La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

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La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:09 am

Day 6 - September 2

Sidewalk under thick wet slush. Winter Wonderland for all the tourists in San Martin de Los Andes. Many were still sleeping when I left, I took a cab in order to catch the early bus (7:45am) out toward Bariloche.

This trip took sidetrip to Villa La Angostura, the 2 hour sidetrip/detour road was only 20km away from Bariloche when it took the road to Villa. So instead of the normal 4 hours, this trip took 6. However I wanted to be on this bus, the other buses were in mid-afternoon and didn't arrive in Bari before 6pm, which was only 30 minutes before the last bus to Esquel. I wanted to take fully advantage of this non-skiing/travel day to get as many kilometers out of it.

The scenery along Ruta 40 was pretty spectacular. Dry plains, river canyon, rock cliffs and peaks. Once passed the 20km from Bariloche sign, the bus changed roads and headed toward Villa La Angostura. Road runs along the north side of Nahuel Huapi lake, beautiful snowcover peaks on each side of the lake. Bariloche is on the south shore of the lake.

I eventually made it to the Bariloche bus station, I wanted to head to Esquel, however I wasn't sure what was happening at the ski area. Surf the net at the bus station, nothing on their website. Were they open? I know that Catedral was closed yesterday with no power with the wet snow that fell around town. Similar story in San Martin, which on and off power. Got on the bus at 3:15pm for a 5 hour bus ride.

The scenery was very different on this portion of the trip, however it wasn't less spectacular. Forest, lakes, mountains and glaciers, landscapes looked somewhat like Banff National Park. Watched the on=bus movie and took a nap after sunset. Woke up in what looked like a snow cover moon surface, it was surreal. Bus arrived in Esquel passed 8pm, it was dark. Esquel isn't a tourist town and is very different. No snow on the streets, but much colder. This place is off the beaten path.

Connections between buses isn't always easy. So I decided to use the whole day to travel. From San Martin (A) to Villa La Angostura (B) then Bariloche (C). Change bus in Bariloche for Esquel (D). Pretty much left by taxi at 6am and got at the Hostel in Esquel at 8-9pm.
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Ruta 40 between San Martin and Bariloche.
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Road between Bariloche and Villa La Angostura.
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Bariloche bus terminal and my stuff
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Ruta 40 between Bariloche and Esquel - Cerro Catedral ski area across the lake.
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Ruta 40 between Bariloche and Esquel
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El Bolson, Patagonia, Ruta 40, Argentina. Bueno.
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Waking up to this. Where am I? Getting closer to Esquel.
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Day 7: September 3, skiing at La Hoya

I was getting ready to leave with the organized transport at 9:30, however just before 9, an Argentinian told me that he had a spot in his truck if I wanted to hop in. Hell, yeah!!!

This Argentinian lived in El Bolson and was the friend of a group of French skiers. La Hoya is 15 km out of town up a winding road up to the base at 1341m. There is minimal lodging at the base and is surrounded by mountain walls. We get on the lift and slowly climb out of the valley. I :drool: at the lines on that face on the left side of the chair. As we get out on that valley, we're out of the shade and a whole alpine terrain appears in front of my eyes. Next chair up, It's a beautiful bluebird day and it's ...trackless !!! :drool:

Up a poma lift on the left side of the terrain, few lifts and a traverse into a powder field. You can traverse and choose your line, very few tracks. This is background, this is in-bounds. Hard to say how much new snow there is, 1, 2 feet. more??? The snow isn't heavy and is pretty cold.

\:D/ \:D/ \:D/

Trackless lap down all the way to the midstation chair. Back up the chair, instead of taking the poma lift, the upper chair is running and we hopped on it. Much of the same. We're going small laps on that upper chair. The terrain that we're skiing isn't real steep, but we're taking advantage of the trackless snow. The steeper lines are more out of the way.

I was ridding the chair with Martin, the Argentinian, he was saying he couldn't believe how fast the place was being tracked up. We'll, I told him, you do the math, we were 5 in our group and we had probably just finished our 8 run on this lift, that 40 different lines in trackless powder. :mrgreen: Most of this tracking, was done by US!!!

In afternoon, the French and their friend got their sails in the truck... It's called Speedriding. The Argentinian was friend with the ski patrol and got the green light to do their thing.

http://www.speedriding-school.com/

As they flew off, I skied elsewhere and had lunch. Did I mentioned that I was about to eat breakfast when I was offered a ride this morning. I wanted to eat at the mountain, but once I saw the conditions, I said that I didn't need to eat ... it was that good. I couldn't ski all the at down, they had closed down the bottom run due to grooming. :roll: Had to eat at the midstation cafeteria. One plate of spaghetti? 15 pesos or $5 US!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: That bottom run was closed for a few hours, I guess this is SA after all.

