Las Lenas 8/5/2006 - 8/19/2006

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Las Lenas 8/5/2006 - 8/19/2006

Postby aaron12345 » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:02 am

Just got back from las lenas. Epic. 5 Days of Marte in 2 weeks.

The day I got there was a storm day, with pretty much just the front pomas open. A bit dissapointing. I wake up the next morning to a perfect blue bird day. Waist deep powder, sunny, and no wind. The first half of the day I ski the traverse off of vulcano. I thought this was incredible... until they open Marte around 2 PM. This was the first day of the season Marte was open from what I gathered. The 2 runs I had on Marte that day were the 2 best runs I've ever had in my life.

The front face of the Marte lift is steep, with a continous 25-50 degree slope. For my 2 runs on Marte that day since the lift had just opened and there hadn't been any wind it was all untracked perfect powder. Incredible. After the 2nd run, the altitude forced me to go in, I live at about sea level and had never been at 12,000ft before. Let's just say my head and stomach weren't too happy about it, but it was more than worth it.

The next week and a bit were pretty much storm days. Marte was closed, but vulcano was open for the majority of them. The snow was great, even though it was windy, it dumped so much snow (10ft+) that pretty much everything was powder. The biggest issue on the storm days was light. On most of the days it was okay, but on 2 or 3 days it was bad enough to come in early because the light was so flat, and you really had to stay on pisted on ski near rocks to keep your bearings. One these days it was best to follow someone in front of you (our guides were pro skiers, and they new the mountain well enough not to need to see), because judging slope was pretty much impossible on these days. There was one day that after one run we all came in because it was just plain scary even to ski groomers. Between the snow, wind, and light the visibility was many times under 5 ft.

For the last 4 days of skiing it was sunny with not a cloud in the sky. Marte was open all 4 of these days. The first day the snow was pretty good, by the second and third day it was hard to find powder and becoming more windpacked, and by the forth day with the sun so strong (40-50 degrees) the snow had become more like spring corn snow.

All in all a great trip, and I think I was very lucky with the weather. Hopefully I'll get back there sometime. I think the key to enjoying Las Lenas is to go there without the expectation of Marte, things happening (such as lifts opening) anywhere near on time, and understanding that the reliability of things we take for granted (such as ATM machines having money in them) are not reliable there. It also helps if you eat meat, Las Lenas is one of the more expensive areas in Argentina, and yet you can still get a good dinner at a nice place (2 filet mingons) for about $12 US :)
Last edited by aaron12345 on Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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re: Las Lenas 8/5/2006 - 8/19/2006

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:16 am

I think this is a very good report in giving skiers a flavor of the full range of conditions you can get at Las Lenas. It should also make clear than it's dumb to go there for anything less than a week if you want a decent chance of getting Marte.

The opening of Marte after the first storm shows how epic Las Lenas can be when it's right. The transition after the second storm is more like what I saw. You might only get a day or two of powder before the wind or sun transforms the snow. The warm weather does create fantastic corn, and while it can take a week to do that, at Las Lenas in September a lot of it was pretty good after just 2-3 days.

Too bad about the altitude still being a factor on day 2. Skiing tops out at 11,200 (I don't think he was hiking above that) and sleep elevation is 7,400, so I think aaron's altitude sensitivity is a little more than normal. Good news is that it may decrease after adolescence. Bad news is that he will need to take it easy the first 2-3 days at places like Aspen, Vail, Altabird and Mammoth as well as the really high places like Taos, CB, Telluride and Summit County Colorado.

I hope your guides gots some pics of that day 2.
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