December 18, 2012

Reversion to the Mean

Reversion to the Mean

Took the kids—both of them—to Snow Valley today to check out the conditions and make some turns, with leash and without. I must say coverage looks terrific. Certainly much, much better than anything we saw from early through at least mid-winter last season. So for those of you who were wondering (or fearing) if this winter could possibly be worse than last, the answer appears to be no, for Southern California, at least.

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December 15, 2012

Mt. San Antonio and Downtown

Mt. San Antonio and Downtown

I’m out with my camera today, partly because it’s a beautiful day in Southern California, mostly because it’s easier than sitting at home and reading the news. Here’s downtown Los Angeles with the San Gabriel Mountains and a very snowy Mount San Antonio in the background. For you local resort skiers, Mountain High, Snow Summit, and Snow Valley are open, thanks to this week’s storm (more…)

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December 10, 2012

The Mammoth Report

The Mammoth Report

Thank goodness we have Mammoth! Yes, Mammoth did see rain all the way up to about McCoy Station during last week’s Mega-Wet, but enough of that moisture fell as snow across the mountain to produce a dense, saturated early-season base that is currently making for excellent skiing. Despite the snow’s high water content, upper mountain slopes were mostly fluffy and light, thanks to Mammoth’s ubiquitous wind (more…)

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November 28, 2012

November Snow

November Snow

I’m starting to think last season traumatized me. I’ve got this jonesy, pessimistic mindset right now—not helped much by the fact that the big Southern California ranges are currently bare-bones dry at all elevations. Check that: you can find a few sickly snowmaking patches at Mountain High and the Big Bear resorts. NOAA is showing moisture coming, at least, but temperatures look far from ideal (more…)

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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…)

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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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