March 31, 2013

Esha Peak

Esha Peak

This was a bit of Sierra serendipity: as I was driving into Mammoth last weekend, I found myself staring at an unknown peak up the McGee Creek drainage. I snapped a photo through my car window for the archives, and then emailed my friend Jed Porter, of Sierra Mountain Guides, to see if he wanted to come out and play. Jed wrote back suggesting Esha Peak, which turned out to be…the very same mountain I’d spotted driving in (more…)

Posted in video | 2 Comments

March 28, 2013

Birch Mountain Benchmark

Birch Mountain Benchmark

I like Birch Mountain as a benchmark for Eastern Sierra snowpack conditions because it’s gigantic and because it’s readily viewable from Highway 395. Birch’s upper face tells us a lot about what the wind has been doing throughout the year, and its lower slopes tell us a lot about temperatures—as well as overall snowfall. So how are things looking here in March 2013 (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 Comments

March 23, 2013

‘The Turn’

'The Turn'

One of my more esoteric quests is the search for the perfect steep skiing turn. Steep technique turns out to be a fabulously nuanced and dynamic field of study. There are lots of ways to do it (some better than others), and however you do it, there’s not only the highly complex mechanics to master—there’s also the added complication that it’s almost always done in places that are bloody well terrifying (more…)

Posted in technique | 5 Comments

March 19, 2013

Rossignol Soul 7

Rossignol Soul 7

Think of the Soul 7 as the sum of everything Rossignol has learned about making All Mountain/Powder skis over the last five years—and that turns out to be a lot. The Soul 7 borrows bits and pieces from Rossingol and Dynastar skis past and present, combining and updating the best elements while also giving us new advances. Officially debuting in Fall 2013, the Soul 7 easily looks to be one of the new high points (more…)

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March 18, 2013

Point of No Return?

Point of No Return?

Well there just hasn’t been much news this winter in the current conditions category. For the Southland mountains I’d say we’re fast approaching the point of no return (though even that may be an optimistic assessment). It’s deep into March, and there’s nothing on the short or long range to suggest a happy ending to what has been yet another tough year (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 1 Comment

March 16, 2013

The Microchill Jacket

The Microchill Jacket

Mountain Hardwear’s Microchill Jacket is much more a midlayer than true outerwear, but however you wear it, the warmth to weight ratio and comfort are excellent. In terms of thickness, the fleece Microchill is in the same range as expedition-weight underwear. It is highly breathable, with just a hint of wind resistance thanks to a clever front nylon lining. The full zipper adds versatility (more…)

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March 11, 2013

Kids: Chasing The Cousins

Kids: Chasing The Cousins

I think my son was four when we first skied with his cousins. At that time, he was very cautious on snow, preferring to follow me at all times rather than lead the way. He kept his speed slow—very slow, slow enough that he often stopped on flat sections, meaning I’d have to backtrack up the hill to get him moving again (more…)

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March 8, 2013

Volkl Shiro

Volkl Shiro

Volkl’s Shiro is unquestionably a powder specialist, built to thrill in steep, deep, and preferably expansive Big Mountain terrain. Objectively and subjectively I noticed the Shiro’s size right away—a hefty 119 millimeters underfoot. Even at the 170-centimeter length I tested, the Shiro feels big, water ski big, like pontoons on your feet big, and all that size translates directly into incredible flotation (more…)

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March 7, 2013

Volkl Katana Carbon

Volkl Katana Carbon

New for the 2013-2014 season is Volkl’s Katana Carbon, a V-Works carbon-fiber version of Volkl’s Big-Mountain Katana. What the heck is ‘V-Works’, you ask? It’s a light-is-right design/construction ethic that Volkl is introducing to its Alpine line. Admittedly, the Katana Carbon is something of a odd bird: weight would seem to be an asset—not a liability—for a Big Mountain ski (more…)

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March 5, 2013

A Telluride Storm

A Telluride Storm

I love the sight of snow falling. On the last night of our Telluride trip this year, it unexpectedly started snowing heavily—big, fat, wonderful flakes dropping out of the sky. I figured it was just a squall since the forecast called for clearing. But it kept snowing. So after an hour or so I grabbed my RX100 and went for a walk outside, thinking I’d try to capture some shots around town before the storm quit (more…)

Posted in video | 8 Comments

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