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Las Lenas, Argentina, Aug. 29, 2015

Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:36 pm

The first week has not ended well. It was raining when I was out to dinner Thursday night. Friday it was blowing hard, Minerva was the only chair open, so it was an easy call not to ski. It was cloudy with a bit of graupel late Friday afternoon. It was supposed to snow a couple of inches Friday, but when I got up Saturday morning the gravel parking lot was bare. Here’s this week’s bus from Buenos Aires just after dropping people off.
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Notice the last passengers down there with in the gravel with their luggage like me a week ago.

Vulcano started running about noon, so I skied a half day to survey the damage. The tan snow extending far above Minerva showed that it rained extensively and pretty high up.
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It looks better above Vulcano here, but when I got closer I could see occasional tan spots up to 10,000 feet or so.
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I skied a couple of the pistes first, which were of course in late spring mode. Fortunately I had my skis waxed after Thursday afternoon’s base area slush. Next came 2 exploratory north traverses from Vulcano. The traverse itself is sketchier now.
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The rain washed debris into the gully runout.
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I skied this same chute as on two other days.
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It doesn’t look pretty but since I’ve been skiing Baldy and May/June at Mammoth for 35+ years it was easier for me than in slabby fresh snow.

The second time out I went farther to get a longer but mellower run which would keep me out of the bottom of that gully. The upper section was almost corn already, as rain speeds up the compaction process.
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The lower section was stickier (it was past 3:30) with some patches to avoid.
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The steep shot in the right side of the picture above had some powder tracks Monday, but was completely trashed by the rain.

Here’s 2 of what must have been 6-7 rabbits I saw out here.
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Vulcano’s liftline built up to about 15 minutes by the time I left. I traversed to the bowl above Minerva that I had skied in powder Wednesday afternoon.
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It was wet snow but smooth and supportable.

As on the other half days I finished with a couple of Caris to Cenidor laps. Looking down the Cenidor chute I’m skiing for the 7th time.
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This was definitely like May/June off the top of Mammoth. There were more chunks from skier traffic than the other runs I skied, so Cenidor will be tough in refrozen conditions.

The first week is done. As in 2005 Marte was only open a day and a half of the week with somewhat worse conditions. As it is now it’s marginal to buy a day ticket if Marte isn’t open. But with clearing weather Marte should be open more often next week, which is a tradeoff I’ll be happy to take.

Re: Las Lenas, Argentina, Aug. 29, 2015

Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:57 am

Have you seen any figures on the percentage of visitors at LL who are from the northern hemisphere?

Re: Las Lenas, Argentina, Aug. 29, 2015

Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:42 pm

An excellent question but I don't think it's a very high percentage. The vast majority of people stay on piste as in Europe and they are all on very narrow waisted skis. But nearly anyone from the northern hemisphere who's enough of an addict to come here is coming for the big mountain terrain and will be on wide skis. This is of course a reason why it's essential to bring your own skis. Most of the rentals are narrow waisted for the Argentine and Brazilian clientele.

I can think of few places where wide skis are more important than here. But well under 10% of people are on wide skis.
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