Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

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Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:58 am

Were Don Otto and the upper surface lifts at Chillan running when you were there? Do people say the TISA factor (conflicting ownership of lifts and facilities in the past couple of years) has been straightened out?
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Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:34 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Were Don Otto and the upper surface lifts at Chillan running when you were there? Do people say the TISA factor (conflicting ownership of lifts and facilities in the past couple of years) has been straightened out?


The revisit of Termas now Nevados was pretty amazing from the TISA factor stand point. I might be mistaken, Ill have to look at my various pics at home, but all major lifts, except Otto have been changed. (more later). Otto is the only one that remains somewhat the same (although seats have changed and tower were painted) since my last visit.

Many things have also changed in the resort and town below it. Same things at the other places Ive wanted to see (Cerro Bayo) or skied (El Colorado - Valle Nevado (last run Wednesday).

Yes, it was my impression that things are somewhat straightened out. However they are lifts (beginner t-bars an chair) not on the map and at the bottom that seems to be associated to Termas de Chillan and cant be access with the normal lift ticket.

All lifts ran from my arrival (30th) till my last day (3rd). We were on or the last person of the lift when they shutdown the Mirador, Otto then t-bar due to high winds. It made the last ride up Otto pretty wild. Then the clouds moved in to turn the lower mountain into full whiteout conditions.
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Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:22 pm

Patrick wrote:look at it as a trip perspective will you

That's exactly the way I or anyone else should look at it. Thus for time or cost comparisons Southern Hemisphere trips should be compared to mid-winter trips to the American/Canadian West or to the Alps. I've done 6 of them myself and only one (NZ 2006) measured up in terms of snow conditions to an average western trip. Patrick's avatar still refers to the "great trip of 2006" (Bridger/Big Sky/Jackson/Snow King/Alta/Snowbird with several powder days). I suspect none of his southern trips come even close in quality of snow/terrain to that one.

I think Marte compares to the best of the Alps in terrain quality, but we all know that you will probably get to ski it less than half the time and it's quite possible to get skunked for an entire week. Las Lenas actually had better conditions for me than La Grave, but I was able to ski from the top at La Grave 4 days vs. one at Las Lenas, the difference being not due to weather but to LL's waiting a week to dig out Marte from a previous storm .

I have little doubt that if you poll the repeat visitors to South American ski areas from the north that they are skiing there in addition to not instead of their regular destinations in the American/Canadian West or the Alps.

All of these places are worth visiting under the category of "new experiences." For repeat visits at least for me the bar is set higher and will be influenced by what I observed the first time. In that regard Japan is certainly the most alluring of the exotic ski locations I've experienced.
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Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:53 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
Patrick wrote:look at it as a trip perspective will you

Patrick's avatar still refers to the "great trip of 2006" (Bridger/Big Sky/Jackson/Snow King/Alta/Snowbird with several powder days). I suspect none of his southern trips come even close in quality of snow/terrain to that one.


Call it laziness and dont care. Plus I had someone take a picture of myself at that time. I have no avatar on all other ski forums.

Tony, give it a rest. I explained why I have issues with the mid-winter. I skied in June at Kmart on way more marginal conditions without regular skiing New England in winter, no streak...just the love of skiing.
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Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:48 pm

I read that Valle Nevado will be putting in a gondola starting somewhere below the hotels. Will it be any lower than the existing Prado base? Will it be possible to ski any of those backside El Colorado runs Geoff touts to the new gondola instead of having to arrange a road pickup?

The map shows one new chair at VN since 2007, Embalse. It only goes ~200 vertical deeper into that canyon than the base of Ballicas and Tres Puntas. There's a new surface lift Ancla up by Valle del Inca; that one doesn't add much terrain either.

Fabres lift at La Parva is new I think, serves the area toward El Colorado. Terrain might be OK, I'm guessing it's not well covered in a low tide year given sun/wind exposure (west).

I see 2 new short surface lifts and a restaurant in Valle Olympico at El Colorado. Those lifts and Fabres fill in the terrain among the 3 areas, which was ski accessible before but now a bit easier to reach or run laps.

In total marginal incremental additions IMHO. The game changer would be a new Valle Nevado gondola base low enough to be reached from the "Geoff runs" off the back of El Colorado. But given TISA I bet that gondola won't go low enough. I hope I'm wrong about this.
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Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:55 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I read that Valle Nevado will be putting in a gondola starting somewhere below the hotels. Will it be any lower than the existing Prado base? Will it be possible to ski any of those backside El Colorado runs Geoff touts to the new gondola instead of having to arrange a road pickup?


Buildings are already built and towers are in. VN added an extra parking and services on switchback lower. The main parking has now a number of hotels. It is slightly above the Prado and heads at the base of the Andes Express HSQ. I was there today. Its more a people mover to get away from the logjam at the Hotel and base.

There seems to be some ground work lower down. If they plan do to a lift there in the future, it would be possible to return on some of the closest chutes.

Tony Crocker wrote:The map shows one new chair at VN since 2007, Embalse. It only goes ~200 vertical deeper into that canyon than the base of Ballicas and Tres Puntas. There's a new surface lift Ancla up by Valle del Inca; that one doesn't add much terrain either.


Embalse : I was wondering if that was new or not. Its an old double. It opens up a huge areas to ski on looker s left of the Tres Puntas lift. Its an old double. You could clearly see the tracks. Ancle lift wasnt runing (not yesterday, it run almost into LaParva. I was wondering if it belongs to LP or VN yesterday).

Tony Crocker wrote:Fabres lift at La Parva is new I think, serves the area toward El Colorado. Terrain might be OK, I'm guessing it's not well covered in a low tide year given sun/wind exposure (west).


I dont have a map in front of me, for my taste, La Parva blows everyone away in that group. Slackcountry and backcountry serious steeps from that area. Some of the stuff is inbound, ski it yesterday. There was maybe 10-15 cm of fresh. It was a great day yesterday.

Tony Crocker wrote:I see 2 new short surface lifts and a restaurant in Valle Olympico at El Colorado. Those lifts and Fabres fill in the terrain among the 3 areas, which was ski accessible before but now a bit easier to reach or run laps.


It wasnt possible to ski there without arriving from VN or LP. I skied it coming back from LP 5 years ago, but now you can add a few steep groomers. I believe it was the Swiss girls training there on Wednesday. Quebec girls were on the front face. Quebec guys are Nevados. Austrian girls at one point apparently on my last day down in Chillan. Canadians were at VN today.

Tony Crocker wrote:In total marginal incremental additions IMHO.


Olympic valley and Embalse adds great possibility on accessing new terrain. The Embalse and potentially Ancia (not sure) would give some backcountry skiers an easy way on getting back.
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Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:41 pm

I agree the best potential for Embalse was to add more lines skier's left of Las Puntas.

Topographically Valle Olimpico is part of Valle Nevado. It's all a gravity traverse from Andes Express, and the return to Valle Nevado from the bottom is an easy cat road. I guess the terrain "belonged" to El Colorado and the lifts were put in because there's a saddle between Valle Olimpico and Cono Este making it a slog from the rest of El Colorado otherwise.

Now that lift integration is better, a combined 3-area ticket would be more useful. I agree La Parva is definitely best of the 3 for terrain, but it needs an above average snowpack to take full advantage since so much of it faces into prevailing winds.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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