At the end of the day, we took a few extra French skiers in the back of the truck. There are definitely a lot of French skiers in some part of the Andes.

Coming back tomorrow, I bought a 2 day ticket for 60 pesos.

To be continued...

Ski map for La Hoya (source: Nevasport)
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Estacion de esqui La Hoya (Esquel, Argentina). Top chair (del Filo)
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Small hike from the top chair (that Q was talking about last year in the Bayo thread).
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TS del Filo and mostly our tracks.
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Poma del Sol.
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From the ridge above the top chair. Poma is seen in the middle.
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Chaiten volcano cloud (in Chile) in the horizon - view from top of ridge.
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La Hoya mid-base at 1650m.
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Some speedriding.
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View from TS Del Frente and valley below.
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End of day at the TS del Filo.
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Mid-base and some good terrain.
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Left-side of the Poma Del Sol.
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Heading back toward Esquel.
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The town of Esquel.
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Last edited by Patrick on Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:26 am

So that night I was trying to figure the logistics of getting back to Bariloche without missing a day due to travel. I found out that the last bus out of Esquel was at 4pm, so I needed to stop skiing early, get back to the Hostel to get my stuff then head for the bus station. At the small party that night, I found out that they was one cab driver and he said that he had to bring someone at the mountain for 1:30pm. So we set up a pickup time, all was set. Another French group arrived that night, a bunch of touring freeskiers.

Day 8 - skiing for a second day in a row!!!

That morning as I find myself waiting outside, no surprise last minute departure for me this morning. I was ready. Unfortunately not everyone were today. :roll: While I was waiting the Argentinian friend mentioned that sometimes there is volcanic dust on the cars in town. Previous day we had climb behind the top chair to see the view and get the look at the Chaiten volcano in Chile. You couldn't really see the volcano, just the massive cloud of smoke. The volcano is 100km directly West from Esquel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHzPoV63ows

All of a sudden, his truck isn't starting. He opens his hood and remove his carburator. :shock: :shock: :shock: #-o As he does this, the ski transfer arrives and leaves. :-" I'm losing patience, I have to leave early and we are not leaving. Eventually the trucks starts. Part of the group is ready, but someone is missing something. I asked if yesterday was an accident the fact that we left so early? I was told it always very complicated. #-o

Oh [censored], someone has to stop at a ski shop place to get a pair of skis. Yes, the guide from speedriding broke one of his skis yesterday after flying off the chutes above the base and landed hard on some snow covered rocks. As their last run, two from the group took off to some serious jumping. :o

Okay, we are ready? Leaving toward the mountain, oops someone forgot the picnic, back to the Hostel. The girl among in our group needed to go to the washroom and one of the guys wanted to say "Hi" to the cute Hostel hostess. [-X So they goes the early start? :evil:

We arrive at the base and see Freeskiers arrive at the base, they had just ski the chutes above the lift. Two from our group decided to follow them. First chair out of the base, second chair from the mid, poma and then a long high speed traverse above the chutes. Found one chute that hadn't been skied, speed and deep. \:D/ Oh yeah!!! The snow at the exit of the chutes was rougher, especially if you're flying at warp speed like the Big mountain skiers in our group. :o

So, let's do that again. This time we climb along the ridge. One of the guy that speedrode the chutes yesterday warns people not to follow his tracks or they find themselves over a 40m cliff. :o Good to know, especially for the hot shots in our group. 8-[

Nice powder turns again then I hit huge buried rock and flip over above a small hourglass canyon. :? I'm okay, but I'm not looking at my ski. Not now.

Third ride up and speaking to one of the guys. Mentioned that he's on a month streak, this was month 22 for him. However he got a serious injury (a few cracks and broken ribs) this season while Big mountain skiing, especially that he's on the Freeskiing tour. He's been a few times to Canada and has to bunch of good friend in Quebec, most of them at in Whistler now. Yep, I know a few people that went West in their older days, some even stayed. The some from our group joined his friend and was going sailing/speedriding. I headed toward the Chutes with the French team, but I wasn't going to climb with them, I was going to do this quick as it was getting late.

Finally, I took the lifts again to say goodbye and say thanks to the group I skied with yesterday. Arnaud from speedriding was showing people own to speedride.

It was a bit past 1:30pm and about to ski down to the base. Damn, that ski trail is cerrado again. #-o The only official way on-piste was to download on that slow chair. The trail was closed for maybe 3 hours yesterday for grooming. Whatever, TISA at work again. I was told by the French that they was away around the trail behind the chalet, they had to go through there yesterday to get the sails. It was a small and somewhat steep river bend canyon, everything was fine until I hit the flats. All of sudden I hit a rock and I crash hard sideways. Those crashes are the ones that you lease expect and that feel the worst. It was like a good body slam.

