Mt. Shasta is a spring skiing destination without any of the frills. Did we mention it’s an active volcano? Mt. Shasta is one of the southernmost and the second largest of the Cascade Mountains’ Ring of Fire. Granted, the last blast erupted in the 18th century. Backcountry skiers have long esteemed its numerous access points and mellow glaciers. That said, Mt. Shasta backcountry skiing is no joke. If you’re interested in making the summit, check the weather, be prepared for a challenging climb and know how to manage the crevasse hazard. Also, bring lightweight crampons and ice axes. Chances are you’ll need them on the south side, but definitely on the east and north sides of Shasta.
Avalanche Gulch is Mt. Shasta’s classic backcountry route
Most ascents and descents are for the experienced only. You’ll find more routes and lines than you can shake a ski-pole at. Ample guiding services are in the area, if you’re looking for a gentler start. Unlike the summit, low to mid mountain is approachable in winter. The classic line up is Avalanche Gulch. Some say it gets too crowded, especially on weekends. The Hotlum-Wintun ridge on the northeast side is a good alternative. The line off the summit is steep and unforgettable. Pro tip: Head out on dawn patrol with a small experienced group. The early rise will be worth it.