1st Annual ShaLassen

ShaLassen [shuh-lass-in] verb – the act of skiing Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen on back to back days. Example: I’m heading up north to ShaLassen this weekend.

ShaLassen [shuh-lass-in] noun – California volcanos that are ideal for spring skiing. Example: The corn is going OFF on ShaLassen right now!

I headed to ShaLassen with Stu, Tim and Nils a few weekends ago. I’ve been wanting to ShaLassen for a while now. In 2009, a friend and I attempted to Lassta unsuccessfuly due to an uncomfortably close lightning storm after the Lassen segment.

The original plan was to ski the NE side of Shasta on the weekend, but due to a questionable weekend forecast, we rallied a day early and found ourselves near the Brewer Creek Trailhead late Thursday night.

We set out at 3:30 AM to ascend via the Hotlum Wintun Route. The weather was absolutely perfect and Nils and I were able to skin, with the assistance of ski crampons, to 12,300′. We were feeling great and found ourselves on a windless and peopleless summit at 10:30 AM. This was only my 2nd time on the summit in such great weather, so we took advantage of it and spent some time up there.

Stu and Tim basking in the sun’s first light

Nils enjoying the calm weather and stunning views on the Shasta summit

When we dropped in around 11:30, the snow was perfect. We were able to ski from within 20′ of the summit. On the way up we had noticed that the Hotlum side was bumpy, while the Wintun was a smooth as a Heavenly groomer, but thankfully much steeper. We bombed down the Wintun with huge grins on our faces.

Smooth turns on the Wintun Upper Glacier(photo by Nils)

Feeling so lucky right now, I can’t even believe it!!!

Nils making his mark on the corny Shasta slopes

Back at our camp for the night around 2pm, we went for a quick swim in the McCloud, which is basically a post-Shasta ritual for me, and took some sizeable naps having had only 3 hours of sleep the previous night. The next morning we set out to ski Lassen within a time window that we would soon learn was tighter than we thought. Right before we left Tahoe Thursday, we had found out that the road through Lassen National Park was opening for the season Friday, June 1. When we arrived at Lassen on June 2, we found out that the park service was closing the entire mountain on June 6. There were 7 days to ski Lassen with a shuttle and we were there for one of them.

Turns out that we weren’t the only people with that idea! I think we saw about 40 skiers up there including 3 people I knew. Despite the traffic, there were no moguls on the NE side of Lassen, just buttery smooth turns that skied like deep corn. Racing down the slope that seemed miniscule compared to the previous day, we threw hard turns to make the snow spray. We were each alone in that moment, but rejoined the masses for the short walk out.

Phew! We just made it in the gate!

Quite the scene at the summit.

Nice and steep drop in (photo by Nils)

Stu hits a fun little air off the top (photo by Nils)

If Stu jumps off something, would you? Yeah, usually! (photo by Nils)

Working the corn spray (photo by Nils)

That evening we were home in Tahoe by dinner. We talked about what we were all doing for our “2nd weekend” in Tahoe, but mostly we talked about how we needed to make ShaLassen an annual trip.

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing

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