Got at the cab, the driver was having a hard time. He had to stop along the switchback to throw up!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: :D That was the first for me. I've ridden cab where a friend had to head out to throw up, but never the driver. :mrgreen:

Back on the bus at 4pm, arrived in Bariloche at 8:30ish.

Heading toward La Hoya
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Base at La Hoya.
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First lift from the base and fun stuff on the left.
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Leaving the base via the first lift.
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The fun stuff.
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Part of the view from the mid-station.
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La Hoya piste.
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Heading toward La Hoya off-piste.
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Oh Yeah!!! \:D/
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The Base of the area is straight down.
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Skiing is South America isn't worth it...I should have done to Las Lenas instead. $$$ :mrgreen:
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Right!!!
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Gang from http://www.speedriding-school.com.
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Esquel
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Esquel Bus terminal
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Back on the bus toward Bariloche.
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Ciao Esquel
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I love Patagonia.
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Last edited by Patrick on Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:13 am

Now, I REALLY know I should rent a car for this region. I haven't looked exhaustively, but it would be nice to find a good map to get an idea of times/distances among these towns and ski areas. Esquel is south of Bariloche? Lake District maps show Bariloche at the south end and San Martin at the north end. Where is Cerro Bayo in relation to the others? Which town in Argentina do you arrive in when crossing the border from Pucon?

What was the reason for the better/drier snow and colder weather at La Hoya? Timing, those were the days the weather in the region happened to be colder? Or is the local climate colder, the ski area higher?

I see one really good ski day on this entire trip, Sept. 3. Lots of time chewed up in transport logistics, only 3 runs on what should have been a comparable day. Despite limited time on Marte, Las Lenas still would have been better overall IMHO.

As I mentioned before, the Argentine Lake District does seems like a worthwhile ski destination, which I hope to do myself sometime. Patrick's reports show that you do want to move around and try multiple areas rather than park yourself in Bariloche for a week. My criticisms are of the timing and especially the logistics.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:59 am

A few answers before I head off to work.

Tony Crocker wrote:I haven't looked exhaustively, but it would be nice to find a good map to get an idea of times/distances among these towns and ski areas. Esquel is south of Bariloche?


I have a good old paper map here.

Bariloche-Esquel: 308km directly south of Bariloche on famous Ruta 40.

Tony Crocker wrote:Lake District maps show Bariloche at the south end and San Martin at the north end. Where is Cerro Bayo in relation to the others? Which town in Argentina do you arrive in when crossing the border from Pucon?


Cerro Bayo is 10km out of town of Villa La Angostura. Pretty ritzy place by South American standards. Villa La Angostura is about 100km from Bari. That road is the major border crossing. The highway is from Osorno (Chile) to Bari (247km).

San Martin de Los Andes is a short 64km through a very small road. I believe that someone from TGR did it and mentions it was a real pain. The bus and most of the traffic drive around the mountains. Distances are 270km (to Bari) /370km (to Villa).

Pucon to San Martin de Los Andes or Argentina

The easy way is to head west and south to Osormo (approx 220km) then across though Villa La Angostura and Bari (247km).

The more direct and scenic route. Pucon through the mountains and Parque Nacional Lanin to Junin Los Andes and San Martin. Not sure a car rental could have passed on those flooded road in remote areas. I wouldn't have tried it. Distance guesstimate is 150km?

Tony Crocker wrote:What was the reason for the better/drier snow and colder weather at La Hoya? Timing, those were the days the weather in the region happened to be colder? Or is the local climate colder, the ski area higher?


Not higher, about the same elevation (except the base), climate. We are now at the 43 parallel versus 41 for Bari and 33 for Santiago. Main orientation is south, but it's a open field, so you can get different aspects. The place is pretty rocky as my skis experienced. Wind is important. A negative is that in pure visibility, this place would be bad.

Tony Crocker wrote:I see one really good ski day on this entire trip, Sept. 3. Lots of time chewed up in transport logistics, only 3 runs on what should have been a comparable day. Despite limited time on Marte, Las Lenas still would have been better overall IMHO.


Geez, you're difficult. :roll:

2 amazing days, 2 good days, 2 average and 1 totally sucked. (my totally suck day cost me $12)

What was the score last year? Maybe 2 amazing, 3 good, 3 average and 1 bad. (what was the actual cost of El Arpa which was my bad day???)

What was the totally cost versus last year trip plus the entire distance travelled?

Regarding Las Lenas, it wouldn't have been better.

Marte was down during those days and I skiing powder and Catedral, people were pissed off once they arrived in Bari. [-X

I did more than 3 runs on Sept 4th, I did 3 runs in THOSE chutes. The chewed up time on Sept 4 was bad, I was expecting an early start as the previous day. If I would have known, I would have taken the shuttle. I had some of this stuff happen to me last year, regardless of car rental or not. This type of stuff happens most of the time when someone isn't at the same speed or not a morning person. I've rarely recall any trip (unless when I'm solo) where it doesn't occur. The exception would be traveling only with Lucky Luke and being at first chair when it's opens day in and down out...until last chair.

