today is Sep 27, 2022

Credit: Clay Malott

This weekend, we ventured up to Mt. Lassen in Northern California to see if we could find any good snow – despite it being over two months since the last big snowfall.

We left Red Bluff at about 6:45 on Saturday morning and made the roughly one-hour drive up to the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center at the southwest gate to the park. We contoured along the snow-covered park road to the heavily-used skintrack near the Sulfur Works hot springs. We followed the skintrack up West Sulfur creek to the Ridge Lakes basin to scout options around the area.

Mt. Diller, which skied amazingly well a few weeks ago, looked enticing, but we were worried that the early sun had already overcooked the corn past its prime. Instead, we opted to ski a delicious-looking east face of an unnamed peak to the southwest of the lake.

The east face in question. Credit: Clay Malott

We skinned up to the saddle above the lake and ascended the ridge to the summit. We ripped skins and transitioned to the downhill, hoping to score some perfectly ripe corn on the descent. Unfortunately, the wind had been gusting all morning and seemed to have kept the snow mostly frozen. The surface was a bit forgiving, but for the most part, quite firm and chattery.

Chad drops onto the face. Credit: Clay Malott

We decided to skin south to look for better snow on the southeast-facing slopes closer to Brokeoff Peak. Once we gained the ridge above these slopes, the wind was gusting upwards of 60mph and nearly blew us off the ridge. We transitioned and began our descent onto the sunny slopes below. Once again, the wind kept the top pretty cold and frozen, but once we got lower and the winds calmed down, the corn was very consistent and nice to ski.

Our tracks down the southwest slopes near Brokeoff. Credit: Clay Malott

We ascended back up to the ridge and tried some southeast-facing trees in the bowl immediately north of the one we had just skied. The trees sheltered the snow from the wind, so the snow was soft and forgiving – perfect for spring turns! Down low, the snow got a little bit heavy and mashed-potatoey, but 90% of the descent held amazing snow. At the bottom, we figured we’d try some north-facing trees in the same bowl, hoping the shade kept some good snow for us. We put our skins back on and ascended again to the ridge, where we then dropped into the shaded forest hoping to score some good snow. The snow was fairly soft and cold, so we went back up for a second lap. On the second lap, we descended all the way back down to the road, where we skied back to the car. The snow in the shade was still a bit chunky, but overall quite enjoyable.

Overnight, Lassen picked up 3-4″ of fresh snow. Looking at the forecast and seeing very little sun over the course of the day, we picked purely north and east-facing objectives, hoping the new snow would cover the ugliness of the prior layer. Thankfully, it did! With the help of some wind transport, there was a good 4-6″ in most spots.

We skied 4 north and east-facing bowls in a zone near Brokeoff. The conditions were best described as “dust-on-crust”, but the skiing was excellent nonetheless!

Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott Credit: Clay Malott