April 5, 2013 Volkl Code L Gear

Volkl Code L

New for the 2013-2014 season, Volkl’s Code Speedwall L offers performance skiers a fun and lively alternative to both the RTM and RaceTiger lines. I’m not big on the RTM skis (see my most-hated video), and the RaceTigers are race specialists, so for me the Code L vaults to the top of Volkl’s frontside carver (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
April 1, 2013 Tecnica Cochise Pro Light Gear

Tecnica Cochise Pro Light

Yes, those are indeed tech fittings you see at the heel and toe of Tecnica’s new Cochise Pro Light ski boot, and believe me, they’re not just for decoration. The Cochise Pro Light joins a host of new touring-oriented ski boots from Alpine makers who are now testing the A/T waters. Where their peers have (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
April 1, 2013 Snow Valley: Done Current Conditions

Snow Valley: Done

Given what a rotten winter it’s been in the backcountry, it was sure a solid season for me and my kids at Snow Valley…at least until today. The kids and I skied Easter 2012 at Snow Valley (which was April 8), and a week later we skied it again, enjoying truly excellent coverage. No such (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 8 Comments
March 31, 2013 Esha Peak Video

Esha Peak

This was a bit of Sierra serendipity: as I was driving into Mammoth last weekend, I found myself staring at an unknown peak up the McGee Creek drainage. I snapped a photo through my car window for the archives, and then emailed my friend Jed Porter, of Sierra Mountain Guides, to see if he wanted (more...)...

Posted in Video | 2 Comments
March 28, 2013 Birch Mountain Benchmark Current Conditions

Birch Mountain Benchmark

I like Birch Mountain as a benchmark for Eastern Sierra snowpack conditions because it’s gigantic and because it’s readily viewable from Highway 395. Birch’s upper face tells us a lot about what the wind has been doing throughout the year, and its lower slopes tell us a lot about temperatures—as well as overall snowfall. So (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 Comments
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...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 5 Comments
March 19, 2013 Rossignol Soul 7 Gear

Rossignol Soul 7

Think of the Soul 7 as the sum of everything Rossignol has learned about making All Mountain/Powder skis over the last five years—and that turns out to be a lot. The Soul 7 borrows bits and pieces from Rossingol and Dynastar skis past and present, combining and updating the best elements while also giving us (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
March 18, 2013 Point of No Return? Current Conditions

Point of No Return?

Well there just hasn’t been much news this winter in the current conditions category. For the Southland mountains I’d say we’re fast approaching the point of no return (though even that may be an optimistic assessment). It’s deep into March, and there’s nothing on the short or long range to suggest a happy ending to (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 1 Comment
March 16, 2013 The Microchill Jacket Gear

The Microchill Jacket

Mountain Hardwear’s Microchill Jacket is much more a midlayer than true outerwear, but however you wear it, the warmth to weight ratio and comfort are excellent. In terms of thickness, the fleece Microchill is in the same range as expedition-weight underwear. It is highly breathable, with just a hint of wind resistance thanks to a (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
March 11, 2013 Kids: Chasing The Cousins Kids

Kids: Chasing The Cousins

I think my son was four when we first skied with his cousins. At that time, he was very cautious on snow, preferring to follow me at all times rather than lead the way. He kept his speed slow—very slow, slow enough that he often stopped on flat sections, meaning I’d have to backtrack up (more...)...

Posted in Kids | 1 Comment

→ Read More SierraDescentsPrevious Posts ↵

Hiking Favorites


Gear Reviews



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.

Pray for snow.