December 11, 2014

It’s Coming In Warm…(UPDATED)

It's Coming In Warm...(UPDATED)

Good news, bad news again from the west coast: indications are we’re on the cusp of seeing a major winter storm hit California, perhaps the most significant storm of the past several years. Also good: indications are that we have an authentic storm track pattern setting in, in which a number of storms—not just one and done—are en route (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments

December 7, 2014

Snow, Rain, & Mesh Canopies

Snow, Rain, & Mesh Canopies

The good news is it’s early December and there is skiing in Southern California. The bad news is last week’s heavy rain did exactly what you’d expect to the local resorts’ man-made snow: it hammered it. In the space of a week we’ve gone from pretty good inbounds skiing to disturbingly-familiar, just-barely-hanging-on ribbons of coverage (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 6 Comments

November 27, 2014

Summit Opens

Summit Opens

Skis touch snow once again and I say AAHHH it feels good. Opening day 2014: once again I am in awe of Snow Summit’s snowmaking capability. We drove past an utterly bare Snow Valley (my 5-year-old called it “dead”) and I began to worry, but Summit with its higher base elevation and its bountiful lake water had created a fully-covered top-to-bottom Miracle Mile for us (more…)

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November 3, 2014

Pumpkins, Snow, & Rainbows

Pumpkins, Snow, & Rainbows

Are we not overdue? Depending on how you see the glass, we have now gone three years in a row without a true Sierra winter. Three years! It seems like a lifetime. Throughout this summer I have avoided all news of warmer ocean temperatures and shifting patterns and currents because my poor heart simply can’t stand any more disappointment (more…)

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May 16, 2014

Not Another Heat Wave…

Not Another Heat Wave...

Yes, it’s another Southern California heat wave, which means it’s time to check in with my living room thermometer: a lovely 93.2°F as of 5:50pm yesterday. Heat waves are not unusual here in the L.A. Basin; for those of you in cold places, the quick primer is it gets hot whenever the winds change direction, blowing not from the wonderfully cool Pacific Ocean, to our left, but rather from the abominably-hot (more…)

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April 20, 2014

Hangman’s June 2011

Hangman's June 2011

Going through old photos here, and this shot of Hangman’s Hollow at Mammoth Mountain just floors me. This was taken mid June 2011, and that entire cliff band along the crater rim is basically unrecognizable compared to this year. You’d think, looking at Hangman’s at any time this season, you were at a completely different mountain (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments

April 7, 2014

The Wildcard Winter

The Wildcard Winter

The long lens came out repeatedly as I drove up and down Highway 395 this past weekend. Some snow fell up there last week—you may not have heard. Sue calls it “The most powerful storm of the winter”, and by this year’s standards she’s not lying. Depending on where you look, the Sierra high country saw anywhere from one to four feet of April No-Fooling snow (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments

March 24, 2014

Bare Mountain

Bare Mountain

Perhaps I go too far in comparing yesterday at Bear Mountain’s “Access Express” chair to a Hieronymus Bosch nightmare, but if you’re worried about what the endgame for Southern California skiing might just look like, this was surely was an unsettling landscape. Ribbons of brown snow wound through muddy fields, whilst crowds of people shuffled slowly across it (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 6 Comments

March 10, 2014

Gorgonio Is In

Gorgonio Is In

Where did all the snow go from last weekend’s massive wet system? San Gorgonio, apparently. If I’d seen this look at the north face a few days ago, I’d have tried to ski it. Instead I took the kids to Snow Summit, and picked up a pass for the rest of this and next season at the (you will feel like) Screaming Deal price. First of all, the snow: (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments

March 3, 2014

San Jacinto Sunday

San Jacinto Sunday

As I wrote awhile back, you can use the SoCal ski resort webpages to get a pretty good idea as to what’s happening in the higher backcountry elevations. Two of those key indicators are (1) is Mt. Baldy Ski Area open? and (2) is it raining at the top of the Palm Springs Tram? The mid-storm answers to these questions were not promising (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments

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