December 28, 2009 At the Snowbowl Video

At the Snowbowl

Back home in California now and watching these upcoming storms to see what develops. Here’s video of my day skiing the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Arizona—the mountain, for all practical purposes, where I grew up and learned to ski. I still love skiing the Snowbowl, and conditions were excellent, if a bit chilly. The day (more...)...

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December 26, 2009 News

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! We’re wrapping up an eventful trip to Northern Arizona which had us briefly facing sleeping in our car in a blizzard (I-40 was closed) but gave us a short window (the freeway reopened for an hour) to make it here safely and spend the holiday with family. Add in (more...)...

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December 19, 2009 Mountain High Boot Camp Video

Mountain High Boot Camp

It’s boot review season here at Sierra Descents—I’m currently trying out pairs of Garmont’s Radium and Helium boots, Scarpa’s Spirit 4, and the much-anticipated Black Diamond Factor. Along for comparison were my trusty Lange L10’s and Garmont Mega Rides. I should have reviews up on all of them after the holidays. In the meantime, I (more...)...

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December 13, 2009 Mt. Baldy: Not Much Candy Today Video

Mt. Baldy: Not Much Candy Today

As Forest Gump might say, Mount Baldy Ski Area is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Made it up today for some early-season turns—or so I hoped. Turns out yesterday’s storm rained ruthlessly on the mountain, coating everything with ice, ice, ice, including the chairlifts. Snowpack other than (more...)...

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December 11, 2009 Current Conditions

Is this ‘The Year’?

That’s the thought on my mind this morning. Another nice fat storm blowing in off the Pacific, with rain forecast locally into Sunday. Mt Baldy Ski is conspicuously silent on new accumulations. They’re saying snow levels are expected to drop, which may be code for, “It’s raining.” Mountain High says 2″ new snow—but they’re opening (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 Comments
December 8, 2009 2009 XMAS Recommendations Gear

2009 XMAS Recommendations

It’s finally here: the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the 2nd (or it is 3rd?) annual official top-secret 2009 SierraDescents Christmas gift recommendation list! Hooray! Hooray! Okay, I’ve been thinking, and I realize there’s a problem with this whole operation. My recommendations are really a list of things that I want, rather than (more...)...

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December 7, 2009 Current Conditions

December Snow

Raindrops on concrete here in the basin today. A very cold storm is working its way in, with snow levels currently down around 4000 feet in the local mountains. Looks like my $49.00 pseudo-season pass for Mt. Baldy is going to pay off after all! Speaking of passes, Mountain High is offering a $349.00 no-restriction (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 Comments
December 3, 2009 News

Gear Review Disclosure

The FTC has enacted new regulations which impact websites and bloggers who publish gear reviews. In particular, the FTC now requires disclosure of any relationship between advertisers and publishers which might not be obvious to visitors (more...)...

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November 21, 2009 Pieps Freeride Beacon Gear

Pieps Freeride Beacon

Do you check to see what kind of avalanche beacon your partner is carrying? I ask because there are a wide range of beacons on the market, and some of them are a lot easier to use than others. Case in point: the new Pieps Freeride. The Freeride is a tiny-tiny device about the size (more...)...

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November 13, 2009 News

Execution by Mathmatics

I enjoyed the original Freakonomics when it first came out. Written by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner, the book used economic analysis in clever and unexpected ways to expose “the hidden side of everything.” Freakonomics made its share of enemies, thanks to its occasionally radical theories, (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.