When corn skiing is almost as good as powder skiing, and it’s the middle of June, you might be on Mt. Shasta. The following five photos speak to the insane quality that remains available on the north side of the mountain for skiers and riders who are still looking to earn some turns.
Some of the most dramatic sunsets I’ve ever seen have come from sleeping on the side of a mountain. A few days back, this session on Mt. Shasta was no exception. With the late June sun setting slowly, the mountain itself turned pink, while orange and yellow’s mixed together unfolding a scene that caused my ski partner and I to stop making camp, and just watch for a while. It’s a simple pleasure like this where one truly receives the good tidings of the mountains.
Although the current ski conditions on Mt. Shasta’s north side are much better than you would think for this late in the season, snow line is pretty high. It’s a few miles of dirt hiking to reach snow via the Northgate Trailhead, and if you do head towards Shasta in the coming days, you might want to think about setting up a high camp at around 10k feet. This will allow easier access the 4k+ shots of corn that will be surrounding you once you start getting above 9k. As nice as it is to wake up high on a mountain, it’s still pretty nice to wake up on the mountain regardless of where you are if the view is as inspiring as this.
For skiing on the north side of Mt. Shasta, ski crampons are a good item to have in your pack. With them, depending on your chosen route, you might be able to skin all the way to the top. Without them, it’s easy booting where the pitch starts to ramp up around 13k, but as always, hardpoints are crucial to ensure a good, safe time on the rest of your ascent. As you can see from this shot, there’s still plenty of snow high on the north side of the mountain.
The payoff? The north side of the mountain sees far fewer visitors that the south, west or east aspects. If you choose to head out on an adventure in the present, expect incredibly smooth panels with exceptional snow quality.
The look-back is a high prize for the ski mountaineer. Often when the line is more of an objective than snow quality, it’s this view after a memorable ski the seals the experience. But when the snow is so good that you just can’t stop, you get the unparalleled experience of the pleasure of sublime snow, plus the feeling born from the look-back. Shasta is holding both on the upper mountain right now and if you have any inclination to keep your season alive, this is as good as gets on the West Coast right now.
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