It was a tough call to leave Shasta with the best corn one can harvest fully available. But Lassen Peak is also known for serving up the goods, and with one day left on our three day California volcano tour we figured it deserved a check.
While I won’t say we were disappointed, by any means, it always seems anticlimactic to ski Shasta followed by Lassen just in terms of the sheer difference in size of the two mountains. Lassen is still a nice big mountain, but it’s nowhere near the grandeur of Shasta. Nevertheless it’s an amazing peak to ski, especially in primo corn, and it’s also a nice one to do as a more mellow day after logging several thousand vertical feet up and down on its bigger neighbor(s) to the north.
Our issue on this mission was the road through the Park is still closed. Check out these monster trucks clearing 20 foot tall snowbanks in June!
That meant the most classic way to ski Lassen wasn’t really in play. Normally, once the road is open, one can easily boot or skin their way up about 2k vert to the top of the peak and then drop well over 4k down the northeast face to the road where either a shuttle car or hitchhike can bring you back to your starting point at the south base parking lot. We could’ve just dropped it and skinned out, but that wasn’t our program for the day. We decided to take the easy route and ski the chutes falling off the east side of Lassen that allow a few thousand feet of great corn skiing and an easy traverse back to the south base parking lot.
Heading up we mainly followed the summer route, which is clearly marked by wands, and took in the views of a historic snowpack blanketing the National Park.
Check out the main face of Mt. Diller, one of the 50 Classic Skis of California, and one of the many other amazing corn (or pow in winter) runs you can do in the Park beyond Lassen Peak.
We continued up the south side towards the summit,
and were treated to sweet views to the northwest of where we had been skiing the last two days.
A quick switchover and look down the first chute got Jillian and I fired up for some more corn slaying.
Here’s Jillian laying into it,
and a look back up at the other chute I traversed over to ski.
The skiing was phenomenal, although I will say it was not quite the quality we had skied on Shastina or Shasta. Maybe a 9am drop would’ve been better? Regardless, it was worthy, and with only a few hours drive from Tahoe Lassen is for surely a classic and worth the minimal effort it takes to walk up and ski down in this unique zone of California. Like the access road to Bunny Flat at Shasta, the access road to Lassen is a great longboard descent that makes for a fun activity post-skiing; especially with snowbanks this high.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a ton of other worthy ski descents in Lassen Volcanic National Park (Mt. Diller, Brokeoff Mountain, Heil Peak, etc.), and there’s also weird things to gape at in the Park like this interesting bubbling mud pool complete with a deep stench of disgusting sulphur fumes.
Our three day California volcano run was now over, but fully satiated and stoked on bagging three of the best corn runs either of us had locked into since this past Juneuary, or more like last time we were up in this region of California, it was time to head back to Tahoe and check back in with summer at the Lake. Lassen should be good for a while, and if you’re keen on heading up there, and really want the classic link-up run, give the Park Service a call and time up the road opening. It could be one of the best runs of your season.