La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:01 pm

As I've mentioned before, one of the reasons I critique Patrick's trips is that we have similar priorities.

One of those impulses is to cover a lot of ground on the first trip to a region, getting a "survey" of areas and perhaps forming an opinion of what the priorities would be on a return trip to the region. Examples for me were the first trip to interior B.C. in 1997, where I visited Island lake, Fernie, Whitewater and Red Mt. solo in a rental car, and the 2 weeks on both islands of New Zealand in 1982. I have not done it this way on my 2 trips to the Alps because the specific tours I used had particular appeal.

I would note that ChrisC is still the FTO leader in number of ski areas, so he must cover a lot of ground too.

Another advantage of the "wandering around" can be flexibility to go where conditions are best. It sounds like Patrick's considerable diversion to La Hoya may have been for that reason. However, doing this on public transit is a lot tougher than by car rental or tour group, and is definitely an issue where Patrick and I have opposing views. I still see Patrick having a lot of downtime on this trip.

Also mentioned before is that SA skiing seems to fit into 3 broad groups: the 2 trips Patrick has done plus Las Lenas. From a pure ski perspective, no question ChricC is correct that Las Lenas rates to be the best of those more often than not. Las Lenas is less attractive to Patrick than some of us due to 1) price, 2) Booking possibly required farther in advance and 3) No flexibility once you're committed.

I would have made the call on this year's options based upon prospective conditions, and certainly through early August Las Lenas looked much better this season. Later storms made Patagonia ski conditions at least reasonable instead of awful. During Patrick's actual week both alternatives were impacted by weather and lift closures. On balance I think Las Lenas would still have been better, but not by the huge margin of a month earlier.

New Zealand...They just did not appear worthwhile in scope.
I would put the better NZ areas in a class with Sugar Bowl/Mt. Rose, and just short of Alpine/Kirkwood in terms of terrain. I've also said before that Portillo and Treble Cone are similar in terrain quality/variety. I should note I've not seen the club fields, which are reputedly similar in many ways to Silverton.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:57 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I still see Patrick having a lot of downtime on this trip.


In the first few days maybe, but that was more weather related. I could have in some instance later buses, but I enjoy looking at the scenery. Not possible when you're traveling nights.

Tony Crocker wrote: Las Lenas is less attractive to Patrick than some of us due to 1) price, 2) Booking possibly required farther in advance and 3) No flexibility once you're committed.


Price wasn't an issue and you didn't mentioned the #1 reason (for last year and this year's bypass of Las Lenas). I didn't want to start skiing in SA at what many says as being the best area first. Wanted to try the lesser know and smaller places first and not the other way around. That was my main motivation. A Las Lenas/'Los Penitentes trip is one of the few tour remaining. However a return like to return to Termas, Pucon and the Bari-Esquel 3 areas.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:24 am

I definitely do not see the logic of "save the best for last," especially with the exotic places. Unexpected developments in anyone's life might preclude return visits or at least delay them several years. I don't plan on wandering around a bunch of obscure areas in the Alps before hitting priority locations like Val d'Isere and the Arlberg. At age 55 I thought I'd better check out La Grave sooner rather than later.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:15 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Unexpected developments in anyone's life might preclude return visits or at least delay them several years.


Agree, however it's not like all the positive on Lenas versus the other places.

Tony Crocker wrote:I definitely do not see the logic of "save the best for last," especially with the exotic places.
(...)
I don't plan on wandering around a bunch of obscure areas in the Alps before hitting priority locations like Val d'Isere and the Arlberg.


After reading and researching SA skiing, I've read some negatives on Las Lenas other than the skiing. The other obscure areas haven't been discovered and having turned into a gringo destination. I like discovering a place/artist/restaurant before it gets on the map.

Tony Crocker wrote:At age 55 I thought I'd better check out La Grave sooner rather than later.


What makes sense for you, doesn't necessarily applies for me yet. The problem with Lenas deestination is that it's more remote than other major areas (other than Cerro Castor), so safari/sampler tours are not as easy.

Don't get me wrong, La Grave is my number priority once I get back to Europe, it was on my short list last time but my days interfered with the preparation of the La Grave Derby, so the guide company wasn't going out.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:53 pm

With regard to "save the best for last," where did Patrick takes his first winter trip in the U.S. West? Jackson, Alta, Snowbird... hmmm. But he was able to string them together in a safari tour that also included 4 other areas. Las Lenas is so isolated that it's hard to tie in with other areas. And you want at least a week there.

I like discovering a place/artist/restaurant before it gets on the map.
FYI this is a big incentive to ski Niseko sooner rather than later. The Aussies are developing it in a big way. Extremely Canadian says if you want the Japanese local ambience and don't want the powder tracked out, avoid Australian holidays.

I do think Patrick sells Las Lenas somewhat short. I know he likes the big scale of the French Alps resorts. Marte has that topography with very low skier density. I doubt he'd mind trading a few days of TISA for a couple of days of that. Particularly considering what he went through on the recent trip.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:25 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:With regard to "save the best for last," where did Patrick takes his first winter trip in the U.S. West? Jackson, Alta, Snowbird... hmmm.

