With the snow dumping on the Northern California mountains on Saturday, the Mt. Shasta Ski Park opened to the public for a transformative season on the mountain. Just outside the boundaries of the ski park on opening day, a dangerous avalanche was occurring.
The Mount Shasta Avalanche Center reported a natural avalanche on the backside of Coyote Butte early Saturday morning, with the crown measuring in at about 2 feet thick. Nobody was caught in the avalanche on the east-facing slope, but it was surprisingly close to the opening day ceremonies at the ski park.
The Mount Shasta Avalanche Center posted photos showing the aftermath of the avalanche:
The backside of Coyote Butte is just on the other side of the runs on the popular Coyote Lift at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park. Despite opening on Saturday, park management decided to delay the opening of the brand-new Gray Butte lift, which will provide plenty of backcountry acreage just above Coyote Butte. With the avalanche issue on Saturday, it appears that decision was warranted.
The storm is expected to continue in Mount Shasta until late Sunday. It’s likely that avalanche conditions will worsen before they get better. Stay safe out there!