November 27, 2014 Summit Opens Current Conditions

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 (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments
November 3, 2014 Pumpkins, Snow, & Rainbows Current Conditions

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 (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 1 Comment
May 16, 2014 Not Another Heat Wave... Current Conditions

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, (more...)...

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April 20, 2014 Hangman Current Conditions

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 (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments
April 7, 2014 The Wildcard Winter Current Conditions

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 (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments
March 24, 2014 Bare Mountain Current Conditions

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 (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 6 Comments
March 10, 2014 Gorgonio Is In Current Conditions

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 (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments
March 3, 2014 San Jacinto Sunday Current Conditions

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 (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments
February 25, 2014 Significant Rain/Snow? Current Conditions

Significant Rain/Snow?

Weather may be typical SoCal mundane right now, but the Los Angeles Times reports what could be the wettest storm in years is en route for later this week: forecasts call for as much as one to two inches of rain in the basin, which in a normal SoCal winter would qualify as…a normal SoCal (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 9 Comments
January 27, 2014 Snow Valley: January 2014 Current Conditions

Snow Valley: January 2014

AARRRGH!! Really: Aargh! There’s no other way to say it. I feel my stubborn side kicking in, and now I’m wondering: who will quit first? Will Snow Valley management throw in the towel and close, or will I and my kids give up and stay home? Based on the look of things today, I’d have (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 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.