Tony Crocker wrote:As I mentioned before, the Argentine Lake District does seems like a worthwhile ski destination, which I hope to do myself sometime. Patrick's reports show that you do want to move around and try multiple areas rather than park yourself in Bariloche for a week. My criticisms are of the timing and especially the logistics.


I know someone that is seriously considering spending next Summer in Bariloche (he was in Santiago this year) and I told him it would be an excellent decision. For a 2 week trip, I should have dropped Pucon, but the attraction of this place made me decide otherwise.

On the logistics front... a bunch of people going it. Cost, comfort and ease of mind wise, it's the smart choice. There seem to be a lot of random Police roadblocks in Argentina, driving 400km (no interstate here) after skiing and dealing with one of them when you know little Spanish would definitely be a headache.
Last edited by Patrick on Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:03 pm

Patrick and I have substantially different standards in rating ski days. I will say that of my 5 ski trips to the Southern Hemisphere, only one (2006 in NZ) would rate above average overall by North American standards. The main difference (also amply illustrated by Las Lenas) is inconsistency. For every good day you're likely to have a couple with varying effects of weather, surfaces or TISA. I also might add that La Grave was another classic example of putting up with a lot of crap to get a few very memorable experiences.

My rating would consider quality of terrain, quality of snow and vertical skied, in that order of priority. Ironically my biggest vert day in the South (24K) was at Valle Nevado, but it can't rate that high due to being confined to groomers 90% of the time. The 23K day at Treble Cone in 2006 was far superior in the 2 more important categories.

It's hard to see why Patrick rags on Arpa given the descriptions of some of his other days. Terrain is good, snow was about 1/4 good, 1/2 manageable, and 1/4 survival mode. I know he's complaining mainly about price vs. quality; good thing he wasn't at Great Northern in 2005 or he'd really be pissed. I personally think Arpa is quite well run, and it's actually cheap relative to most cat skiing. But given weather patterns in that region snow expectations are not what they would be in western Canada.

I know that skiers have to live with the weather. So I try to minimize that other things that can go wrong.

Leaving aside Patrick's ratings, those 7 ski days still cost $1400 in airfare and > $2000 overall. Justifiable mainly on the basis of "new experiences," for which Patrick and I share the same addiction. :wink:
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:49 pm

:sabre fight:

Tony Crocker wrote:Patrick and I have substantially different standards in rating ski days.


We discussed this already in person on that day and after. I like to used the Arpa analogy cuz our take on that day is totally different are we have rarely skied at the same place at the same time. You viewed the corn at the bottom negatively on that 1st run, I had a different take on it. You prefered the top snow, I didn't. Our views on snow are totally different. I tend to be very measured in my comments about conditions, however you don't agree on snow quality.

Tony Crocker wrote:My rating would consider quality of terrain, quality of snow and vertical skied, in that order of priority.


Vertical isn't really a factor. How much vertical did we get catskiing? Tuckerman and other hiking vertical isn't in the same league as lift serving skiing.

Tony Crocker wrote:It's hard to see why Patrick rags on Arpa given the descriptions of some of his other days. Terrain is good, snow was about 1/4 good, 1/2 manageable, and 1/4 survival mode. I know he's complaining mainly about price vs. quality.


Regardless of the price, Arpa was the 2nd overall worst day condition wise out of 16 days I've had in SA. The fact that I paid whatever is beside the fact. How would you rate that day? Average? We might have done something like 2500 meters with only the last run being great. Yes, the scenery and experience was unique, but that doesn't help to mention that the snow quality was sub par. I have less an issue skiing on ice as long as the surface is consistent. Regardless of the snow quality at Arpa, I was happy I went.

In fact, if skiing quality was the number concern on this trip, I would have stayed in La Hoya longer. But this was more sampler tour and the days in Catedral were average (but again, happy I went). Sure I was a bit of a downer after two amazing days, but c'est la vie. I stayed 2 days at La Hoya and manage to squeeze out an extra unplaned day in this trip and skied about the SAME vertical at La Hoya that day as at Arpa last season. I checked afterward and I skied 4 runs on Sept 4, 3 runs in similar steeps as that last run at Arpa PLUS there was ton of fresh trackless snow in there. All this for $10.

Tony Crocker wrote:I know that skiers have to live with the weather. So I try to minimize that other things that can go wrong.:


I made one mistake in this trip. It was to use a North American mindset in weather partners. We knew that we were going to where the weather was happening. Storm, etc, however I forgot that lifts would be shutdown and power would be an issue. If this would have been NA (same weather), I would have lined up potentially 3-4 epic days.

