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For many of us Bay Space denizens,  getting our winter sports activities freak on means heading east to Dodge Ridge, Pinecrest or Bear Valley, or over the cross to the Lake Tahoe wonderlands.

However what if I instructed you to move north about an hour additional than Tahoe? Mount Shasta, an enormous, dormant strato-volcano, is the jewel atop the crown of California, dominating the panorama with its staggering snowcap and mysterious, saucer-like lenticular clouds.

The mountain stays sacred to the native peoples right here. However one of many native vibes is New Age spirituality, fueled by native crystals and metaphysical provide outlets. Legends abound right here, too. Probably the most enduring tells the story of the misplaced continent of Lemuria, whose descendants, the Lemurians, reside underneath the mountain of their crystalline metropolis of Telos.  O-kay then … transferring on.

As nightfall descends, the sunshine catches the peaks of Mount Shasta. (Images courtesy Dino Vournas) 

It’s a simple straight shot up Freeway 5 to Siskiyou County and the cities of Mt. Shasta and McCloud, with no pesky mountain cross to deal with. In Mt. Shasta I discovered cheap lodging, a diversified restaurant scene (together with the unique Black Bear Diner!) and a welcoming air concerning the place. In line with native enterprise individuals, tourism is extra the financial focus now, away from what they describe because the “Crimson Meat (cattle) and Board Toes (lumber)” of previous years.

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Mt. Shasta Ski Park

You’ll discover California’s youngest ski space — Mt. Shasta Ski Park opened in 1985 — about 12 miles from downtown. Nestled on the buttes to the south of the massive mountain, the park gives about 1,400 vertical ft of principally uncrowded snowboarding and sliding, serviced by three triple chairs, a floor elevate and a magic carpet.

The 32 trails translate into about 50 p.c intermediate runs and 25 p.c every newbie and superior — a family-friendly ratio. Lengthy-time common supervisor Richard Coots notes that along with fabulous mountain views there are two terrain parks, a tubing park and guided back-country ski excursions to his namesake cabin, Coots Roost, on the flank of the volcano.

In case you like cross-country snowboarding, a mile again down the entry highway is the Mt. Shasta Nordic Heart with its 14 miles of machine-groomed trails. All you want is a path cross.  Gear leases are additionally obtainable.

Particulars: The ski park is scheduled to open Dec. 27. 4500 Ski Park Freeway in McCloud; The Nordic heart, on Forest Route 31 simply off Ski Park Freeway, is open Thursdays by means of Sundays and holidays through the season, which generally runs from mid-December by means of late March;

Bunny Flat

For a fun-filled winter day, deliver your snow toys — I introduced snowshoes — and drive the Everitt Memorial Freeway up the massive mountain to wide-open Bunny Flat, the place the plowed highway ends in winter.  A whole lot of people picnic right here, take photographs of the mountain, construct snowmen and sled down the quite a few hills. Others stage and start their backcountry escape away from the crowds.

Once I arrived, one adventurer, Gerald Spini, 80, a life-long skier and native of Mt. Shasta, and his canine Bluey, had simply completed a five-hour up-and-back run that took them to 10,000 ft of elevation. I opted for a snowshoe hike up the unplowed highway, headed for the outdated Ski Bowl which was retired by an enormous avalanche in 1978. Alongside the best way, I took in wonderful views of Mount Lassen and marveled within the quiet and solitude.


In its heyday, the close by city of McCloud was a booming lumber mill heart with trains loaded with wooden merchandise going out to the world.  With the mill’s demise, the quiet, charming hamlet reinvented itself as a vacationer vacation spot.

Snow provides winter splendor to the nation lanes of McCloud and the rooftop of the historic McCloud lodge. 

Inbuilt 1915 to accommodate mill employees, the McCloud Resort was renovated by the Ogden household, who fell in love with its interval attraction and noticed its potential as a boutique inn. Current house owners Cindy Rosmann and Gary Bostwick have carried on the custom, including a restaurant, Sage, and turning the adjoining former mill employees’ cafeteria into the Axe & Rose Public Home this summer time. This dog-friendly lodge is charming, with facilities similar to Jacuzzis and soaking tubs and complimentary gourmand breakfast — and no room TVs, so deliver a e-book or browse the lodge library. 


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