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.
Jan - 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!
- Accommodation included
- Guiding fee
- Permit and entrance fees
- Ice axe
- Avalanche equipment
- Camping equipment tents
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.
Two (2) people are required for a guaranteed departure. Rental gear is available at The Fifth Season, located close to our office.
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.
IFMGA | AMGA
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!
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.
Such a difficult, but the most amazing experience! Something you will never forget!
One of the best experiences we ever had. Amazing trip with lots of excitement, challenges and action - all in the most beautiful scenery. Our guide Matt played a crucial role making this trip a life time experience. Hi-fives to Matt and thanks for being the best guide! Best, Gustav and Mikael
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
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