Enjoy Winter Sports in Mount Shasta’s Winter Wonderland!

Mt. Shasta Ski Team member David Carter, CA-NV High School State Champion 2012. Photo: Mike MacAllister.

Mt. Shasta Ski Team member David Carter, CA-NV High School State Champion 2012.
Photo: Mike MacAllister.

The winter months are upon us and what better way to spend our free time than to get outside and exercise while enjoying winter recreational activities. The Mount Shasta area in southern Siskiyou County provides an ideal setting for families wanting a place to enjoy a variety of winter sports, whether ice skating to some favorite tunes at the ice rink, skiing cross-country in the crisp mountain air, or snow boarding down a steep hill with 14,161 foot Mount Shasta as a backdrop.

The Mount Shasta area holds many exciting winter destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. Conveniently located just off Interstate 5, an easy drive from neighboring counties, it is a wonderful place to take the kids, whether they are experienced snowboarding enthusiasts, downhill skiing racers, Nordic skiers or those trying on their first pair of ice skates. If you’re planning to visit from out of town, the area offers conveniently located motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation homes.

What better way to spend the day with your family than to lace up a pair of ice skates and slide across the ice at the Siskiyou Ice Rink? Located in Shastice Park in the town of Mount Shasta, the Siskiyou Ice Rink offers recreational skating, lessons in figure skating and ice hockey, and hockey programs for youth, teens and adults. The rink also offers school group sessions, private parties, “Cheap Skate” nights, school holiday skate camps, holiday events (including a New Year’s Eve celebration), and an annual Outdoor Classic Pick-up Hockey Tournament (January 5).

This year the rink opened mid-November and will remain open through January 6. Pauline Uri, Vice Chair of Friends of the Rink (FOR), values the rink’s volunteers. FOR is a grass-roots organization that raised funds and gathered the volunteers needed to open and operate the rink for its 2012-2013 season, in collaboration with the Mt. Shasta Recreation and Parks District that owns the facility. Pauline states, “Many of our volunteers are teens who help as skate guards with school groups and at public skate sessions. We are thankful and grateful for their great spirit of volunteerism.” For information about the current season or the following 2013/2014 season, visit the FOR/Siskiyou Ice Rink website at http://www.siskiyourink.org.

Those who want to experience the beauty of the Mount Shasta region while getting some exercise will enjoy spending the day at the Mt. Shasta Nordic Center. Conveniently located near the towns of Mount Shasta and McCloud on the Ski Park Highway just 3.5 miles off Highway 89, the Mt. Shasta Nordic Center maintains groomed trails for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and is open December 19 through April 14, weather permitting.

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A skate ski event at the Nordic Center

Operating as a non-profit organization, donations are accepted for trail use or you can become a member. A Wednesday After-School Skate & Classic Ski Program for ages 6-16 will be starting January 23. The popular Sunday Youth Skate Ski Program, for ages 6-11 and 12-16, starts January 13. Scholarships are available for both programs.

Executive Director Justi Hansen is enthusiastic about the benefits of Nordic skiing. “The nice thing about cross country skiing is that it appeals to a wide range of users,  from young children to senior citizens,” she says. “The Nordic Center offers both solitary and social experiences. It is a great place to socialize with friends and families or enjoy a quiet solo ski.”

On January 18 the Mt. Shasta Nordic Center will present their Backcountry Film Festival fundraiser, held at the Sisson Museum in Mt. Shasta. The center is also hosting two upcoming races: the National Snowshoe Qualifying Race Event on February 3, and in March the Craig Vivas Dart Biathlon. For more information about events or how to become a member, you can visit the center’s website at http://www.mtshastanordic.org, or call (530) 926-2142 (info line) or (530) 925-2359 (executive director).

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For downhill skiers and snow boarders, the Mount Shasta Ski Park is a ski resort that is both easy to get to and affordable. Located just past the Nordic Center on the Ski Park highway off Highway 89, skiers and boarders of all skill levels enjoy 32 trails, plus two terrain parks for freestyle boarders and skiers. The park offers night skiing, a new Tubing Hill for all ages (tickets include a tube), and exciting annual snow sports events like the Pond Skim (April 13) and Big Air (March 30) events.

Young students ride Mount Shasta Ski Park's Magic Carpet

Young students ride Mount Shasta Ski Park’s Magic Carpet

The Mount Shasta Ski Park Learning Center offers classes for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities with a special “Guaranteed to Learn” package for first-time skiers. After two 90-minute lessons (morning & afternoon), the Learning Center guarantees that students will progress to chair-accessed runs by the end of the 2nd lesson, or can return for another lesson to achieve that level.

Other learning programs include “Family and Friends” (group lessons), “1-2-3 Learn to Slide” (includes a spring season pass), and freestyle skiing/snowboarding lessons. For advanced skiers and snowboarders, a variety of clinics as well as private lessons gives them the challenge they need. Additionally, Shasta Disabled Sports USA offers a “Ski Buddy” adaptive snow sports program at the park; visit http://www.shastadsusa.org for info.

The Magic Carpet is an easy way for children learning to ski or board to get up the hill on a smooth-gliding conveyer belt. Offered to children ages 5-9 who are enrolled in lessons, kids especially love taking the ride up because they can save their energy for learning new snowboarding or skiing skills.

For more information about Mt. Shasta Ski Park, visit the park’s website at http://www.skipark.com, or call (530) 926-8610.

For those kids who just love being in the mountains and have a desire to improve their skiing and boarding skills, the Mt. Shasta Ski and Board Team (MSST) trains skiers and boarders in how to navigate and enjoy the entire mountain. With an enrollment of 60+, the team offers ski and board programs for youth ages 6-18, as well as a Masters ski program for adults. A six-week entry-level “All Mountain” program introduces beginning skiers and boarders to all mountain boarding and skiing skills, ski racing, and the skills needed for boarding in the terrain park of Mt. Shasta Ski Park.

Mt. Shasta Ski and Board Team Program Administrator Elizabeth Keane explains: “We offer programs to fit any skier or boarder who is ready to take their skills to the next level. We have kids having fun at local regional races at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park and at southern Oregon’s Mt. Ashland Ski Area. For kids interested in exploring more freestyle techniques, our Freeride program teaches the balance and skills needed for terrain park apparatus.”

Rose Schreder, Redding. Photo: Mike MacAllister.

Rose Schreder, Redding. Photo: Mike MacAllister.

MSST’s talented and dedicated top tier racers are members of the International Ski Federation and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association; these skiers have the opportunity to participate in races held in Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain, and out of state in Alaska and Colorado, from December to May. MSST has produced dozens of noteable skiers, most recently David Carter, a team member and Mt. Shasta High School senior who won first place in the California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation’s high school championships in the Men’s Combined category (Slalom and Giant Slalom).

Visit the Mt. Shasta Ski and Board Team website at http://www.mtshastaskiteam.com or call (530) 859-3700 for information about participating.

The Mount Shasta area provides a superb place to enjoy all types of winter sports. Its excellent downhill, snowboarding and Nordic facilities are geared for all ages and abilities. Local residents are fortunate to have this as their winter wonderland, and out-of-town guests are always welcome!

Darla Greb Mazariegos
About Darla Mazariegos

Writer Darla Greb Mazariegos is a mother of three and part of the North State Parent staff.

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