May 6, 2014 Steep Skiing: The Unweight Tips & Technique

Steep Skiing: The Unweight

Three years I’ve been obsessing about steep technique. Three years of drought. It strikes me now that the irony is, having finally found the steep turn I’ve been looking for all my life, I may never put it to use skiing horrifically steep big lines because (1) we haven’t had any snow, and (2) my (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 7 Comments
April 30, 2014 The Vipec Gear

The Vipec’s Viability

In the immortal words of Lee Lau, NEVER TRUST A FIRST GENERATION TOURING BINDING YOU MORONS. I found myself admiring the clarity of Lee’s admonition as I was pondering the spectrum of reviews on Fritchi’s Vipec tech binding—or should we call it a nouveau-tech binding? Either way, the Vipec is both a remarkable evolution and (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 3 Comments
April 20, 2014 Hangman Current Conditions

Hangman’s June 2011

Going through old photos here, and this shot of Hangman’s Hollow at Mammoth Mountain just floors me. This was taken mid June 2011, and that entire cliff band along the crater rim is basically unrecognizable compared to this year. You’d think, looking at Hangman’s at any time this season, you were at a completely different (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments
April 18, 2014 Kabookie vs. Bonafide Gear

Kabookie vs. Bonafide

Short answer: I prefer the Kabookie. I’ve played around with both skis for over a year now, and for my body weight (about 145lbs), I’m just not seeing much benefit from the Bonafide’s full metal sheet. Kabookie and Bonafide are geometrically identical—same sidecut, same dimensions. The principle published difference is that metal sheet, which extends (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 1 Comment
April 10, 2014 Tecnica Mach1 Gear

Tecnica Mach1

New for the upcoming 2014-2015 season is Tecnica’s Mach1, which employs what Tecnica calls a paradigm shift in ski boot construction: designing “from the inside out.” By this, Tecnica means they’ve built the liner to fit the foot, and then built the shell to fit the liner, instead of the reverse. Don’t other boot makers (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
April 8, 2014 Steep Skiing: The Downhill Ski Tips & Technique

Steep Skiing: The Downhill Ski

When things go wrong with steep skiing technique, the space-constrained uphill ski always seems to be the instigator. Who hasn’t felt their uphill ski catch at the worst possible moment? And yet, as I continue to diagnose the weaknesses in my own steep technique, I find myself thinking if the uphill ski is the symptom (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 1 Comment
April 7, 2014 The Wildcard Winter Current Conditions

The Wildcard Winter

The long lens came out repeatedly as I drove up and down Highway 395 this past weekend. Some snow fell up there last week—you may not have heard. Sue calls it “The most powerful storm of the winter”, and by this year’s standards she’s not lying. Depending on where you look, the Sierra high country (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments
March 26, 2014 Steep Technique: Uphill Ski Management, Cont Tips & Technique

Steep Technique: Uphill Ski Management, Cont’d

I continue to focus on management of the uphill ski as the key to unlocking the secrets of steep skiing technique. Those of you who follow my site know this has become something of an odyssey for me, starting with my initial belief that steep turns should be initiated from a weighted uphill ski, which (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 3 Comments
March 24, 2014 Bare Mountain Current Conditions

Bare Mountain

Perhaps I go too far in comparing yesterday at Bear Mountain’s “Access Express” chair to a Hieronymus Bosch nightmare, but if you’re worried about what the endgame for Southern California skiing might just look like, this was surely was an unsettling landscape. Ribbons of brown snow wound through muddy fields, whilst crowds of people shuffled (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 6 Comments
March 18, 2014 Snow Summit: Top to Bottom Video

Snow Summit: Top to Bottom

It’s been far too long since we’ve had a new edition of my critically-acclaimed top-to-bottom video series. True, you generally need snow to make skiing videos. But snow or no snow, I will not be defeated by this cursed 2013-2014 Winter! I will not be beaten. I will endure. I will endeavor to persevere.* I (more...)...

Posted in Video | 5 Comments

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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.

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