Pucon, CHL - August 30, 08

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Pucon, CHL - August 30, 08

Postby Patrick » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:36 pm

Well, this is pretty pathetic.

Here is a rundown of my Argentinian Adventures.

This Argentinian Adventures started in Santiago, LAST year. One trip down here and I wanted to come back. I decided to go maggot style (ie. (almost) as cheap as possible).

Day 1: Agosto 28

Arrival in Santiago after a 11 hrs flight. Air Canada had canceled the Tuesday night, but I hadn't seen the email. :oops: Anyhow, Wednesday was now the correct date. Traded emails with a couple of maggots. The decision was to head for Pucon, the famed Santa Rosa storm looked like it was going to happen. One maggot that was suppose to take the bus at the same time, jumped the gun and heading earlier. Found out he arrived in a rain storm in town. He eventually skied on the lower lifts(?) before I got there.

Okay, so my plane got late and hoped in a minivan taxi for the Alameda bus terminal. Last day bus was at 12:50, I was on it. The trip lasted 5 movies. I watched 2 on the bus (The Last King of Scotland and Troy) plus the 2 on the plane (Caddyshack and some Danish movie with subtitles). Not surprised that the nude scene (?) and perhaps the weed smoking were cut from the movie, but the OhHeary in the pool gag? What is wrong with people.

SuperNat was the one that told me about Pucon. She had skied there as an alternative after all the road to the resorts close to Santiago were closed in 2005.

Arrived in Pucon at midnight, it was raining.

Ride from the airport to the bus station. Sunny and clear blue sky in Santiago
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After 11 hours in a plane from Toronto to Santiago, I travelled 11 hours by bus to Pucon.
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Along the road outside Santiago and going south
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Chillan about 600km south.
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Even further south
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Day 2: Agosto 29

It rained all day. Maggots and I decided against skiing, the forecast for the next day was sunny. One of us found this great tour. Saw some waterfalls, rivers and rapids, a beautiful lakes...a finish in the Natural Hot Spring. The visibility was bad, so we didn't really see any mountains.

A few bad things happened on this trip. I smashed my head while jumping into the van (nice red scratch) plus the one that is more serious. My money (most of it) disappeared while in the Hot Springs. At first I thought I had paid 40000 for breakfast instead of 4000 that morning, but once at the Hostal I noticed that I was missing even more. I had a 10000 CHP bill went I paid for the tour, that and my changed was gone at supper time. I have a few suspects, but not sure.

Needless to say, I was pissed. The maggots went out to check out the meat market while I stayed in the Hostal.

Pucon (Chile) tour in the rain
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Rain on Pucon
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Pucon tour
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Hot Springs
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Day 3: Agosto 30

It's was suppose to get better. It was still raining, but the cloud cover was higher. You could actually see some mountains to the North. The maggots were warm in their beds when the Brazilian and myself decided to head up the mountain. I had asked at the office where they organized the transport, they mentioned that 3 lifts were opened. Instead of leaving at 10am, I had to organized my bus ticket (office was closed the next day). Went up at 11am, snow level was at about 1000meters. Visibility was bad, real bad. The only thing open was the lower lift which is mostly below treeline. We were warned that the lift might closed. We paid anyway (price was discounted). On the slow lift in the rain, the rain was getting harder. I'm thinking about Tony and what he is going to say about the ski quality and dog tail analogy (no, I wasn't ;) ). Vert for that lift is 189 meters, pretty green terrain. There seemed to be a few fun shots to try, however the visibility was so bad, we didn't try it for that run.

Once at the bottom, a sign at lift said...CERRADO...they closed due to wind. It wasn't really that windy, the chairs weren't even moving. Oh well, chalk one up on the TISA factor.

Once back in the town, the rain was only moderate, nothing what we had on the mountain. The maggots had left for great Termas and the Brazilian changed his bus ticket to take the overnighter to Santiago.

I'm leaving the next day for San Martin de Los Andes in Argentina.

PS. Before Tony gets on me about the dog wagging thing, I recall him saying that he skied in the same type of conditions in NZ. The streak wasn't my only motivation, I wanted to ski on this hill before leaving + feed up of not going anything. The Brazilian didn't have a streak, he was tired of not skiing on his trip. He skied in rain in Bariloche and now in Pucon.

