What’s Your Dream?

I came to Los Angeles a small-town kid chasing elusive dreams and let's be honest, you can imagine how that went. This is a city that tends to grind people like me to pieces.

And yet.

Of all the adventures I've written about, this one feels the most unlikely and also the most personal—and it results, belatedly, in absolutely one of my very best pieces of work.

As the late February model runs came in for potentially historic low-elevation snowfall in the Los Angeles Basin, I began scrambling for a plan to ski as close to the city as possible.

I was in Flagstaff, Arizona, at the time, with a blizzard imminent, and I was trying my best to enjoy a little vacation. But apparently I needed to race back to Los ski.

Google Earth led me to find Mount Lukens, a 5075' summit 14 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

Joining me were my good friends Matthew Testa, Al Preston, the Other Preston, and Matt Dixon. It was Matt D who pointed out that Lukens' summit actually lies within Los Angeles city limits.

And that sealed the deal.

Our group synergy was just pure magic on this day, and it shows. I offer each of you, my fellow Lukens adventurers, my most sincere and humble thank you for making this video happen.

Special thanks also to David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times, who helped inspire the adventure by sending me an email pre-storm asking what I was up to.

David joined us at the start of our climb, and he then wrote a thoughtful and nuanced front-page story about our ski descent of Mount Lukens for the Los Angeles Times, in the process showing me, my friends, and our strange but beloved sport a great deal of respect. :)

Thank you, finally, to all of you out there in the SoCal wilds and beyond—for your encouragement, your inspiration, and for sticking with me and my small corner of the ski mountaineering universe, all these years.

I make these videos, ultimately, as a way to bring you all along on these adventures—to share a few moments, stolen along the way—and I think you'll find this one is well worth your time.

This is the line city I was born to ski. I hope you enjoy the ride.

— March 1, 2023

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

zeke March 1, 2023 at 8:49 pm

Hell yeah Andy!!! It was a special day out there. We were over the hills skiing some type of peak in Agua Dulce. Thanks for doing all you do to keep the stoke high!

Brad Brown March 2, 2023 at 4:15 pm

Nice Andy, fun vid. Bob and I hiked the route exactly 2 months ago on 1-2-23, er the ascent portion. not sure where you exited or how long that took….another story perhaps?!? We had lunch just to the left ( skiers right) of your drop in point. Fun Fact:
Mt Lukens in the highest point in the City of Angels…something I learned while researching the route (hat tip to the Hiking Guy).
So you’ve now submitted the highest points in the city and county (Mt Baldy) …’re on a pretty short list….made even shorter by your descent method. Congrats on this, the article in the Times, and thanks for all the great TR’s since the inception on Sierra Descents.

Bill March 3, 2023 at 12:06 am

Andy, WTH?! With the decade-long drought, we gave up on California and moved to the French Alps 2.5 years ago. Now, I'm watching with envy as So. Cal. gets epic snow and the Alps are bare as a bone?! C'mon! All the best to you and your crew and let's hope there are more of these years (including in the Alpes).

Dan Conger March 3, 2023 at 2:17 pm

Awesome video and report. So cool!

charles March 3, 2023 at 3:15 pm

Great work as always, congrats on skiing in LA county!

FWIW I first saw the article not here, but while searching for CA snow stories in general, esp. Bay Area ski opportunities. The article came up high in search results. Cheers!

Brady March 5, 2023 at 8:51 am

Andy, I just discovered your Sugarloaf vid this am and then watched this LA descent! Totally epic! We skied Mt. Baldy on Sunday and Monday 02/26 & 02/27, then set our eyes on Santiago Peak for the bluebird Thursday 03/02, with traditional gear. Didn’t summit there but ended up making some turns and tracks on Los Pinos Peak at 4500 ft. It was a great adventure, so I documented it (link below.) I also love heliskiing :-)

Ian Bryant April 4, 2023 at 1:55 pm

What a year. We skied under Mt McDill in Acton, and the following week tracking out a small canyon complex above Jackson Lake in WW. We were trenching breaking trail at 6000'!! Stayed out of the high country lines for a while to let things settle. A friend of mine skied Oat Mt above Chatsworth as well. I think a lot of first descents went down that week. 2023 goes down in the history books as one of the best winters we've yet to see.