September 17, 2012

The Marine Layer Returns

The Marine Layer Returns

Thank goodness. It’s been a long, hot slog through August and now September, climaxing (hopefully) with this past Saturday’s downtown high of 103°. Ugh! Last night I rode my bike out to the beach to watch that happiest of events, The Return of the Marine Layer. For the uninitiated, that means the winds have shifted, and cool air off the Pacific is returning to the Los Angeles Basin (more…)

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April 23, 2012

Sierra Snowpack Update

Sierra Snowpack Update

I sort of hesitate to say what exactly is normal these days, but I think we can safely call the Sierra snowpack well below average. Here’s a shot of Birch Mountain taken April 20, 2012, showing just how bleak things are. Are we at the point where we can call the Southern Sierra a total writeoff? Yes, I think we are. Maybe a few opportunistic riders hit the timing just right south of Mammoth this year. Or Maybe not (more…)

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April 15, 2012

April Snow

April Snow

I wish I had a comparison photo. Last Sunday looked to be the bitter end at Snow Valley. They’d done a fine job with the snow cats to get a few lines into passable shape (at least until the sun cooked everything), but the mountain was bare dirt everywhere but for a handful of thinly-covered runs. Today: they could have opened every lift on the mountain. Everything was covered, top to bottom (more…)

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March 27, 2012

San Jacinto Update

San Jacinto Update

Well, I guess one March Miracle is about all you can ask. This last front seemed to come in heavy here in the Basin, but it just didn’t hit the mountains with nearly the same punch as last week’s storm. I did a short tour yesterday in the San Jacintos hoping for another day of way-too-deep. Instead, the snow seemed to liquify before my very eyes as that merciless Southern California sun went to work on it (more…)

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March 15, 2012

I Threw Out My Baldy Passes

I Threw Out My Baldy Passes

Yes, I did it. Over here at SierraDescents, I realize it’s not just my job to amuse or entertain you. No, when things get grim, and Mother Nature won’t keep up her end of the bargain, I know it’s my responsibility to see to it that she pays up. And so, I threw all of my Mt. Baldy ski passes in the trash. I considered just putting them deep into a drawer, out of sight, but I realized that might not be good enough (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 11 Comments

March 12, 2012

The San G Report

The San G Report

Good news here is that I finally blew the dust off my Dynafits. Bad news is conditions weren’t very amenable to skiing. Trevor and I hiked up the San Bernardino Wilderness’ South Fork Trail to look for snow, and—surprise!—we found it. There was quite a bit more snow than I was expecting, in fact, with at least decent coverage on wind-protected north aspects above 9000′ or so (more…)

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March 5, 2012

Snow News; SMG AK Trip

Snow News; SMG AK Trip

Once again I stayed in-bounds locally with my kids over the weekend. I was tempted to day-trip to the Sierra, but insider info from Sierra Mountain Guides’ Howie Schwartz plus Sue’s buzzkill avy forecast pretty much quashed any inclination I had to get out of bed early. Though ESAC is calling for low overall avalanche hazard, my read of their advisories is that where you’ll find good skiing you’ll also find elevated risk (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 3 Comments

February 1, 2012

A Photo You Don’t Need to See…

A Photo You Don't Need to See...

But, I’ll show it anyway: Baldy Bowl, from 10,000 feet, February 1st, 2012. Yes, that’s pretty much a snowless mountain in the midst of a snowless season with no snow in sight. As for the Sierra, there are rumors of a long-range weather pattern shift which might bring some moisture, so there’s a tiny dose of optimism for you. Flying over central Colorado today, I saw what I would call ‘abundant’ coverage (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments

January 23, 2012

Avalanche Danger is HIGH

In the context of this winter, I suppose we have to call this good news. Locally, I don’t think enough snow has fallen to open up anything other than (maybe) a few shaded north gullies. In any case, if you do go out to take a look around, approach everything with extreme caution. This is not a normal year…

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments

January 17, 2012

2-4″ Possible

It’s something, at least…

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments

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