September 28, 2013 Backcountry Cooking: Chicken w/Broccoli Tips & Technique

Backcountry Cooking: Chicken w/Broccoli

To me, the ideal backcountry meal is not only tasty but also reasonably healthy, super-easy to prepare, easy to clean up afterward, and doesn’t leave you with a lot of waste that will have to be packed out. Yes, there’s no end of freeze-dried options available these days, but with few exceptions, I tend to (more...)...

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May 9, 2013 Principles of Steep Skiing: Revised Tips & Technique

Principles of Steep Skiing: Revised

I don’t how, exactly, my obsession with steep skiing began, but even as a kid, I remember arriving at ski areas and immediately wanting to find the steepest run on the hill to see if I could ski it. Later, I became aware of the steep skiers of the Chamonix valley, and their incredible high-angle (more...)...

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April 16, 2013 Steep Technique: I Was Wrong! Tips & Technique

Steep Technique: I Was Wrong!

In my never-ending quest to master steep skiing technique, there have certainly been highs and lows, but I have to confess I’ve been stuck for a long time battling what I think of as the problem of getting “pinched” against the hill: I find myself unable to gracefully create enough space between my body and (more...)...

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March 23, 2013 Tips & Technique

‘The Turn’

One of my more esoteric quests is the search for the perfect steep skiing turn. Steep technique turns out to be a fabulously nuanced and dynamic field of study. There are lots of ways to do it (some better than others), and however you do it, there’s not only the highly complex mechanics to master—there’s (more...)...

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December 12, 2012 My Quick & Dirty Bootfitting Tips Tips & Technique

My Quick & Dirty Bootfitting Tips

At Mammoth last weekend I had the interesting experience of hearing two exactly opposite bootfitting opinions in two consecutive days at two consecutive ski shops. US bootfitters overwhelmingly tilt toward putting people into the smallest possible boot shell, and that was indeed the gist of Opinion A, best summed up as, “It’s always better to (more...)...

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March 24, 2009 Hasty Search Tips & Technique

Hasty Search

“Hasty Search” was originally the title given to the first location effort in a search and rescue operation. This phase, obviously, takes place after a qualified individual has assessed conditions for existing hazard and the decision has been made to put people into the search area. Hasty search has now been renamed “Immediate Search,” (more...)...

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March 19, 2009 The Importance of Self Rescue Tips & Technique

The Importance of Self Rescue

One of the most jolting things I learned this past weekend at the Southern California National Ski Patrol’s one-day avalanche rescue course was, paradoxically, the importance of self rescue. By “self rescue” I do not mean cultivating the magical ability to dig oneself out of an avalanche, but rather rescue initiated and completed by members (more...)...

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January 9, 2009 The Ski Pole Belay Tips & Technique

The Ski Pole Belay

Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks and tips that can make life a little easier in the backcountry. I’ve been doing some of these so long they seem obvious to me, but they may be a secret to you, so I thought I’d share a few. Here’s one I call the “Ski Pole (more...)...

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December 17, 2008 Tips & Technique

Cold Storm & Tips

Well I’m shivering here in my SoCal apartment through another stormy day. These storms are COLD! Our questionably-accurate patio thermometer currently reads about 44° F ( says we’re 50°). I’d guess that translates to a snow level in the 3500′ range, which means lots of cold, dry powder in the local mountains and of course (more...)...

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May 23, 2008 Traveling in Bear Country Tips & Technique

Traveling in Bear Country

Late season storms aside, I’ve been looking forward to ditching the ski gear and switching to hiking and climbing. After all, summer camping in the Sierra is easier in almost every respect than winter. There is one big difference, however: in summer, we share the mountains with bears. I must say I ordinarily harbor no (more...)...

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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.

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