Chile, Valle Nevado. July 30-Aug 1

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  1. #1
    Cannonball's Avatar
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    Chile, Valle Nevado. July 30-Aug 1

    I'm still in Chile for another week of work. But I have the night to myself at a friends house in Santiago with a good internet connection. So as promised, here's a little more detail and some more summer stoke.

    We arrived in Chile last weekend. We spent 3 days visiting with friends in Santiago, plus a side trip to Valparaiso. Valparaiso is one seriously wild city. I had been there early this year but definitely wanted to visit again. Here's a just a typical mural on a typical house in 'Valpo'....

    Valpomural.jpg

    On Tuesday we headed up to Valle Nevado. The road to VN is by far the most insane mountain pass I have been on. It FAR outdoes the Colorado passes that I always thought were pretty hairy (Tennessee, Independence, Rabbit ears, Berthoud). There aren't a lot of options for getting up the pass. You can rent a car but there a lot of restrictions on travel and requirements for chains etc. Plus that's not a cheap option when the car will just be parked there for 4 days. You can take a private car or a helicopter, both are pretty expensive. So we went against the advice of MadMadWorld and took the most popular option of a shuttle van. Having been forewarned, we at least knew enough to get there early and snag the front seats. This made all the difference because my wife would have been hurling all over the van if she had been in the back. The most significant downside to taking the van (puking aside) is that with all the stops and BS it doesn't get you to the mountain until ~11:30.

    So, arriving at VN at 11:30 on Tuesday with still bags to check, gear to rent, etc, we opted not to snowboard at all that day. I was a little disappointed about that but in the end it was definitely the best call. With a base lodge at ~9,000' we pretty happy to get some acclimation under our belts. Although I did break all the altitude rules with a couple of beers and a Pisco Sour. I already sent one picture from that first day in my 'teaser' post but here's another...

    photo (2).jpg

    July 30. Weather: socked in, ~35 degrees. This season has been pretty crappy for Chile. They got off to a huge early start in June but haven't had much love in awhile. The snow was old and well worn. There was a lot of bare ground and several options including the inter-mountain connections were either closed or unwelcoming. This day probably would have sucked except that it was so warm. It was basically spring skiing conditions in the middle of their winter. New England skiers no how to make the most of any conditions and that's exactly what we did. Even though the terrain was limited we found the best of it and had a blast.

    July 31. Weather: ~2" fresh, snowing lightly, ~25 degrees, strong winds. We knew there was some snow in forecast so we were up early. We skied down from our apartment before the lifts opened hoping to catch first chair....which we did. But we probably could have slept another hour and still got first chair. Nobody there is gung ho about getting at it. So we had a solid hour with the mountain basically to ourselves. You know how even 2" of fresh can make a difference when things have been stale. And the strong winds had created drifts of boot+ deep. Still, the conditions weren't fantastic. The flat light, wind, and blowing snow made it very difficult to read the treeless terrain (I really miss trees!!). But again we made the most of what was there, riding on the narrow strips of windblown fluff as only New Englanders can appreciate.

    August 1. Bluebird, 4-6" fresh, ~35 degrees. Amazing! Once again we were up early. Again we got first chair. And this time it was fresh first tracks, and second, and third, etc down wide open faces. There was seriously nobody there to take advantage of an absolutely perfect day. There are stray dogs that live on the mountain, and besides us they were the only ones enjoying the freshies. It was so damn good the words aren't coming to me, so I'll wrap this up with a few more pics and some video....

    Andes Express Chairlift
    GOPR2587.jpg

    GOPR2591.jpg

    Making friends with the local powder hounds
    dogs.jpg



    Little bit of video. Damn those crowds....


    PS: As good as it was there were quite a few negatives to the VN resort experience. I'm not really into negative reviews so I don't want to get into it here. But if you are making plans to go hit me up for some comments or suggestions.

  2. #2
    wow looks awesome ! Nice Video.......weird no tree's though ! But still looked really good thanks for sharing.......
    Nice to see you out getting some and wow it looked crowded !! Yikes !

  3. #3
    JimG.'s Avatar
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    Can you ski that lift line chute under the chairlift?

    That looks pretty sweet.

  4. #4
    Cannonball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimG. View Post
    Can you ski that lift line chute under the chairlift?

    That looks pretty sweet.
    It was very, very enticing. But the conditions were not really ripe for it on a board. I saw one guy ski it but that included sidestepping across ~50' of rocks and dirt at the top, then sidestepping ~50' of ice at the bottom. With another foot of snow it would have been sweet.

  5. #5

    Chile, Valle Nevado. July 30-Aug 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Cannonball View Post

    August 1. Bluebird, 4-6" fresh
    I think a might be a little bit jealous.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    So jealous! Been a Dream of mine for a long time to ski down there.
    Fwiw-have a friend who has been going down there for years but I think he prefers skiing portillo.


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  7. #7
    Cannonball's Avatar
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    Camera

    One more pic for @deadheadskier ....

    Waffle.jpg

  8. #8

  9. #9
    We'll my wife and I just watched the video and we are envious! My wife comments - Lets go! So hopefully with a little planning we can get there next year.

    Thanks for the stoke!


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  10. #10
    I am so envious right now. Mm
    Live, Ski or Die Trying!!!
    "Life is not measured by the numbers of breaths we take, but by the ski runs that take our breath away."

    SKI THE EAST!!!!!!

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