Alpine skiing is very popular in northern California and southern Oregon. If you are looking for the epic back country experience or prefer carving groomers or hitting the park and pipe you will find all you need in the regions towering snow covered mountains.
There are two ski and snowboard parks in the area, Mt. Shasta Ski Park, located on the south side of Mount Shasta off of highway 89 and Ashland Ski Park, located on Mt. Ashland just off of Siskiyou Summit on Interstate 5.
Mt Shasta Ski Park has 3 triple chairlifts and one surface lift, gaining access to 32 groomed runs and a man made ski and snowboard terrain park. There are great turns to be had on any of the groomed runs or off run through the trees. Mt. Shasta Ski Park is open daily from 9am to 4pm and offers night riding after 4pm Wednesday thru Saturday (conditions permitting).
Mt Ashland Ski Park has 4 chairlifts which access 23 runs in addition to its acres of glades. . The ski area is open 9am to 4pm daily and is open for night riding from 3pm to 9pm (conditions permitting).
The backcountry possibilities in Northern California are limitless with Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, The Siskiyous, The Trinity alps, The Marble mountains and all of the other surrounding mountains.
The snow conditions are a huge factor in what terrain is accessible through out the year. In a good year with deep snow pack there is skiing available all year around. Some years the season is limited to the winter and spring months. Avalanche conditions can also pose a problem for those accessing the backcountry. Large storms in northern California can deposit huge amounts of snow in very little time, often resulting in unstable and dangerous mountain slopes. There are many other factors that can cause snow instability and lead to avalanche. There are a few sites that provide information on avalanche danger and are a good resource when making decisions on where and when to venture into the backcountry.
The right equipment is essential for successful backcountry excursions specifically when the powder is deep. There are a few options available to a person choosing to alpine ski can help you blaze trails in the backcountry. Snow shoes work but are not as energy efficient and are more cumbersome then alpine touring skis and bindings. Alpine touring bindings allow you to release your heal in your binding while ascending or breaking trail. With skins attached to the bottoms you can climb up snow covered slopes. Once at your final destination you remove the skins and lock your heels back into the bindings which allows you to carve down the hill in a true alpine skiing style.