Making Plans: Winter
You don’t have to look hard to find a whole bunch of winter fun in the North State. From skiing to snowshoeing to ice skating and sledding, it’s a frosty paradise in and around the Redding area.
The biggest winter draw, of course, is the Mt. Shasta Ski Park. An hour’s drive from Redding, the Ski Park offers more than 600 skiable acres with a base elevation of 5,500 feet. There are 38 trails on four lifts, including the brand-new Gray Butte lift, with the longest run clocking in at more than two miles long. There are three triple chair lifts, one quad and two surface lifts at the Ski Park, which sees more than 160,000 annual visitors.
From beginner to expert, Mt. Shasta Ski Park caters to every level of skier and snowboarder. And with more than 275 inches of snowfall annually and reasonable annual pass deals, it’s a perfect alternative to trekking to a Lake Tahoe resort.
Speaking of snowboarding, Mt Shasta Ski Park offers two terrain parks –Silvertip, focused on the beginner to intermediate, and Revolution, which is geared toward intermediate to advanced boarders. Rentals are available on site as well as a top-notch lodge with a full complement of food and beverages. Visit www.skipark.com for
If you prefer to create your own power on skis, the Mt. Shasta Nordic Center has you covered. Located off the road to the Mt. Shasta Ski Park, cross country skiers can access more than 14 miles of trails on the base of Mt. Shasta. Their hours are listed on their website, www.mtshastanordic.org, where you can also buy passes.
For a faster-paced adventure, Fun Factory Rentals offers snowmobile rentals and access to more than 300 miles of groomed trails surrounding Mt. Shasta. Located off Highway 97, they operate out of the Deer Mountain Chuck Best Memorial Snowmobile Park and offer one- and two-person rentals from one hour all the way to a 24-hour rental. They go over the basics and safety training, but the rentals are unguided and open to the whole family. Visit www.funfactoryrentals.com.
A great group outing or date night can be had at the Siskiyou Ice Rink in Mount Shasta’s Shastice Park. The 85-foot-by-200-foot rink is open seven days a week through Feb. 12 with public skate times during the weekdays and evenings on the weekend. And whether you’re looking for adventure, out to impress a date or just looking for a fun, chilly way to chill, ice skating is a great way to get out in the winter. The schedule is at www.msrec.org along with more information and prices.
If ice skating is too slippery for you, perhaps snowshoeing would be a better fit. There are tons of places to enjoy that activity, from ranger-led snowshoe walks at Lassen Volcanic Park to strapping on a pair and finding your own adventure at places like Heart Lake near Lake Siskiyou.
The Lassen hikes are offered in the Southwest Area, the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center entrance off Highway 36, from January through March for visitors 8 and older. Of course, you can also head out on your own near Manzanita Lake off Highway 44. The park doesn’t offer snowshoe rentals, but you can pick up a pair at places like Sports Ltd and Hermit’s Hut in Redding or in Mount Shasta. You can also snowshoe at the Mt. Shasta Nordic Center.
Close to Mt. Shasta Ski Park is Snowman’s Hill, a dedicated place for sledding that’s fun for the whole family. Near the Manzanita Lake entrance to Lassen is Eskimo Hill. Both offer sledding runs for you to seek either your version of Olympic gold-medal luge runs or just a leisurely jaunt down the snow – your choice.
Making a day of a trip to either Snowman’s Hill or Eskimo Hill is one of the best ways to spend a crisp, winter day as many families bring wood for a fire pit, food and, yes, even S’mores.