Enough for today, Internet is 3 peso/hour. :-s

Pucon street
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Pucon. Sky clearing up?
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Ski Pucon - 1 run in the rain then Cerrado.
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Ski Pucon lower lodge
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Ski Pucon - didn't see much of it - apparently there is a volcano?
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Pucon - bottom lift below treeline was only open for 1 run. (source: nevasport)
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Last edited by Patrick on Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Pucon, CHL - August 30, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:45 pm

I'm not trying to be a chronic curmudgeon in advising people for their ski trips. I think the best attitude is to to be cautious and anticipate possible negative contingencies while in the planning process. Once committed I'll suffer with the best of them and try to make the most out of a difficult situation. My full day in the rain at Coronet Peak in 1982 is as good an example as any of the latter.

South America has several risks: erratic weather, lackadaisical management, marginal weather forecasts, inefficient lift systems, slow and tedious transportation. Patrick has reminded us now of security issues, which are perhaps not a function of being in Chile, but rather of staying in dirt-cheap lodging with less than reputable people around. I'm sure this happens in North America and Europe as well sometimes.

This is why I'm inclined to pay up for guides like Extremely Canadian in the more dicey locations. In Las Lenas in 2005 we had only one day with good weather and Marte open (see lackadaisical management above). So having come all that distance it seems worthwhile to have had the guides to navigate and time conditions rather than spend our one good day making mistakes by trial and error. EC also got us into a snowcat one of the days Marte was down. Similarly last march I managed to show up in La Grave when it had not snowed in a month (see erratic weather above). I doubt I would have gotten near anything like La Voute or Le Rama without being in a well-prepared, low client-to-guide-ratio group like Extremely Canadian. I might add that Extremely Canadian also runs guided trips through interior B.C. I would consider those tours an unnecessary extravagance, as most of B.C can be safely and cheaply navigated independently.

I suspect most visiting skiers in South America would be most comfortable with a middle ground between Patrick's current trip and the premium Extremely Canadian/Powderquest type tour. That might mean hiring a driver like we did last year in Chile. Or renting a car like Johnny Kay, who cat skied with us in Arpa. In either case you waste less time, and have more flexibility to change plans when weather serves up a negative surprise. Since Patrick seems unwilling to pay for either of these options, I think his wisest choice would have been to take public transit into one big resort (probably Las Lenas based on where conditions stood shortly before his trip) and spend most of the trip there.

If cost/value is an important constraint, choose destinations that offer high value per dollar, like SLC and interior B.C. Those of you who think I'm :dead horse: should recall that these are the places I recommend most often. I don't advise people to go to the ritzy or exotic places, or go heliskiing, unless I think that's what would suit them best.
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Re: Pucon, CHL - August 30, 08

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:43 am

Tony Crocker wrote:but rather of staying in dirt-cheap lodging with less than reputable people around.


The mistake I made and where my money vanished was at the Hot Springs. The people staying at my hostal weren't the problem...it was probably the guy staying at the hotel that did the tour with us. :-k Hostal are generally safe and clean. People are great. You get to meet some great people and hear some amazing stories. :P

Tony Crocker wrote:That might mean hiring a driver like we did last year in Chile. Or renting a car like Johnny Kay, who cat skied with us in Arpa. In either case you waste less time, and have more flexibility to change plans when weather serves up a negative surprise.


Distances are great when you go to Pucon. I wouldn't have driven over that flooded road without a lifejacket. Bus is the relaxing way to go. 8)

Tony Crocker wrote:Since Patrick seems unwilling to pay for either of these options, I think his wisest choice would have been to take public transit into one big resort (probably Las Lenas based on where conditions stood shortly before his trip) and spend most of the trip there.


:-({|=

Sorry, I'm catching up to my reading. Carry on. :P
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Re: Pucon, CHL - August 30, 08

Postby Patrick » Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:31 pm

Of course this ISN'T my stuff. Discovered these great clip on the Powderquest site. Great presentation of the places I've been on this trip. Looks like there is really a volcano in Pucon, I never saw it. :-k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PeRd2pPx3o&eurl

Not that I knew before hand, but they started their tour the same way I did. Waiting in Pucon and then moving on to Argentina.
Last edited by Patrick on Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pucon, CHL - August 30, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:14 pm

I think I will ask Powderquest how often they actually get to climb that volcano in the 2-day window alloted by their tours. My guess is <50%.
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Re: Pucon, CHL - August 30, 08

Postby Patrick » Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:48 am

Bump for re-edition with pics.

In time for the new season.
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Re: Pucon, CHL - August 30, 08

Postby Admin » Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:50 pm

Patrick wrote:Bump for re-edition with pics.


:shock:
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