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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December 29, 2012 Of Mountains and Molehills Kids

Of Mountains and Molehills

For those of you who have snow in your own backyard, I’m very jealous. Here on vacation in Northern Arizona, I’ve been enjoying the pleasures of cross country skiing, which currently entails no more hassle than me putting on warm clothes and stepping outside—fabulous. Naturally, my kids see me dressing up in my snow pants, (more...)...

Posted in Kids | 1 Comment
December 26, 2012 Merry Christmas! Current Conditions

Merry Christmas!

Well, can you believe it’s Christmas 2012? Happily it’s a white one for us this year. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! Peace. (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 0 Comments
December 18, 2012 Reversion to the Mean Current Conditions

Reversion to the Mean

Took the kids—both of them—to Snow Valley today to check out the conditions and make some turns, with leash and without. I must say coverage looks terrific. Certainly much, much better than anything we saw from early through at least mid-winter last season. So for those of you who were wondering (or fearing) if this (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 0 Comments
December 15, 2012 Mt. San Antonio and Downtown Current Conditions

Mt. San Antonio and Downtown

I’m out with my camera today, partly because it’s a beautiful day in Southern California, mostly because it’s easier than sitting at home and reading the news. Here’s downtown Los Angeles with the San Gabriel Mountains and a very snowy Mount San Antonio in the background. For you local resort skiers, Mountain High, Snow Summit, (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments
December 15, 2012 The Sun Rises... Musings

The Sun Rises…

Over a world both familiar and strange. Los Angeles, California, December 15, 2012. (more...)...

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December 14, 2012 News

As I Write These Words…

As I write these words, my five-year-old son is sitting in his kindergarten class, making Christmas tree ornaments and enjoying a last-day-of-class party before his long Christmas vacation begins. And the thought that sends me into uncontrollable fits of sobbing, over and over, is that he is coming home today. My son will come home (more...)...

Posted in News | 5 Comments
December 14, 2012 The Ghost Whisperer Gear

The Ghost Whisperer

Think of Mountain Hardwear’s 6.7-ounce Ghost Whisperer as a high-end heat infusion. If you want the best possible warmth-to-weight ratio in an ultralight top, this is it. The insulated Ghost Whisperer pairs 850-fill down with an incredible 7×10 denier nylon—a next-generation fabric developed as part of Mountain Hardwear’s Ueli Steck Project. The fabric’s super-tight weave (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 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.