February 12, 2013 Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro Gear

Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro

Is the era of rockerless skis finally over? Dynastar’s tip-rockered 2013-2014 Chrome 78 Pro replaces one of the very last holdouts, the thrilling Speed Course Ti. Debuting for the 2013-2014 season, the Chrome Pro is part of a new all on-trail ski series designed to offer expert and even elite-level carving performance by updating Dynastar’s (more...)...

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February 11, 2013 Slide Peak Sunday Current Conditions

Slide Peak Sunday

Okay, maybe it’s because I’ve got a season pass, but if you ask me, Snow Valley has by far the best vibe of any of the SoCal mountain resorts. It just feels like skiing here. Yes, the lifts are awful, but the value is great—especially if you bring your family. And on a day like (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments
February 9, 2013 SIA 2013: The New Skis Gear

SIA 2013: The New Skis

As usual it was a fast and furious few days at this year’s SIA Snow Show in Denver. I did manage to get on an exhausting personal-best 19 pairs of skis during the Winter Park on-snow demo—reviews pending. And I also got a sense of where the ski makers are headed for the upcoming 2013-2014 (more...)...

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February 1, 2013 Skiing: The Greatest Sport on Earth Skiing

Skiing: The Greatest Sport on Earth

Telluride, Colorado. It wasn’t supposed to snow Wednesday night, but it did—nine inches of perfectly light snow on top of nearly three feet of fresh snow that fell earlier this week. And then, in that incomparably magic way, the clouds parted at nine a.m., just as the lifts opened. Snow crystals sparkled in sunlight, floating (more...)...

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January 22, 2013 Lange XT 130 Gear

Lange XT 130

Lange officially enters the Alpine Touring market with the XT 130, a Freeride ski boot offering excellent downhill performance plus a first-ever Lange walk mode. Admittedly the XT 130 lies at the severe edge of the Touring category—it weights over nine pounds per pair, and its walk mode is limited—but there is still quite a (more...)...

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January 18, 2013 The Mid-January "Hmm" Current Conditions

The Mid-January “Hmm”

Well, temperatures are back in the 70’s here in SoCal, so things appear to be getting back to normal. A big thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and support during our historic cold snap—it was touch-and-go for a while there, but it looks like we’re going to pull through just fine. Here (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments
January 14, 2013 How to Empathize With Your Freezing L.A. Friends Current Conditions

How to Empathize With Your Freezing L.A. Friends

You are looking at an actual photograph of the thermometer outside my West Los Angeles apartment taken 10 a.m. this morning, looking out at a bright and sunny Southern California day. In case you are wondering, this photograph has not been doctored or altered in any way. Temperatures are indeed currently in the 40’s throughout (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments
January 11, 2013 The Echo Test News

The Echo Test

By now you’ve likely seen this video of an avalanche that trapped one skier on Echo Peak in the Tahoe Sierra on December 30, 2012. This is exactly the kind of video that tends to polarize opinions—the party members display a startling lack of familiarity with their avalanche gear (gear in general seems to prove (more...)...

Posted in News | 5 Comments
January 10, 2013 Snow Valley: Top to Bottom Video

Snow Valley: Top to Bottom

Sure, Andreas Fransson skied the Whillans Ramp on Patagonia’s Aguja Poincenot…but has he ever skied Snow Valley? I highly doubt it. (more...)...

Posted in Video | 7 Comments
January 9, 2013 Scarpa Maestrale RS Gear

Scarpa Maestrale RS

Of the ski boots I’ve tried, Garmont’s Cosmos and Scarpa’s Maestrale RS are clearly the two ski mountaineering standouts for 2013. The Maestrale RS is an updated, Polyamide version of Scarpa’s original, orange (Pebax) Maestrale. That first-generation Maestrale remains notable for its excellent climbing and mountaineering performance, but to be honest its skiing performance was (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.