Explore-Share logo and link to home

Introduction to backcountry skiing weekend on Mt. Shasta (2 days)


Come to Northern California and take on the volcano of Mt. Shasta with a certified guide from SWS Mountain Guides and enjoy a weekend introduction to backcountry skiing program in perfect snow conditions. Make the transition from capable resort skier to full-fledged powder hound.


Cascade Range

2 Days

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr




  • Develop backcountry skills and improve as an overall skier.
  • Take in the beautiful scenery and perfect ski conditions of Shasta.
  • Learn tips and techniques from a certified local guide and expert.


Dig into fresh powder and world-class runs on a two-day introduction to backcountry skiing weekend on Mt. Shasta in the Cascade Range! Take your piste proficiency into the backcountry of an iconic California mountain and learn the ropes of untamed wilderness skiing with an expert guide!

Mt. Shasta (4,322m) is a delicious objective for skiers, mountaineers, and hikers alike. Located in Siskiyou County at the southern end of the Cascade Mountains, it is the second tallest mountain in the range, and fifth overall in the state. It is part of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and boasts an impressive panorama of the Northern Californian wilderness.

This volcano has long served as one of the most sought-after ski destinations in the region for years, collecting a US record for most snowfall in a single storm with over 15 feet in seven days (1959). Your program is going to place you in the middle of the captivating backcountry of this behemoth, providing two days of unencumbered skiing to hone your skills and improve your techniques.

Mt. Shasta is a perfect place for you to expand your talents into the out-of-bounds world. Its backcountry has steep chutes, Alpine bowls, and mild glades, perfect to ease off-piste. My local expertise will ensure a safe approach to any obstacles, and you will learn essential methods to use in future backcountry endeavors. By the end of the program, you will know how to move uphill and downhill efficiently and how to choose wisely from the mountain’s various lines.

You will arrive the evening before your program and check-in to the Shasta Bunkhouse, located right next door to the SWS Office. This will allow us an early morning start over the weekend, giving us even more time in the snow.

The first day will be instruction-based, getting acclimated to the backcountry ski equipment and moving progressively into more challenging terrain. From the SWS Office, we will head to the Bunny Flat Trailhead. You can expect to go over skiing techniques, route selection, safety procedures, and a number of other lessons while getting the hang of the gear and the landscape. We will return to the bunkhouse for another night to prepare for a full day of skiing.

We will return to Bunny Flat on our final day to put our recently acquired skills into practice. I will make sure you are having a blast while taking on the exhilarating, challenging, and all-around satisfying terrain of Shasta for a fun and informative weekend that prepares you for other ski touring and backcountry objectives.

You should be in good shape to take on the Mount Shasta backcountry, with an intermediate to advanced skiing level to match. We will be heading into ungroomed terrain of varying difficulty, so please be prepared both physically and mentally for two days in this environment.

Book this introduction to backcountry skiing weekend on Mt. Shasta NOW and spend two days learning how to ski on an iconic California mountain and conquering the high quality snow of its slopes!

For any mountaineers out there, we can also switch gears and take three days to climb the Casaval Ridge of Mt. Shasta for an unforgettable winter ascent of a classic peak!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Permit and entrance fees

- Breakfast

- Dinner

- Harness

- Helmet

- Ice axe

- Avalanche equipment

- Camping equipment tents

Price details

Professional instruction/guide, Accommodations in tents while on Mt Shasta breakfast(s), dinner(s), ice axes, helmets, harness, group climbing equipment including ropes and safety equipment, group camping equipment including tents and stoves, permits, and permit fees

including Mt. Shasta summit fees. Not Included: Skis or Snowboards, Poles, Ski Mountaineering Boots, and Crampons are NOT included

but are available for rent either from SWS Mountain Guides (crampons) or locally (skis, poles, boots). For more details about

equipment, contact us for more details for rental options.



You will be staying at the Mt. Shasta Bunkhouse, a private lodging right next to the SWS Office. The bunkhouse has a comfortable bed with living room access, kitchen, dining room, and a shared bathroom with shower. Complimentary WiFi may be used at your convenience, and DirecTV is available in the living room.

More info

Two (2) people are required for a guaranteed departure. Rental gear is available at The Fifth Season, located close to our office.

Meeting point

We will meet at the SWS Office at 8:00am the morning of your trip, though you will arrive the night before at the Mt. Shasta Bunkhouse next door to our office.

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.



Find more ski touring trips in United States


Join our newsletter!

Stay up-to-date on the best adventures.