April 7, 2011 Nikon P300 Gear

Nikon P300

Nikon’s 12-megapixel P300 compact is the latest addition to my quiver of field cameras. I’ve learned to carry compacts in addition to or even instead of larger DSLRs and camcorders when I’m climbing and skiing. Anything you can put in your pocket is (1) much easier to use and (2) much more likely to be (more...)...

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April 6, 2011 Rossignol S7 Freeride Gear

Rossignol S7 Freeride

Effortless powder skiing is the goal of Rossignol’s unusually-shaped S7 Freeride, a ski that departs radically from traditional design standards, camber and sidecut included. We’ve entered, in a way, a golden era of ski design. Technological and manufacturing advances are allowing makers to imagine and deliver skis that previously would never have been possible (more…) (more...)...

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March 31, 2011 Salomon Czar Gear

Salomon Czar

Salomon’s damp-and-quick Czar delivers a powder ride so irresistibly smooth just one run might well turn you into a wandering deep snow nomad for life. So I warn you now: if you don’t want to be forever haunted by memories of effortless best-day-of-your-life untracked snow billowing up around you, you might just want to stick (more...)...

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March 10, 2011 Outdoor Research Igneo Pant Gear

Outdoor Research Igneo Pant

Outdoor Research makes a strong debut in the technical outerwear category with the Igneo, a sidecountry-oriented hard shell pant. The Igneo is made of Pertex’s waterproof/breathable Shield fabric. It has a nice, middle-ground texture and feel: not too stiff, not too soft. The pant is lightly insulated in the seat and knees. In practice, you (more...)...

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March 9, 2011 Scarpa Maestrale Gear

Scarpa Maestrale

Scarpa’s 4-buckle Maestrale ski boot strikes me as the true successor to the original Alpine Touring champ, the Garmont Mega Ride. While current trends in A/T gear have led steadily to ever-heavier boots, the Maestrale enters the game at a stunning six pounds, fifteen ounces per pair. But the critical question, as always, is: how (more...)...

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March 2, 2011 Exped Sim Comfort 10 DLX Gear

Exped Sim Comfort 10 DLX

If you’re in the market for an ultimate-warmth base camp pad, take a good look at Exped’s SIM Comfort 10 DLX—and its outrageous 9.5 R-value. Exped’s SIM Comfort pads come in three flavors: the 5 DLX, the 7 DLX, and the 10 DLX (the numbers correspond roughly to insulation values). As the name implies, these (more...)...

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February 26, 2011 Nordica Fire Arrow Gear

Nordica Fire Arrow

Pay attention to skis like Nordica’s Fire Arrow. Part of a growing trend in ski manufacturing, they attempt to combine the best of traditional and modern ski designs. If you’ve got roots in the hard snow/carving universe, a ski like this is almost certain to end up in your quiver. The Fire Arrow combines a (more...)...

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February 25, 2011 Everest Designs Sherpa Hat Gear

Everest Designs Sherpa Hat

Have you noticed it’s hard to find warm hats nowadays? Used to be you could walk into any ski shop and get a wool ski cap that would get you through pretty much anything. These days I find hat racks dominated by lightweight beanies and the occasional wind-stopper fleece cap. Both are great—they certainly have (more...)...

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February 21, 2011 TNF Freedom Pant Gear

TNF Freedom Pant

I wouldn’t call North Face’s ski and snowboard-oriented Freedom pant perfect, but it does get a lot right, making it quite appealing for this price point. You’ll have no trouble finding things to like about the Freedom pant, starting with its very economical price tag, and continuing with its vibrant color choices, relaxed fit options, (more...)...

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February 11, 2011 Dynastar Course WC Gear

Dynastar Course WC

These skis scared me—and that was long before I even put them on the snow. Take a look at that narrow tip and tail. Pay particular attention to that expansive 23.6-meter turn radius. And how about a crazy-slender 66mm waist underfoot? Indeed, riding Dynastar’s Course World Cup ski, a pure-blooded GS race board, is somewhat (more...)...

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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.