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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – January 29th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz2 Comments

Howdy Skiers and Snowboarders, Just a quick update because we are getting lots of questions about recent backcountry conditions. Storms have been frequent and relatively small lately, but every bit counts. At this point the snow surveys are saying we are at just below average (93% of average to date) snowpack for the date in Sierra south of near the northern Yosemite border. The problem with this estimate is that it does not factor in that there is very little …

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Exercising the Power of Restraint

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

I quit drinking coffee this fall. Not forever, just for 5 weeks. I do this every fall. It is not easy as I have a mild addiction to the hot beverage. It is not the effects of caffeine as much as the taste. I compensated with more than enough black tea during that time, but it never satisfied the my craving for the ritual of the bean. The grind, the aroma, the percolation and of course, the rich, smooth taste. …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – January 11th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

Howdy backcountry skiers and snowboarders! Wow, what a run we are having. Snow conditions have been incredible for almost 4 weeks now. Aside from immediately after the mega wind event that destroyed the snowpack and many trees in the Eastern Sierra just before X-mas, the powder has been light, fluffy, and cold, from boot top to waist deep. Avalanche conditions have been mostly manageable this season to date, other than a couple cycles of disconcerting direct action avalanche activity. This …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – December 27th, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

Happy Holidays backcountry skiers and snowboarders, December has been good to us. Small to medium storms with winds in between is the pattern. The winds of December 21-23 toppled dozens of full grown beetle-killed snags in the June Mountain backcountry and littered the snow surface with an unprecedented amount of detritus on top of sastrugi. Not such fun conditions, after a couple weeks of excellent cold powder skiing. Fortunately, it was a white X-mas and we got another 1’+ on top. …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – December 18th, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz1 Comment

Hi backcountry skiers and snowboarders, The 2015-16 snow season is underway! Hopefully you have had a chance to reconnoiter with the white stuff, either at the resort or in the backcountry. If you haven’t, don’t worry, this season is still being hyped and prognosticated as the Donald Trump of El Niños, it’s HUGE! Since the beginning of December, there have been 3 small to medium sized storms that have impacted our area. From these, Mammoth Mountain recorded 24 inches of …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report November 24th, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

Salutations backcountry skiers and snowboarders! The backcountry season is open! That means we at SMG now continue our tradition of reporting on the current and recent snow conditions for the Eastern Sierra. As a reminder, This report is not an avalanche advisory, nor is it comparable to information offered by any avalanche information center. The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center is the local avalanche center that keeps us all informed on snow and avalanche conditions for purposes of backcountry risk management. …

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State of the High Sierra Backcountry – March 24, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

I know it’s been a long hiatus from this report skiers and snowboarders, but we wanted to keep the pictures up as long as possible from the epic 2 days of backcountry powder skiing we had reported on at the end of February. Plus, there just hasn’t been that much to report. I presented “Skiing the California Drought & The State of the Backcountry 2015” in Mammoth Lakes this weekend at an event hosted by Community Skis and will post slides …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – February 25, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz8 Comments

Hi bc skiers and snowboarders, The pictures tell most of the story. Best worst winter ever! People are asking us about where to find the goods. It is a bit tricky at the moment but if you succeed then you will be welcomed to nirvana. Cold smoke and face shots are so cool and refreshing after an eternal indian summer. Here’s the secret: The snow is incredible between 10,000′ and 12’000′ where the terrain is sheltered from the wind, shaded …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – February 21, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz1 Comment

Howdy backcountry skiers and snowboarders! Since the atmospheric river weather event hit 2 weeks ago, the backcountry has been in excellent conditions. This is definitely a good news-bad news scenario though. The coverage below 10,000′ and on sunny aspects at all elevations is sparse, but what we have is very supportable and skis well. The storm finished colder leaving a skiff of snow on top of rain crust and densely packed storm snow. Warm days with unusually high temperatures and …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – February 13th, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

Backcountry skiers and snowboarders, Happy Friday the 13th! Well, in case you haven’t been paying attention, the Groundhog Day spell has been broken. Today is tomorrow! We had an atmospheric river weather event that put up to around a foot of snow down at the higher elevations. For such a significant moisture tap this was disappointing but this season we’ll take what we get and like it. The bad news is that most of the precipitation fell as rain in …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – February 2nd, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz2 Comments

Howdy backcountry skiers and snowboarders, It’s Groundhog Day!!! Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow this morning which means 6 more weeks of winter. We had a couple weeks of it so far this season and we are looking forward to some more of it. Fortunately, the Sierra backcountry season really is best and most reliable in what is technically considered spring, but the spring season is usually just better and longer when we have a big winter too. Though we die …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – January 28, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz1 Comment

Not feeling too inspired to update the last report, but I figured we all could use another shot of Groundhog Day humor. Maybe we are all becoming better people for living the same dry and stormless winter weather day after day: Unfortunately, this is not looking to be like last year where the end of January yielded a decent winter storm to end the dry spell and we could ski again on Groundhog Day. This year we are currently having …