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New Snow on Mt Shasta - Low Visibility, Freezing Fog

Location Name: 
Power Lines to Old Ski Bowl
Mt. Shasta
Date and time of observation: 
Thu, 12/23/2021 - 4:00pm
Observation made by: 
Red Flags:
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Location Map

96067 Mount Shasta , CA
United States
41° 21' 53.172" N, 122° 12' 23.9544" W
California US

Snowpack Observations


A motor tour from town to 8,500 feet in the Old Ski Bowl to access storm snow conditions and overall avalanche risk. Despite below freezing temperatures from all weather stations for the day, it was a wet, soggy and foggy one. We observed rain in town and it was barely snowing at 4,000 feet at 1430 hours. Snow level was about 4,500 to 5,000 feet. Freezing fog stuck to your goggles and froze immediately, making for difficult visibility. New snow totals over the last 24 hours observed about 4-6 inches above 6,500 feet, though over a foot of new snow has accumulated in the last 3 days. Overall, about 60-70 inches remains on the ground near treeline on Mt. Shasta.

Due to poor visibility, above treeline terrain was mostly inaccessible. We dug a pit near treeline on an easterly aspect, in an area with no wind effect. Moderate to hard, non-planar failures (ECTN22/CT15) were induced about 20 inches down from the surface, at a density change interface. This weak layer was stubborn to trigger.

Wind blowing snow was non-existent near and below treeline, however wind speeds recorded from Gray Butte weather station indicated otherwise, with steady SW-W-NW winds blowing for most of the day. Plenty of snow remains available for transport above treeline and this was likely the case up high.

Near and below treeline, the freezing fog has created a half inch zipper crust of sort with soft (fist hard) snow below. Overall, the snowpack soaked up the moisture laden atmosphere today and while some dryer snow can be found at upper elevations, lower elevations is mashed tater-like. 

  • Observation Location: South Side Mt Shasta, Old McCloud Road to Old Ski Bowl via Power Lines
  • Elevation: Town to 8,500 feet
  • Date: 20211223
  • Time: 1600
  • Observer: Meyers
  • Sky Conditions: Obscured (X)]
  • Current Precipitation: Type - SN, Rate - S-1
  • Air Temperature: 25 °F
  • Surface Penetration: 1 - 2 feet boot penetration
  • Total Snow Depth (HS): 69 in (175 cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Depth (HN24): 4-6 in (10-15 cm)
  • 24-hour New Snow Water Equivalent (HN24W):  .45 in
  • Wind Direction: SW | W | NW 
  • Wind Speed: Light (L) below and near treeline; Moderate (M) / Strong (S) above treeline
  • Column & Block Tests:
    • Slope Angle & Aspect: 25º, E
    • ECT[N|[22] ↓ [20] in (50 cm)
    • CT[12] [BRK] ↓ [20] in (50 cm)


  • ECTN22@20in down
  • ~69 inches total height of snow
  • Power line road, just off 31 road
  • Pea soup, below treeline on Mt. Shasta
  • 8,500 feet in Old Ski Bowl and our high point, very low vis and flat light
  • Old Ski Bowl from the weather station
  • Snow Pit, Old Ski Bowl

Weather Observations


Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Blowing Snow: 
Mixed rain and snow
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Speed: 
Wind Direction: