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First Time Backcountry Skiing

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First Time Backcountry Skiing

Postby Varun916 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:48 am

Hi Folks,

A friend and I are looking for a fun, challenging 3-4 day excursion (Dec 26-30th) on backcountry/xcountry skis and were wondering if you have any suggestions for places/routes in Northern California. We have done a similar length trip before, but it was on snowshoes. I started another thread earlier asking questions about Desolation Wilderness, but I'm not sure that a trip like that would be appropriate for people of our skill levels. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Postby Varun916 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:58 am

I should have probably mentioned this earlier, but both of us are extremely competent downhill skiers, so the mechanics of skiing shouldn't be an issue for us.

We were much more concerned with the backcountry aspects of such a trip, such as the broken gear problem you touched upon. Neither of us has any avalanche training, and we understand that snow conditions are not ideal right now (unfortunately, we are both college students, and a trip during the semester would be impossible to plan). We were hoping to find a location where we could do a decent amount of exploring and challenge ourselves without risking our lives in an avalanche or falling into a half-frozen lake. The trip we did in the past was the Badger Pass to Glacier point trail/road, where we had the advantage of stable snow and a very clear cut trail. We would love to do a trip that would expand our horizons a little bit more this time around.

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Postby dyusem » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:26 pm

You may want to check out Mt. Lassen National Park which is a great place to get into BC skiing.


You may also make an attempt to circumnavigate Mt. Shasta although I'm very unsure how much time that trip would require on skinny skis...it takes ~5 days on foot.

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock ... hasta.html

Whatever you do, pack wise (including extra ski tips) and be careful and make sure you follow NOAA's weather forecast as it looks like some weather will be moving into NorCal on 12/26:

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Postby Varun916 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:05 pm

Hi everyone,
Thanks so much for the great suggestions. Lassen looks really appealing. I was looking at the map and they say that they have a vast trail system, but I can't find any good routes for a 3 day trip. As experienced veterans, do you have any advice for a good route to take?

And DMT, we'll definitely be reading up on avalanche safety, so no worries ;)


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Postby jibmaster » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:59 pm

The coast range in Mendocino National Forest is avy free and offers excellent tours.

Hull Mountain is great as well, but it's a rough road getting there. 4X4 helps.
But Covelo is an excellent place to ski. They plow the road and if you head north, you can summit Anthony Peak and continue along the ridge for more.

Snow Mountain would be another spot.
This mountain is HUGE. it would take several days to explore.
Good time to go, before the road gets snowed in.

Also, there may be a storm this next weekend.
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Postby Clydascope » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:32 pm

My first multi-day ski tour was out to Glacier Point in Yosemite.

One could easily make a longer loop trip out of it.

Too bad the view suck :wink:

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Postby EManBevHills » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:58 pm

A tour on the west side in Sequoia might be just the ticket.
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Postby Edgewood » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:33 am

A ski tour up Lassen road to Lake Helen would allow you acess to Bumpass Hell as well as the peak. It's seven miles up and takes most peaple all day to get there. Ten bucks get you into the park and backcountry permits are free and available 24/7. If avi danger is high(check at the visitor center)(was not bad today but that will change) A ski or snowshoe walk to Brokoff Mtn will for the most part keep you away from danger.

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Postby Varun916 » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:11 pm

Hi everyone,
Thanks for the replies. We did extensive research, and in the end decided to do Lake Alpine on xcountry skiis. The land is flat, and with xcountry we have the groomed tracks. We're planning a 3 night trip, which may be extended to 4 depending on how much there is to do out there. We'll be starting on the 27th and returning 30/31st. It should be real fun.

Also I just bought "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" from rei and will be thoroughly reading through it in the next few days.

Will post back with a link to pictures when we finish.

Thanks again for all the help!

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