Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby ChrisC » Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:32 pm

Looks like the Andes have had a few good years now.

The snowfall pattern seem very California Sierra Nevada like - big dumps, lots of clear weather and moderate temps. Makes sense since it is somewhat the reciprocal location in the Southern hemisphere.

What was the approximate base for Las Lenas when you were there a few years ago? Are they similar? What might be a 'good' level where most of the mountain is open?
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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:27 pm

The Andes snowfall pattern is more extreme than the Sierra. Monthly snowfall standard deviation at Las Lenas is 50% more than at typical Sierra resorts. Latitude is lower: Las Lenas = Taos, Valle Nevado = L.A., Portillo = San Diego. This probably has a lot to do with the volatility. But altitude is like Colorado and the peaks behind VN and Portillo are 16,000 - 20,000, so the big dumps when the storms get far enough north aren't a surprise either.

In terms of base depths I was at Las Lenas in a big year, so I can't say what is necessary. Realistically this is about the time one would need to commit to late August/early September at Las Lenas, and the current 70-240cm. base would not be a deterrent IMHO. Extremely Canadian does say the lower mountain has been sketchy on some of their trips, but Marte's terrain preserves well and doesn't get enough skier traffic to chew it up.

The above comments would not apply to resorts farther south in Chile. From what I read, Chillan is a good analogy to our NW resorts. Lower altitude, more consistent but wetter snow.
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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Snoventures.com » Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:40 am

Las Lenas is indeed an excellent resort for backcountry providing the Marte lift is open,although it shuts frequently.
My personal favourite is Termas de Chillan with great backcountry options and several off piste areas to explore.
Don't overlook some of the smaller resorts that only have a few lifts, where you can get more than your fair share of pow.
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Re: re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Patrick » Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:34 am

Snoventures.com wrote:My personal favourite is Termas de Chillan with great backcountry options and several off piste areas to explore.
Don't overlook some of the smaller resorts that only have a few lifts, where you can get more than your fair share of pow.


Termas is currently on radar for my trip, not sure, still trying to figure the logistics.

On the definite list are the Three Valleys areas, Portillo and Arpa.

Initially I was looking into maybe one day at Chape Verde (700m vert) or Lagunillas (350m) near Santiago. I was also looking at Pucon at one point, but opted for the closer Termas de Chillan.

Leaving Canada on August 28th.
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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Snoventures.com » Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:56 am

I'd recommend Termas before the others with a day or two cat skiing at El Arpa.

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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:32 pm

August 23 season-to-date snowfall totals:
Portillo 287 inches
Valle Nevado 177 inches
That's only 31 and 38 inches of August snowfall.

Base depth range at Las Lenas is 120-270cm.

I am wondering if I should have done Chillan instead of the Valle Nevado group for the second half of my trip, particularly since we're visiting the Colchagua Valley, which is nearly halfway there.

I guess my rationale while planning was related to snow conditions at comparable elevations in North America. Since Chillan is much lower than Portillo or Valle Nevado, I figured spring conditions in mid-September would be more likely. Like comparing PNW areas to Mammoth. Those of you who have been there are welcome to comment.
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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby ChrisC » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:51 pm

Are you primarily concerned about conditions?

I'm not sure if you are following these threads at TGR, but they might provide some useful for observations.

Termas de Chillan - going stale
http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... as+chillan

South America general
http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... as+chillan
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Re: re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Patrick » Fri Aug 24, 2007 6:35 pm

ChrisC wrote:I'm not sure if you are following these threads at TGR (...)
Termas de Chillan - going stale
http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... as+chillan

I don't know what your talking about. :wink:

Chris, are you still planning to head down?

Confirmed plans:
Portillo 5-8
El Arpa 9

Maybes:
30-31: Termas (2) or Three Valleys (2)
1-4: Three Valleys (3days) or Termas (2-3 days + travel)
11: Valle Nevado???

If I'm solo (train-bus) in the whole first week I would start in Termas, if not, I'll wait for some partners (rental car) to land to head South and hit the Three Valleys resorts first.

I should be seeing Tony for 2 days at Portillo and during that Arpa day.
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Re: re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby ChrisC » Fri Aug 24, 2007 7:14 pm

Patrick wrote:I don't know what your talking about. :wink:

Chris, are you still planning to head down?


No. Someday. I just follow along for interest and future plans. And maybe if they ever made the Marte lift reliable.

For example, there is a lot more skiing in Chile than I realized. I did not really know about Arpa or Chillan until this year. The reality is I will not be able to see everything in South America I would want on a single trip. Pick and choose.



I was looking to possibly go to Europe this winter. Some friends were interested in doing the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route. I have not really done much touring (a few single days in the Sierra and 3-day San Juan) and the grand daddy of all tours sounds memorable. Some shoulder days at Chamonix OR Andermatt would make it especially appealing.
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Re: re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Patrick » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:47 am

ChrisC wrote:there is a lot more skiing in Chile than I realized. I did not really know about Arpa or Chillan until this year. The reality is I will not be able to see everything in South America I would want on a single trip. Pick and choose.


I also didn't know much prior to planning this trip, definitely plan into making another trip to South America in the future.
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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:23 am

No question I'll do another South America ski trip sometime too, to hit the southern areas.
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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:34 pm

Sept. 18 season-to-date snowfall totals:
Portillo 287 inches
Valle Nevado 180 inches
That's zero and 3 inches of snowfall in the past 4 weeks.

Base depth range at Las Lenas is 80-250cm.

Over the past month what storms there have been have stayed south, to the benefit of areas like Chillan and Bariloche.
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Re: re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Patrick » Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:45 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Over the past month what storms there have been have stayed south, to the benefit of areas like Chillan...
\:D/ :mrgreen:
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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Admin » Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:18 pm

The pink poles made it to South America!!!
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re: Which resort in Argentina/Chile?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:18 am

Perhaps I should follow Patrick's destination itineraries more closely in the future. His recent track record is pretty good, considering Jackson Hole in 2006 and Chillan this time.

Nonetheless this trip and the snow stats from Portillo have raised some red flags about South America's snow reliability. Before the trip I had presumed that Las Lenas and Valle Nevado had similar snowfall and that Portillo got more. I now have Portillo's stats and they are similar to Las Lenas. There is little question that Valle Nevado gets less, 72% of Portillo over the past 3 seasons.

So Portillo and Las Lenas are in the 250 inch average range and Valle Nevado less than 200. Volatility of precipitation is in fact quite similar to what we see here in L.A. at similar latitude. The snow averages are higher than Baldy/Waterman due to higher elevation in the Andes so the precipitation is all snow vs. some rain in SoCal. But the Portillo stats are in both snowfall average and volatility very similar to Arizona Snowbowl, which is at comparable elevation. As we know from recent experience there (plus the 7 seasons at Portillo under 2.5 meters) the risk of extreme drought is real.

I would like to get some stats from Chillan, but that may not happen until I actually go there (I should have assigned Patrick that task!). Bariloche by its own website claims annual snowfall of 60 inches at the base, 120 mid-mountain and 240 on top. Bariloche had an exceptionally good season in 2007, and it's quite clear to me that John Nash should have gone there instead of the VN group.
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