How would you rate that day at Chapelco? It sucked that everything got shutdown early, but once I found a consistent steep pitch (the pitch was closed due to too much snow), I had snow consistantly pouring in my face and over. I was totally blinded, but it was fun like Hell. \:D/

Tony Crocker wrote:Leaving aside Patrick's ratings, those 7 ski days still cost $1400 in airfare and > $2000 overall. Justifiable mainly on the basis of "new experiences," for which Patrick and I share the same addiction. :wink:


Excuse me, but if that would have been uniquely about skiing, I could have gone to Mt.Hood. I would have skied more than 7 days in 15 days in SA if skiing was the soul purpose of this trip. Not much skiing during those two days spent in Buenos Aires? I also could have added an extra day at Catedral, but decided to do some sightseeing in Bariloche on that last day. I guestimate that I travelled about 4000-4500km on this trip, that is NOT a normal ski trip. Like my trip in the PNW in Summer 06, only 4 days skiing in 2 weeks. I also prefered traveling days to look at the scenary. If this trip would have only been about skiing and not a sampler, I would have focus in staying in Bariloche and skied Catedral, Bayo and Chapelco. Fortunately I decided to explore I headed to Esquel even if I didn't even know what was happening over at La Hoya. Best find in Argentina. There was great skiing to be had at Catedral on the days I was there, however I didn't head off-piste like the owner of the Hostel did. There are some great side terrain totally facing south, however I was being caution and didn't until after the fact.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby jasoncapecod » Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:53 am

with out pictures all this could have been made up... :shock: :wink: :)
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:45 am

jasoncapecod wrote:with out pictures all this could have been made up... :shock: :wink: :)


:lol: :ski: :snowball fight:

Instead I give you some SA speedriding video with Manu Chao in the background. This link was taken from the website I mentioned in this TR. You see why these people can [censored] up their skis sometimes. :shock:

Aconcagua Speed flying

Après 11 jours d'approche et d'ascension en conditions hivernales, essuyant quelques tempêtes et des froids sévères, François Bon a pu s'offrir la descente en Speedflying de la mythique face sud de L'Aconcagua (6962m, sommet des Amériques). Les 3000 mètres de dénivelé ont été avalés en 4 minutes 50 secondes ! http://www.acro-base.com




CRAZY...I TELL...CRAZYYYY
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:19 pm

with out pictures all this could have been made up...
Considering we've seen less than half of Patrick's pics from LAST year in SA ....

You viewed the corn at the bottom negatively on that 1st run, I had a different take on it.
Here we go again. :dead horse: .. Corn was well exemplified by the Juncalillo groomed run at Portillo from about 10:30AM to noon. There was similar snow off-piste skier's left of Roca Jack toward the lake before lunch and in the Lake Chutes after lunch. We westerners define corn as a thin, nearly frictionless layer over a firm subsurface. NOT unconsolidated wet spring snow, which is what I've seen on a few warm days in the East and at the bottom of Arpa.

How would you rate that day? Average? We might have done something like 2500 meters with only the last run being great.
Fair question. The 2 days combined at Arpa totalled 18,100. The day you skied was the better one because:
1) They did a better job finding the smoother chalk up high, and
2) We only did that hike for the last run on the day you were there.

I have 31 days catskiing. 4 of them could be classified as bad, the 3 after the rain at Great Northern, and one on breakable crust in what is now Moonlight Basin in 2001. All the others have had powder except for a consistent corn (see definition above) day on Mt. Bailey in 2000 that rates ahead of many of the powder days considering the terrain and vertical. So, Arpa does slot in clearly at #26 and #27 on that list. On an absolute scale of all ski days, I'd call them "below average," but not bad. Much better than the last overcast day at Valle Nevado/El Colorado. A close call vs. the first day at VN where it softened up only after lunch, despite skiing 24K.

If you didn't like Arpa, you might want to reconsider La Grave. Average conditions were similar, as was vertical per day sometimes. The best was a little better, but the worst was pretty bad, and when it goes on for 2K+ vertical or 10km of boilerplate traverse you do get tired of it. You need to be willing to pay the price much of the time for that 10-20% of "amazing." And the "amazing" is mostly about terrain, not snow.

How would you rate that day at Chapelco?
I hadn't reserved a space on the shuttle last night [rental car issue again], there was only was the 10am (which was late because of the chaos on the mountain road to Chapelco)...Found some nice pitch (few, it's true)...When I went in to eat on the mountain at 1pm, the power went out right after I got my food. Stayed out for the rest of the day.
It may have been great, but for what, an hour and a half? It sounds rather similar to the day EC had at Las Lenas with only Caris/Cenidor open, but I suspect they skied 3-4x as much of it.

