April 24, 2013 GoPro Hero3 Black Gear

GoPro Hero3 Black

GoPro’s Hero3 Black Edition is easily one of the most interesting video cameras of the year—and not only within the helmet-cam category. If you were hoping for big advances in video imaging, here they are, and they are impressive indeed: an advanced sensor capable of shooting 1080P footage at 60 frames per second, or 2.7K (more...)...

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April 21, 2013 El Gringo Eskiador Skiing

El Gringo Eskiador

In 1979, Patrick Vallencant skied the west face of Peru’s 21,768′ Yerupaja. Lou Dawson describes the route as “Possibly the continuously steepest mountain ski descent ever done.” Incredibly, Vallencant’s descent was filmed, and that footage was made into a documentary called “El Gringo Eskiador.” Unfortunately, copies of the film are almost impossible to find (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 6 Comments
April 17, 2013 Blizzard Magnum 8.0 Ti Gear

Blizzard Magnum 8.0 Ti

Blizzard’s Magnum 8.0 Ti has been a darling of the ski media, consistently scoring near the top of the performance-carver class. The Magnum 8.0 Ti is somewhat oddly categorized as part of Blizzard’s ‘sport’ range, but it clearly delivers performance approaching that of an elite-level ski—especially with regard to GS-radius turns. At the same time, (more...)...

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April 16, 2013 Steep Technique: I Was Wrong! Tips & Technique

Steep Technique: I Was Wrong!

In my never-ending quest to master steep skiing technique, there have certainly been highs and lows, but I have to confess I’ve been stuck for a long time battling what I think of as the problem of getting “pinched” against the hill: I find myself unable to gracefully create enough space between my body and (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 6 Comments
April 15, 2013 Mammoth Current Conditions


Thank goodness we have Mammoth! Your Southern Sierra looks an awful lot like summer right now, but atop Mammoth Mountain there’s got to be a solid 12 feet or so of snow. With the wind and sun in your favor, you’ll find upper mountain skiing in great shape, and lower mountain groomers offering sweet but (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 3 Comments
April 11, 2013 Salomon X-Race Gear

Salomon X-Race

Not one ski but several, Salomon’s X-Race varies its sidecut radius by length, allowing skiers to match the ski to their preferred turn shape. So for example if you pick the 155cm length, you’ll be banging out turns on an 11-meter radius ski (!), whereas if you choose a 180cm X-Race, you’ll be cruising on (more...)...

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April 5, 2013 Volkl Code L Gear

Volkl Code L

New for the 2013-2014 season, Volkl’s Code Speedwall L offers performance skiers a fun and lively alternative to both the RTM and RaceTiger lines. I’m not big on the RTM skis (see my most-hated video), and the RaceTigers are race specialists, so for me the Code L vaults to the top of Volkl’s frontside carver (more...)...

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April 1, 2013 Tecnica Cochise Pro Light Gear

Tecnica Cochise Pro Light

Yes, those are indeed tech fittings you see at the heel and toe of Tecnica’s new Cochise Pro Light ski boot, and believe me, they’re not just for decoration. The Cochise Pro Light joins a host of new touring-oriented ski boots from Alpine makers who are now testing the A/T waters. Where their peers have (more...)...

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April 1, 2013 Snow Valley: Done Current Conditions

Snow Valley: Done

Given what a rotten winter it’s been in the backcountry, it was sure a solid season for me and my kids at Snow Valley…at least until today. The kids and I skied Easter 2012 at Snow Valley (which was April 8), and a week later we skied it again, enjoying truly excellent coverage. No such (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 8 Comments

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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.