December 30, 2008 Big Agnes Two Track Gear

Big Agnes Two Track

In its two-inch version, the Big Agnes Two Track self-inflating sleeping pad offers a very warm advertised r-value of 6.5. To put that number in perspective, Thermarest’s equivalent winter pad, the ProLite Plus, is rated considerably lower, with an insulation value of 3.8. Exactly how objective those numbers are (and thus how valid the comparison) (more...)...

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December 29, 2008 News

3rd In-Bounds Avalanche Fatality of Season

According to the Jackson Hole Daily, a skier was killed Saturday, December 27, at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort by an in-bounds avalanche, making this the third in-bounds avalanche fatality of the 08-09 season. Statistically, in-bounds avalanches at ski resorts are extremely rare. Three such incidents at the start of this year’s season can thus (more...)...

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December 27, 2008 Skiing


What’s this? A ski report on SierraDescents? Stop the Presses! Why, I didn’t even know they did skiing on this site! I thought they just talked about sniffing tea cups and losing money in the stock market…Yes indeed, it’s a real-live December ski report, in which I managed to get myself to the mountains and (more...)...

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December 24, 2008 Current Conditions

A Christmas Storm

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you! Looks like we’ll be enjoying a white Christmas in the mountains this year. Heavy snows (18-36″) are forecast in the High Sierra, plus a very nice 2-3′ on the way in the San Gabriels. That’s going to be more than enough snow to open up most of our (more...)...

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December 17, 2008 Current Conditions

Report from Our Man in the Field

Well, it’s been raining all day in the Basin, and our dubiously-accurate patio thermometer is now reading a very frosty 37° as of 5:33 p.m. Pacific (official West L.A. temp at Santa Monica Airport is 45°). All this cold rain is translating directly into snow in the High Country. Mount Baldy Ski Area now reports (more...)...

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December 17, 2008 Tips & Technique

Cold Storm & Tips

Well I’m shivering here in my SoCal apartment through another stormy day. These storms are COLD! Our questionably-accurate patio thermometer currently reads about 44° F ( says we’re 50°). I’d guess that translates to a snow level in the 3500′ range, which means lots of cold, dry powder in the local mountains and of course (more...)...

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December 15, 2008 Current Conditions


Yes, it’s a bona fide winter storm! We got heavy rain overnight here in the Southland, and it’s still raining hard now. Looks like this is a cold storm. Mount Baldy says a foot of new snow overnight. Mammoth got 18 inches. Could it be that we’re suddenly going to get a ton of snow (more...)...

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December 11, 2008 Fantastic!! News


I’ve been contending with back pain for much of 2008, beginning with a severe cold last January that had me coughing and sneezing violently for about two weeks, which seemed to injure my back. Following that, I re-injured my back skiing about two months later. Throughout the year, my ability to rest and heal was (more...)...

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December 1, 2008 News

Forget the Dow…

“…Ride the Pow.” So says the Mountain High Ski Area website. It’s a nice catchy slogan, given the current market gyrations (am I rich? am I poor? every minute puts me in a new demographic!! help!!). But wouldn’t this pitch be a little more effective if Mountain High were actually OPEN? Just asking. In related (more...)...

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November 26, 2008 Musings

Happy T-Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Looks like we’ve finally got our first official winter storm of the season in the Southland Mountains. Mount Baldy says they got 2-6″ of snow. Up north, Mammoth reports a modest 5″ new on an admittedly meager base—but at least they’re open! Ski Dazzle Los Angeles is Dec 4-7 at the Convention (more...)...

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About SierraDescents

When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

Pray for snow.