There was great skiing to be had at Catedral on the days I was there, however I didn't head off-piste like the owner of the Hostel did.
This is the reason to ski with guides in unfamiliar settings where the window of good conditions may be short. I'm 90+% sure I'll do this trip with Powderquest.

I made one mistake in this trip. It was to use a North American mindset in weather patterns. We knew that we were going to where the weather was happening. Storm, etc, however I forgot that lifts would be shutdown and power would be an issue. If this would have been NA (same weather), I would have lined up potentially 3-4 epic days.
Yes, because of the trees in NA, and TISA. This factor reinforces the key lesson to be learned here. When you go to one resort, even in SA, you may learn your way around in a day or two, and be somewhat knowledgeable after that. If the good day is your first day at a new area, particularly in bad weather or variable conditions, local guidance will gain you a lot in quality. And if you're sampling areas on a tour, the guides are handling the transport issues too.

Like my trip in the PNW in Summer 06, only 4 days skiing in 2 weeks.
Precisely the same as my first New Zealand trip in 1982

I guestimate that I travelled about 4000-4500km on this trip, that is NOT a normal ski trip.
Given the erratic nature of all Southern Hemisphere skiing, I've always combined with other tourism. Patrick has spent a higher proportion of days skiing than I do on these trips.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:05 pm

:snowball fight:

Before I reply to this, I was taking exception with this statement:

Tony Crocker wrote:I see one really good ski day on this entire trip, Sept. 3.


I was just replying to your statement that I only got ONE really good day out of this trip

I don't rate my days, I don't rate the runs, I don't rate anything. It's too subjective. You're talking to Patrick, not Frankontour. Frank list(ed) everything; list of best days, favorite runs, hills, etc.

I rated my days for this discussion into 5 categories. Amazing, Good, Average, Bad, Sucked. The reason why Arpa was Bad was because I didn't see as Average.

Tony Crocker wrote:
How would you rate that day? Average? We might have done something like 2500 meters with only the last run being great.
Fair question.

If you didn't like Arpa


I DID like Arpa, I mentioned that the experience/terrain/random stuff was good and I don't regret going. Same applies to leaving La Hoya for Catedral. I needed to see Catedral, regardless of how good the conditions were at La Hoya. Anyway, I had skied and tracked it pretty good before leaving. 8) Conditions weren't getting better, no snow was in the forecast. ;)

Tony Crocker wrote:
How would you rate that day at Chapelco?
I hadn't reserved a space on the shuttle last night [rental car issue again]
It may have been great, but for what, an hour and a half?


Rental car issue? No way to get a car on short notice (arrived from Chile that evening), I didn't make my call about staying in San Martin until late that night. If I would have gone to Barioche, the place didn't open the next day. I would have needed chains and it was chaos at the bottom and on city streets. I needed a rental boat to move around the Venice en Los Andes. Plus if I had a car, cars were stopped and needed chains to head up to Chapelco. It was a real conga(?) line to drive up, the shuttle driver was passing everyone.

All in all, it couldn't have been better. Conditions at La Hoya on Sept 2 (the next day) has snowing, white out and top lift(s)? closed. I did rate that day as "Good" (better than average), because of two unbelievable snorkel runs.

Tony Crocker wrote:
There was great skiing to be had at Catedral on the days I was there, however I didn't head off-piste like the owner of the Hostel did.
This is the reason to ski with guides in unfamiliar settings where the window of good conditions may be short. I'm 90+% sure I'll do this trip with Powderquest.


I had partners in Pucon (didn't pan out and person turns back due to weather instead of tagging with me on part of this trip) and La Hoya. Didn't find any, but I didn't really looked either. I might have been tired skiing all that powder snow. :mrgreen: I know that they was someone from TGR somewhere in Bari at the time, TGR resident in Bari went down to Esquel for those days.

Tony Crocker wrote:This is the reason to ski with guides in unfamiliar settings where the window of good conditions may be short. I'm 90+% sure I'll do this trip with Powderquest.

Good call =D> plus the chocolate in Bariloche is pretty good. I really don't think that snow issue and low altitude is has much an issue. Base elevation is 1000m, Bariloche at lake elevation is something like 500m. There was some snow in town.

Given the erratic nature of all Southern Hemisphere skiing, I've always combined with other tourism. Patrick has spent a higher proportion of days skiing than I do on these trips.


More skiing on my Patagonia trip, but less in PNW.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:03 am

My detailed nitpicking of this trip is largely motivated by interest in doing it myself (hopefully with improvements) in some future season.

With regard to rental car, obviously that should be reserved before one leaves North America. At least in Europe, they also tend to be cheaper that way. Does Johnny Kay in his AWD Nissan Murano rental get up that hill at Chapelco? I know he doesn't have to get off the hill at 1:30PM at La Hoya in order to make it to Bariloche.

