timing. The guide walked ahead many times and didn’t even notice when I fell a few times. I understand the guide is not the insurer of safety or a hand holder, but a complete abrasive approach to the service is not right, especially when it’s a paid service. Perhaps, the guide is not a right choice for introduction tours. 2. There was a miscommunication with timing of the summit day. I thought we would start summiting around 5am the next day; however, I was told less than 15 hours before that we would start hiking at 1am the next day from base camp. We arrived at base camp early afternoon, and I’m wired up, hot, and not prepared to fall asleep between 5pm-12am, thus, I didn’t sleep at all. I attempted the summit hike but around 12k feet the sleep deprivation was killing me and I was catching myself falling asleep and my body trying to lay down while waking. The guide didn’t seem to concerned about this. Lack of empathy. Eventually, I had to insist we turn around because I didn’t want to go beyond 30 hours of no sleep and still have to descend from the summit. 3. The guide did help set up the tent and food. The guide did explain layers of clothes on and off and why. The guide did help instruct how to pack and why. 4. Overall, I feel this guide is best suited for advanced climbers not introduction courses as he seems to be more of a “ill walk ahead of you” not “ill walk with you” type of guide.

Harshikesh Panchal


January, 2019

Had an amazing experience climbing Mt. Whitney with Richard & Tim. They were excellent guides and safely got us to the summit and back.

Michael Smith


January, 2019

Neil from SWS was amazing. We climbed the Mountaineering Route up to Mt. Whitney. It was an amazing experience. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. I leaned a lot. I would absolutely use these guys again.

Jordan Kowalski


January, 2019

My guides name was Matt and we were lucky enough to summit Mt. Whitney during the winter. This was one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I have done and SWS did a great job throughout the process. Matt was such a great guide who took the time to educate us. He was polite, understanding and very helpful throughout the climb, I felt comfortable with him right from the start and look forward to more climbs with both Matt and the SWS team. Would recommend them to anyone!

Andrew Moran


January, 2018

Just finished my second trip with SWS Mountain guides...summiting Mt. Shasta a few days ago (previously climbed Mt Whitney last summer with SWS as well). This company provides excellent service both on and off the mountain, from addressing all my questions prior to the trip to establishing a well-rounded professional and fun educational experience during the climb itself!!!! Specifically, the guides on my trip were amazing, connecting with me on both a professional and personal level, keeping in tune with all aspects of the climb, emphasizing safety and education while helping me to fine-tune my climbing technique. Having used several different guiding services in the past, I have no hesitation to highly recommend SWS mountain guides!!!!

Neil Ferguson


January, 2015

I climbed Mt whitney with sws mountain guides in may 2015 ,what a fantastic experience me and two friends from the uk where led by john brown (jb) who was highly professional,knowledgeable and really good company.



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