Mount Shasta comes alive with the arrival of Winter. With over three feet of snow since Thursday, and more in the forecast, we are assured of a White Christmas here in Northern California. Whether you’re a family wanting to sled with the kids, or an avid snowboarder looking to rip some turns, the Mount Shasta area has something to offer everyone. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating are just a few of the activities awaiting you in this Winter paradise. And needless to say, the photographic opportunities are outstanding this time of year.
Two of your best sources for area events and information are the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce and the Siskiyou Visitor’s Bureau. The Mount Shasta Ski Park is in full operation and will be hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration with live music, a torchlight parade, and skiing until midnight.
Backcountry skiing on Mount Shasta began back in October. With the recent series of storms, we are now seeing significant accumulations on the mountain. The Old Ski Bowl, at 7600 feet, is measuring 114 inches of snow on the ground. Castle Lake, at 5500 feet, is reporting 43 inches of snow as of December 23. Both the Everitt Memorial Highway and the Castle Lake Road are currently closed due to heavy snow. For the latest information on weather, road closures, and snow conditions, visit the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center website. The Shasta Base Camp offers ski and snowboard rentals, as well as outer wear to keep you warm and cozy. Styles, Ian, and the Base Camp crew are your best source for local climbing information. Check out their climbing wall when in Mount Shasta. For those of you seeking a guided trip on the mountain, Shasta Mountain Guides is the area’s leading guide service. Owners Chris and Jenn Carr have spent nearly twenty years skiing, climbing, and guiding on this magnificent mountain.
Snowman’s Hill, on Highway 89 between Mount Shasta and McCloud, is a wonderful place to go sledding with the family. Located directly across from the Ski Park Highway, Snowman’s Hill was once a famous ski jumping destination. During the 1930’s, numerous competitions were held, attracting many of the day’s best athletes, including the women’s world champion, Johanne Kolstead. This is still a very popular spot on Winter week-ends.
For those of you who love to ice skate, the Siskiyou Ice Rink, at Shastice Park in Mount Shasta, is open through January 6th. This outdoor rink is a favorite with the local community. They offer skating lessons and equipment rentals–all within the shadow of the mountain. When conditions are favorable, Castle Lake provides an opportunity to ice skate in a natural environment, but caution is always advised. You are skating at your own risk.
February is an excellent time to view the bald eagles at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges. The Refuges are home to the highest wintering population of baldies in the lower 48 states. (See my blog post entitled, Bald Eagles Find Winter Home at Klamath National Wildlife Refuges.) The Klamath Basin Audubon Society is hosting the Winter Wings Festival, February 14-17, 2013. Check out their schedule. This is an opportunity not to be missed.
After a hard day of having fun, stop by The Goat Tavern, in the heart of downtown Mount Shasta. They offer a constantly changing selection of micro brews on tap, as well as the area’s best burgers–and you’ll get to rub elbows with some of the local characters, no extra charge. Hot Tip: $3 pints from 4 to 6 PM. Say ‘Hi’ to John for me!
Please contact me with any comments, questions, or suggestions. I’m wishing you all a Warm and Happy Holidays! May your New Year bring good health and abundance each and every day!
Until next time, happy image-making…