I could be convinced that road conditions, police checkpoints, etc. in Argentina make the rental car option dicey. This would be another reason to go for the guided tour. Or at least the hired driver route, as we did in Chile.

I'll address the "rating ski days" issue elsewhere. I'm in general agreement with Patrick that it's not that practical. Skiing is too multi-dimensional, a big reason that's it's so addictive.

Am I correct in the impression that Esquel/La Hoya is a substantial detour from the other 3 places? As much as Chillan from a Portillo/Valle Nevado trip?
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:15 am

Tony Crocker wrote:My detailed nitpicking of this trip is largely motivated by interest in doing it myself (hopefully with improvements) in some future season.


I know... :mrgreen:

I wanted to add these links yesterday, but it got busy. This is a quiet morning at work now, so here goes.

Ski tour in Patagonia Argentina around Bariloche, Villa La Angostura, and San Martin
$2,995 per person, based on double occupancy (airfare not included)

http://www.powderquest.com/ski-south-am ... -tour.aspx

Is this trip for me?
Resort Focus Tour: Guided ski trip for Intermediates to Advanced skiers and snowboarders looking for a great alternative to a traditional ski week package in South America, we offer you the perfect combo of the best resort skiing in Patagonia and optional in bounds off-piste excursions.

» South America information, trip focuses, required abilities, what your trip includes and equipment you need

Trip Highlights
» 9 day-guided tour skiing Patagonia, Argentina
» 8 guests maximum
» Outstanding Patagonia culture and landscapes
» Ski and snowboard some of the best Argentina resorts
» Visit National Park Nahuel Huappi and the 7 Lakes
» Fantastic dinners and red wine in our favorite Patagonian restaurants
» Great nightlife from quiet cafes to energetic bars, nightclubs, and discotheques

Quick Tour Itinerary
Starts: Bariloche, Argentina
Ends: Bariloche, Argentina

Day 1: Fly into Bariloche, Argentina meet your PowderQuest guides, short drive to Villa La Angostura, hotel check-in, group and trip intro, Dinner on the town.

Day 2: Breakfast, ski day at Cerro Bayo ski resort, free afternoons around town, dinners.

Day 3: Breakfast, ski Cerro Bayo or travel to San Martin de Los Andes through Lake District with afternoon skiing at Chapelco. Overnight in San Martin hotel with dinner on the town.

Day 4-5: Breakfast, full days skiing Chapleco, dinner on the town, hotel in San Martin.

Day 6: Breakfast, ski at Chapelco then travel through the beautiful 7 Lakes where we will spend the next 3 nights in the city of Bariloche.

Day 7-8: Breakfast, ski Catedral Alta Patagonia ski resort with your guides, dinner on the town.

Day 9: Breakfast, more skiing at Catedral, transfer to Bariloche Airport to meet your p.m. flight out.


Patagonia Powder Tour
Ski tour in Patagonia Argentina around Bariloche, Villa La Angostura, and Esquel
$3,195 per person, based on double occupancy (airfare not included)

http://www.powderquest.com/ski-south-am ... -tour.aspx

Is this trip for me?
Off Piste Focus: For advanced to expert skiers or snowboarders looking for the perfect combo of ski lift serviced off-piste terrain and short hikes taking us beyond the ski area boundaries away from the crowds of the ski resorts.

Backcountry Focus: A guided adventure for strong advanced or experts looking to combine backcountry touring using alpine ski touring equipment (randonee, telemark, snowshoes, or splitboards) plus expansive off-piste freeriding around the local ski resorts and beyond.

» South America information, trip focuses, required abilities, what your trip includes and equipment you need

Trip Highlights
» 11 day-guided tour in Patagonia, Argentina
» 8 guests maximum
» Outstanding Patagonia culture and landscapes
» Ride some of Argentina's best terrain
» Chase the trail of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
» Visit National Park Nahuel Huapi and Los Alerces
» Fantastic dinners and red wine in our favorite Patagonian restaurants
» Great nightlife from quiet cafes to energetic bars, nightclubs, and discotheques

Quick Tour Itinerary
Starts: Bariloche, Argentina
Ends: Bariloche

Day 1: Fly into Bariloche, Argentina, meet your PowderQuest guides, travel to the nearby beautiful village of Villa La Angsotura, spend the next 3 nights in town, hotel check-in, group and trip intro, dinner on the town.

Day 2-3: Breakfast, avalanche safety session, ski Cerro Bayo and it's fun off-piste terrain with your guides, dinner on the town

Day 4: Breakfast, a beautiful road journey in Patagonia to Esquel. Overnight in Esquel hotel with dinner on the town.

