California Ski Trip On A Budget

“When I first caught sight of Mt. Shasta over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary.  Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”  – John Muir

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy skiing with your kids in California.  From the Bay Area it’s a 4.5 hour drive to McCloud, CA by way of Interstate 5.  

For me, a trip Mt. Shasta and its surroundings is mystical.  The legends around this sacred, magical mountain, the picturesque nature of its snowy peaks, gives me permission to indulge in the dalliance of these delights.  The mountain is known to bring out sacred powers of peace, harmony and many Native American tribes believed that Mt. Shasta was the center of creation.  Others say it’s the cosmic center point for UFO’s. Whatever the story or legend you gravitate towards, there’s no denying that Mt. Shasta is powerful and at the right angle you can see an outline of a sleeping lady draped over the mountain. 

Where to go: 

In winter we like to play at Mt. Shasta Ski Park.  This easy to access, friendly, down to earth, and no-frills resort offers ski packages, groups and private lessons, ski and snowboard rentals and tubing.  If you book ahead, you can get 10% off ticket prices and they send you a detailed email beforehand so you can ensure a successful experience.  All-day lift tickets can go as low as $52 for adults and $36 for kids.  Ski rental equipment runs $20 for all day during a holiday week/end.  This is huge savings compared to bigger Tahoe resorts where you are looking at over $200 for adults and $160 for kids for all-day lift tickets.  There are 425 acres of terrain for every level of skier, 32 trails.  Be sure to pay ahead of time online to get your lift tickets and rentals – the process will go much faster once you arrive.  Early birds get the first runs.

Where to stay:

After a long day of skiing at Mt. Shasta Ski Park, it’s then back to McCloud River Mercantile Hotel a 14-minute drive from the mountain- for a warm shower, and all the amenities this charming spot has to offer, including an on-site candy and retail store.  The Savory Café on site opens at 8am and there is a $20 credit per day for those staying at the hotel.  We stayed two nights in GG ‘s attic and couldn’t have been cozier in this close-knit comfortable hideaway with beautiful woodwork and handcrafted details.   For dinner options the Meat Market and Grill in the same building was a great choice.  Try to catch a glimpse of the sunrise in the morning and grab yourself that latte, coffee, pastries at the café.  Friendly staff, delightful treats will have your heart swoon in the February glow of Lady Shasta. 

A trip to the area isn’t complete without wandering downtown Mt. Shasta which offers retail shops, coffee houses, restaurants, unique bookstores, groovy crystal and spiritual shops, and art galleries

Other cost saving tips and activities:

  • Ice Skating at Siskiyou Ice Rink in Shastice Park behind Mt. Shasta High School
  • Free sledding or snowshoeing at Bunny Flats
  • Mt. Shasta Nordic Center for Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hiking to McCloud Falls, Heart Lake, or Castle Lake

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