December 28, 2013

Downtown Driest Ever

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″ November. (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 11 Comments

December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

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!

Posted in California | 1 Comment

December 18, 2013

Just Add Snow…

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

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 mountains that involves neither freeway driving nor hours of possibly futile hiking (more…)

Posted in Skiing | 4 Comments

December 4, 2013

Lange XT 120

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 thanks to its (again, slightly) softer liner, the 120 at least approaches touring-capable comfort and range of motion (more…)

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments

December 1, 2013

Mammoth Thanksgiving

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 mountain itself was rocky-rocky. Next time, I really think more of you should just stay home (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments

November 24, 2013

November Snow

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. Third time’s a charm, right? (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 6 Comments

November 24, 2013

Scott Cosmos

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 found themselves not once but twice burned (more…)

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments

November 15, 2013

Thoughts on Approach

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 ranks among the more grueling touring challenges in the lower 48 (more…)

Posted in technique | 4 Comments

November 3, 2013

Blind to the Bishop

Blind to the Bishop

Over the years I’ve become increasingly fascinated with the discrepancy between Reality and my perception of it. If you’ve never contemplated this divide, discovering it is like finding a bottomless rabbit hole—unsettling, to say the least. If you’re dead certain that the heater is gray, for example, or if you like to leave yourself notes, watch out (more…)

Posted in Musings | 1 Comment

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