March 5, 2013 A Telluride Storm Video

A Telluride Storm

I love the sight of snow falling. On the last night of our Telluride trip this year, it unexpectedly started snowing heavily—big, fat, wonderful flakes dropping out of the sky. I figured it was just a squall since the forecast called for clearing. But it kept snowing. So after an hour or so I grabbed (more...)...

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March 1, 2013 Blizzard Bonafide Gear

Blizzard Bonafide

The word is out: Blizzard’s Bonafide is one of the best skis on the mountain today, a versatile All Mountain masterpiece that consistently surpasses expectations. With the Bonafide, Blizzard gives us perhaps the very best realization to date of the one-ski-quiver concept. On-trail, the Bonafide is a confident carver, with an smooth, easy ride that (more...)...

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February 28, 2013 Blizzard Scout Gear

Blizzard Scout

The Scout enters the 2013-2014 All Mountain/Big Mountain class as essentially a metal-free version of Blizzard’s award-winning Cochise. If the prospect of a lighter, more touring-friendly Cochise fills your heart with glee, you’re not alone. The Cochise remains a formidable ski—one that has clearly altered consumer expectations and ski design standards across the industry. What (more...)...

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February 25, 2013 Salomon Rocker 2 108 Gear

Salomon Rocker 2 108

Salomon’s Rocker 2 108 returns for the 2013-2014 season as your go-to “everyday powder ski,” replacing Salmon’s excellent but highly specialized Czar. Compared to the Czar, we get undeniably better versatility in the Rocker 2, though perhaps at the cost of some of the Czar’s deep-snow magic. Both skis employ twin tip designs, adding park (more...)...

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February 25, 2013 Blue Ridge Benchmark Current Conditions

Blue Ridge Benchmark

Yes that is indeed Mount Baldy’s north face (aka Mt. San Antonio), as seen today from the Blue Ridge Road viewpoint on Highway 2, and yikes! there sure isn’t much snow up there. This view is absolutely one of my favorite benchmarks for Southern California conditions, and there’s just no escaping it—things are pretty grim (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments
February 23, 2013 K2 Backdrop Gear

K2 Backdrop

K2’s touring-oriented Backdrop feels a lot like a big, heavy, in-bounds powder specialist. But surprise: the ski weighs only eight pounds per pair. The good news, then, is that the Backdrop does indeed fall into exactly the same category as skis like Volkl’s Nunataq or Black Diamond’s Justice—it’s a wide-bodied floater, tuned for powder performance (more...)...

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February 22, 2013 San J Okay Video

San J Okay

I can’t figure these storms out. After a forecast initially calling for as much as 43″ of snow, Tuesday’s storm left a much smaller but still respectable 18″ or so in the higher elevations of San Jacinto State Park, where Brent and I went exploring on Wednesday. Despite the combination of abundant new snow plus (more...)...

Posted in Video | 3 Comments
February 18, 2013 Nordica Patron Gear

Nordica Patron

Nordica’s much-heralded Patron Freeski/Big Mountain ski returns unchanged for the 2013-2014 season—it’s still a powder-devouring monster. Whether or not the Patron is a good or even great ski is not the question. What you should be asking is whether or not it’s the right ski for you. I can’t help thinking the Patron and I (more...)...

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February 17, 2013 DPS Wailer 99 Gear

DPS Wailer 99

A key task of an All-Mountain ski is dealing with challenging conditions. By that standard, DPS’s Wailer 99 is a big success, even a class leader. This is the ski you want to be riding on those days when the mountain seems committed to making you look bad. The Wailer is a tough snow specialist, (more...)...

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February 16, 2013 Dynastar Cham HM 97 Gear

Dynastar Cham HM 97

Dynastar’s oddly-shaped Cham 97 returns unchanged for the 2013-2014 season, in both standard (metal) and High Mountain (Paulownia) editions. The High Mountain versions of the Cham line were initially sold as touring-oriented skis. However, following their debut season, Dynastar realized skiers were finding the metal-free HM models to be outstanding (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.