Snow Ball and Shasta Ascension Backcountry Ski Race scheduled

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
A photo at the 8,600 foot level in the old ski bowl on Mount Shasta. Green Butte ridge is in the foreground; Casaval ridge and Trinity chutes are seen in the background.

The Friends of the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center with the 16th annual Snow Ball on Saturday, Jan. 20, at Mount Shasta City Park and the Shasta Ascension Backcountry Ski Race at Mt. Shasta Ski Park.

Snow Ball

FMSAC board president Hanne Meyers said, “This season at the Snow Ball, we are excited to present a new format of events with a social/cocktail hour and silent auction from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; followed by a special ceremony to honor current and previous avalanche forecasters, live music, and raffle from 7:45 p.m. to closing. Our vision is to give guests an opportunity to socialize in a quieter setting before the headlining music starts. We will have bistro tables set up with pizza and appetizers, and local beer and wine for purchase.”

The Snow Ball is also one of the organization’s biggest fundraising events to support the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center.

The headlining band is the Moon Mountain Ramblers, a popular central Oregon band from Bend. The Moon Mountain Ramblers blend bluegrass, jazz, roots-rock, and more to get people up and dancing.

An extensive raffle and silent auction will be held throughout the night with prizes from The Fifth Season, Patagonia, REI, The Bike Store, and local artists and businesses.

An exclusive member-only raffle will feature avalanche rescue equipment. Members must be present to win.

Entrance is $25; kids age 10 and under are free. Tickets will be available at The Fifth Season and Shasta Base Camp in Mount Shasta, as well as at the door.

Organizers suggest early ticket purchase because the event usually sells out.

Shasta Ascension Backcountry Race

Also on Jan. 20, the annual Shasta Ascension Backcountry Race will be held at Mt. Shasta Ski Park. The entry fee is $20 and registration will be open from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at the Ski Park. The race will commence at 10 a.m.

For race questions contact fmsac@fmsac.org.

The race is open to splitboards, randonee and telemark skiers, and snowboarders. Costumes are encouraged. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes, fastest time in each age category, and overall.

The race follows a traditional randonee (ski mountaineering) format with “...a timed event that follows an established trail through challenging winter alpine terrain while passing through a series of checkpoints. Racers climb and descend under their own power using backcountry skiing equipment and techniques,” according to the USSMA.

A new course variation will have the race begin and end at the base area of Mt. Shasta Ski Park. It will have four checkpoints where racers will transition from skinning to skiing/boarding or vice-versa.

The approximate route will take racers from the base area to the top of Douglas Butte, then down North Saddle, out the Cat Track to Coyote Gully, and up Grey Butte to the Beyond the Boundaries Cabin.

From the Cabin, racers will descend Grey Butte, to Coyote Gully, then climb up a set Bootpack to the top of Coyote Butte, and then finally descend to the finish line at the base area. The course is more than five miles long and gains 2,633 vertical feet.

Course location is dependent upon weather and snow conditions. Visit shastaavalanche.org for up-to-date information on the race.

The Fifth Season will also sponsor a free backcountry ski demo day at the Ski Park. Skiers will be able to demo the very best in ski mountaineering/randonee gear available on the market today for no charge (valid driver’s license and credit card required).

Additionally, The Fifth Season and Shasta Mountain Guides will offer a free Introduction to Backcountry Skiing Clinic. The clinic begins at 11 a.m. at the Ski Park. Participants should pre-register at http://shastaguides.com/ as limited spaces are available.

All proceeds benefit the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center.