January 13, 2014 Skiing Musings

Skiing’s Man-Made Future

As I contemplate the reality of what appears to be the worst Sierra winter any of us have ever seen, I find myself thinking about the obvious importance snowmaking is going to have for the survival of many ski areas. We’re back from a week in Flagstaff, skiing the Arizona Snowbowl, which has recently installed (more...)...

Posted in Musings | 6 Comments
December 28, 2013 Downtown Driest Ever Current Conditions

Downtown Driest Ever

Are we really already in hoping-for-March mode? 2013 isn’t even over yet. I was doing okay until I checked the numbers for Mammoth: last year, Mammoth Mountain saw 147″ of snow in December on top of 60″ in November. This year, Mammoth is poised to report 24.5″ for December on top of a pitiful 10.5″ (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 11 Comments
December 26, 2013 Merry Christmas 2013! California

Merry Christmas 2013!

No snow for us this year, so we went for the traditional and festive Southern California bike ride. At least we’ve got the beach! 🙂 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours! (more...)...

Posted in California | 1 Comment
December 18, 2013 Just Add Snow... Current Conditions

Just Add Snow…

Please!!! Was I really driving with the A/C on today, mid-December, at 7000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains? Alas, yes: NOAA gave the high temperature in Running Springs as 67°. At Snow Valley, with not a whisper of wind, it was T-shirt weather on the slopes, and mind-blowingly hot even then (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 3 Comments
December 9, 2013 Reading the SoCal Backcountry Skiing

Reading the SoCal Backcountry

I know what you’re thinking: it’s snowing! How much has it snowed? Has it snowed enough? It is worth it to try hitting the SoCal backcountry? How do you know if it’s deep enough out there? Well, as it turns out, there’s a great and easy way to find out what’s happening in the local (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 4 Comments
December 4, 2013 Lange XT 120 Gear

Lange XT 120

Lange’s XT 120 is a slightly-softer version of the XT 130. Both boots feature a walk mode switch which allows you to release the cuff for enhanced walking mobility. Like the 130, the XT 120 is best thought of as an Alpine boot with a walk mode, rather than a true Alpine Touring model, though (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
December 1, 2013 Mammoth Thanksgiving Current Conditions

Mammoth Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought a little skiing might be nice this holiday weekend. Very thin coverage and only four lifts running wasn’t enough to halt a full-on SoCal invasion at Mammoth Mountain. We had to park at the “F” sign on Friday. “F” I tell you. And the (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments
November 24, 2013 November Snow Current Conditions

November Snow

3-5″ of fresh snow is the official word from Mt. Baldy, in the San Gabriel Mountains, but peering through the haze today from Kenneth Hahn State Park, I’d say coverage on Baldy’s west face might be a little deeper. Maybe. Then again, I am trying to go with optimism as our winter season draws near. (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 6 Comments
November 24, 2013 Scott Cosmos Gear

Scott Cosmos

There’s a bit of a leap of faith involved in buying a pair of Scott Cosmos ski boots. Just a year ago, the Cosmos was made by legendary but now-defunct Garmont USA. Garmont’s parting gift was at least one and possibly two critical design/manufacturing flaws embedded in the otherwise-stunning Cosmos. Early adopters (including me) thus (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
November 15, 2013 Thoughts on Approach Tips & Technique

Thoughts on Approach

Waiting for snow to arrive has me contemplating a similar frustration: not being able to get to the snow even when it is here. Yes, I’m talking about those maddeningly-tough Eastern Sierra approaches. I admit I believe getting yourself and your skis to the snowline in the area between, say, Olancha Peak and the Palisades (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 4 Comments

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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.