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Spring in the Sierra: Where to Ski, Eat, and do as the locals.

Pro skier Jeremey Benson offers tips on where to find good backcountry spring skiing in California's Sierra Nevada—from Tioga Pass to Mt. Whitney—as well as insider knowledge on the best local BBQ, hot springs, bike rides, gear shops, and more.

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As resorts across the country are closing for the season and summer gear is being dusted off, the spring skiing in the eastern Sierra is going off.…

As resorts across the country are closing for the season and summer gear is being dusted off, the spring skiing in the eastern Sierra is going off. From Tioga Pass to Mt. Whitney, the Sierra Nevada has one of the deepest snow packs in the country and right now is the perfect time to get out and enjoy it. California’s mild weather and dense snow pack make for some of the finest spring corn imaginable, so start early, know your aspects, and follow the sun throughout the day.

Tioga Pass: When highway 120 gets plowed for the summer it provides some of the easiest access to incredible terrain. With paved road access to 9,900…

Tioga Pass: When highway 120 gets plowed for the summer it provides some of the easiest access to incredible terrain. With paved road access to 9,900 feet getting to the steep and challenging lines off the Dana Plateau and Ellery Bowl becomes almost easy. Accessing the summit of Mt. Dana, and Yosemite National Park’s highest point, at 13,057 feet is just a short 3,100 vertical foot hike away. For those interested in a mellower adventure, the north side of Tioga Pass Road has plenty of options on mountains like White and False White.

Mt Whitney:  Contrary to popular belief, the highest point in the lower 48 isn’t in Colorado, it’s the summit of Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet. Located…

Mt Whitney: Contrary to popular belief, the highest point in the lower 48 isn’t in Colorado, it’s the summit of Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet. Located west of the town of Lone Pine, California, Mt. Whitney and its towering neighbors are some of the most staggeringly beautiful mountains in the country. The Whitney Portal Road provides paved road access to 8,200 feet putting the summit within reach for a big day trip or a leisurely overnight. Tagging the highest summit in the lower 48 is easier than you might think, and the month of May is the perfect time to give it a try.

Need help finding your way around?  Check out Backcountry Skiing California’s High Sierra, by John Moynier, or Backcountry Skiing California’s…

Need help finding your way around?  Check out Backcountry Skiing California’s High Sierra, by John Moynier, or Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra, by Dan Mingori and Nate Greenberg.

For gear and local knowledge, stop in to Mammoth Mountaineering on the main drag in Mammoth Lakes. Their knowledgeable staff can set you up with what you need and point you in the right direction to find the goods.

Where to Eat near Tioga Try the lobster taquitos or the fish tacos at the Whoa Nellie Deli in the Mobil Mart at the junction of Tioga Pass Road and…

Where to Eat near Tioga
Try the lobster taquitos or the fish tacos at the Whoa Nellie Deli in the Mobil Mart at the junction of Tioga Pass Road and highway 395, or check out Mono Cone in Lee Vining for good old-fashioned burgers and ice cream. 

Where to Eat near Mammoth
Angels on the main road in Mammoth Lakes has an incredible beer selection and good meats straight out of the smoker, I recommend the beef brisket dinner.

Where to Eat in Bishop
BBQ Bills is my favorite cheap restaurant in downtown Bishop, the “Lite Eaters” meals are big enough for even the heartiest of backcountry skiers. Amigos has your Mexican needs covered with unlimited chips and salsa to snack on while you wait for your meal.

Go fishing. With hundreds of lakes and streams to choose from you’re sure to get lucky and snag a few fish. Check out Lee Vining Creek, near Tioga…

Go fishing. With hundreds of lakes and streams to choose from you’re sure to get lucky and snag a few fish. Check out Lee Vining Creek, near Tioga Pass, Virginia Lakes, South Lake, or Lake Sabrina.

Go climbing. It’s no wonder that Bishop, California, is a climbers’ paradise, with world class climbing like the Owens River Gorge and the Buttermilks just minutes from town.

Ride your bike. The lower Rock Creek trail is melted out even when there is stills tons of snow up high. This 2,000-foot descent is easy to shuttle and a great way to spend a windy or stormy day.

Sit in a natural hot spring.
  There’s no better way to loosen up after a big day in the mountains than to sit in a natural hot spring. With dozens of hot springs to choose from, you can soak your way to better skiing.

-Sunblock, and lots of it-Ice Axe: Black Diamond’s Raven Ultra is my favorite for a super lightweight mountaineering axe.-Touring Bindings: Marker…

-Sunblock, and lots of it
-Ice Axe: Black Diamond’s Raven Ultra is my favorite for a super lightweight mountaineering axe.
-Touring Bindings: Marker Dukes are the go-to for high DIN freeride backcountry skiing or Dynafit for super lightweight performance.
-Skins: Black Diamond Glidelite Mohair Mix STS are my favorite for lightweight consistent performance.