Day 5-6: Breakfast, full day skiing La Hoya and it's backcountry, dinners on the town

Day 7: Breakfast, morning ski, then travel to the city of Bariloche, home to one of favorite ski areas, Catedral

Day 8-10: Breakfast, ski days at Catedral and it's surrounding backcountry, free afternoons around town, dinners.

Day 11: Breakfast, free morning to explore or get in some more skiing, transfer to Bariloche Airport.


In comparison, I was gone 15 days and skiied 7. Total cost with airfare and everything else like Quilmes $2,300. The none airfare cost was about $865. :shock: :shock: :shock:


Tony might consider this one as he missed Termas (still my favorite in SA).
Freerider: 16 days in Chile & Argentina skiing Bariloche, Villa La Angostura, San Martin, Pucon, Llaima, Termas de Chillan

http://www.powderquest.com/ski-south-am ... -tour.aspx

$4,595 per person, based on double occupancy

Regardless, I believe that Tony should definitely go to Patagonia. It isn't bad at all. :wink:



With regard to rental car, obviously that should be reserved before one leaves North America.


Hard when you don't know where you're going and trying to follow the weather. Rental car are very cheap in Bariloche (however rental car in SA, not at least Argentina are far from NA standard - refer to TGR). You might actually be surprised to learn that I was seriously considering it even after my trip had started.

I know he doesn't have to get off the hill at 1:30PM at La Hoya in order to make it to Bariloche.


Agree, but I get to sleep in the bus instead of drving for 4 hours.

Am I correct in the impression that Esquel/La Hoya is a substantial detour from the other 3 places? As much as Chillan from a Portillo/Valle Nevado trip?


About the same I would say, but the road and scenery \:D/ . I'll try had a few things to my posts (not pics) later on, as it got busy at work now.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:13 pm

The off-piste focus Cimarra Sur $2,995 is the most appealing to me: http://www.powderquest.com/ski-south-am ... -tour.aspx
» 9 day-guided tour in Chile
» 8 guests maximum
» Experience Chile and Argentina's distinct cultures and landscapes
» Freeride, climb, and descend Chile's most active volcano
» Soak in volcanic hot springs
» Experience Northern Patagonia Argentina
» Fantastic dinners and red wine
» Mapuche Indian farm farewell cookout
» Great nightlife from quiet cafes to energetic bars, nightclubs, and discotheques
Quick Tour Itinerary

Starts: Bariloche, Argentina
Ends: Temuco, Chile

Day 1: Fly into Bariloche, Argentina meet your PowderQuest guides, hotel check-in, group and trip intro, avalanche safety session, welcome dinner on the town.

Day 2-3: Breakfast, ski Catedral Alta Patagonia and it's epic backcountry with your guides, dinner on the town.

Day 4: Breakfast, travel to San Martin de Los Andes through the beautiful 7 Lakes or Estepa. Afternoon skiing at Chapelco. Overnight in San Martin hotel, dinner on the town.

Day 5: Breakfast, full day skiing Chapleco and it's off piste and backcountry, dinner on the town

Day 6: Breakfast, ski Chapelco then cross the border through 2 national parks spending the next 3 nights in the town of Pucon.

Day 7-8: Breakfast, attempt to climb and ski Villarrica Volcano, Dinner on the town, Hotsprings and other activities such as rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding and more! Cook out at Mapuche Indian Farm.

Day 9: Breakfast, more skiing or free day to explore Pucon, transfer to Temuco Airport to meet your p.m. flight out.


I could handle the extension to Chillan on my own. Maybe go early for more time in Lake District too. Powderquest would add value in border crossing and other transport, guided off-piste skiing and especially climbing that volcano at Pucon.

This will not happen next year as I'm still working and there's another Far East eclipse trip (Beijing + cruise + Japan) in July. A decent chance in August of 2010 or 2011.
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Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:02 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:The off-piste focus Cimarra Sur $2,995 is the most appealing to me


My break is over, but I quick comment on the place on that tour. When I was researching my trip, there seemed to be a concensus that the least interesting places ski area that I choose were Chapelco followed by Pucon. As you know, I cannot tell you anything first hand. The bottom (trees) at Pucon lift is pretty flat terrain while Chapelco is also pretty flat with the exception of a few pinchs. Couldn't see the Alpine which isn't that big on the entire resort.

No negative comments regarding Catedral, Bayo and La Hoya.

Back, I need to get back to work if I want to leave tonight. :roll:
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby ChrisC » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:04 pm

I am still a little suprised that Patrick -- with over 3 weeks of skiing in South America on 2 trips -- never went to Las Lenas.

It would have been my priority.

My skiing in the Alps stuck to the big name resorts - Chamonix, Verbier, Val d'Isere, La Grave (off radar to some), etc.

When I visited to New Zealand, I also got to see their resorts. Went paragliding off of one in Queenstown. However, I would never go back to there to ski. They just did not appear worthwhile in scope.
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