Actually, my first US ski area West of Whiteface was Mammoth. :mrgreen:

The Jackson Tram was an icon, a ski icon's last year. A bit like a trip to Yankee Stadium in 08 for baseball fans or the Montreal Forum for hockey in 96. The initial thought was to visit, but this trip got expanded by Admin himself when he told that Jackson wasn't that far AND Hamdog who convined me to make it all the way out to Montana.

Tony Crocker wrote:Las Lenas is so isolated that it's hard to tie in with other areas. And you want at least a week there.

Yes.

Tony Crocker wrote:I do think Patrick sells Las Lenas somewhat short.(...) I doubt he'd mind trading a few days of TISA for a couple of days of that. Particularly considering what he went through on the recent trip.


Not at all, however I was aiming to hit the other areas first. Almost ended up in Lenas until the weather started turning. Regarding the TISA, I've heard great (and frustrating) stories regarding Marte. That is besides the point, I don't regret my trip at all. It was a totally new experience for me and I wouldn't hesitate in repeating it in the future.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby ChrisC » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:40 pm

The Jackson Hole tram is not an icon. It is a bottleneck -- that will remain a bottleneck. Is it really that cool to get in line 2 hrs early on a powder day for first tram due to low capacity? Hell no.

And this Las Lenas vs. everywhere else in South America is such B.S.

There was some British skier on this list who did all of Tahoe -- like Soda Springs, Donner Summit, Boreal, Northstar, and yet neglected Squaw/Alpine.

This is Patrick in South America.

I mean you actively avoided this and did 10 hour busrides?

I think you know how I feel when I say I rather do just 1 week of this
http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... ight=lenas
or this or this
http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... ight=lenas
http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... ight=lenas
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:29 am

ChrisC wrote:There was some British skier on this list who did all of Tahoe -- like Soda Springs, Donner Summit, Boreal, Northstar, and yet neglected Squaw/Alpine.

This is Patrick in South America.


:bs: :bs: :bs:

ChrisC wrote:I mean you actively avoided this and did 10 hour busrides?


Bariloche to Las Lenas is 17 hours, not like I'm in Tahoe and skipping Squaw/Alpine. :roll: There is just so much you can do in 2 weeks.

What I missed was something more like this:

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... ght=paedde

Paedde was in SA pretty much the same two weeks I was. Here are some quotes from his TR:

TISA factor:
What a day…..

What we had in mind:
- get up early and have breakfast in Mendoza at 7am then drive high speed to Las Leñas and ski for a few hours

And now how this works in Argentina:
- Get up early
- Get stuck in the elevator
- Have breakfast anyway
- Realise that we changed the time zone yesterday means one hour less skiing
- Spend half an hour to find the way out of Mendoza
- 100 miles/h for some time
- Slow down due to poor road conditions
- Slow down even more due to unpaved road (construction site)
- Thanks to heavy head wind burning gas like hell
- Slowing down to save gas
- Find gas station – very happy – well for a minute…. They don’t have diesel and neither has Las Leñas. Only option is Malargue which is a 30min detour one way but more if you have to save gas….
- Made it to Malargue at 2pm and decided to go for some shopping, get cash and go for lunch.
- We are in urgent need of some cash as we have to pay accommodation in “fatura”
- Cash machine didn’t like our cards at first but we figured it out and got the money
- Got money, got food but restaurants are all closed “siesta”
- Got to Las Leñas and started to search for accommodation. Fully booked or U$ 1100 a night… After an hour we found a 2 bedroom for U$ 333 a night for the 4 of us.
- Oh and we can pay with credit card….


August 31 - I'm taking the bus from Pucon to San Martin. Paedde is skiing Las Lenas for his first day.

Day 11 Skiing Las Leñas 1st Day

Heavy wind on top once again and Marte closed.

We found variable snow off piste but for sure not powder. Not bad at all but not good enough to go for any hiking. I have to agree with all the reports about LL being pretty boring without Marte. There are a few nice short steep runs but not good enough to keep you busy for days.


Patrick is skiing Chapelco in 1 meter snow, before the power went out, more lifts closed at Lenas.

Day 12 Skiing Las Leñas 2nd Day

9:00 we are ready at the office to book our trip. Wind is even stronger and even less chairs are running.


I'm traveling by bus from San Martin to Esquel. Paedde isn't skiing and no snow in the forecast.

Day 13 Las Leñas 3rd Day
Forecasted snow – nada
Less wind – nada
At least bluebird – nada – fog and light snow
Marte open – nada.


Epic powder at La Hoya and Lenas.

Day 14 Epic powder at Las Leñas 4th Day .


Another great day skiing the steeps, however I had to leave early.

Day 15 Some kind of a powder day at Las Leñas 5th Day

Did I mention before that this resort sucks quite often?

It didn’t stop snowing but the wind came back last night. Moderate to heavy at times and this was almost the end of the good skiing. 90% of the ski area is heavily affected by the wind and the soft nice powder from yesterday changed into packed unpredictable stuff which is by far not as much fun. Some spots have still good powder.

Same story as yesterday. At first whole resort closed. Shortly after 9am they opened CARIS and toll us that VULCANO will be closed all day. I don’t even wonna mention Marte…. Around lunch time I was about to call it a day but that’s when they opened VULCANO. Same runs like yesterday and the best snow we could find. Some great boot to knee deep turns but the wind made it far less enjoyable then yesterday. Visibility was very variable on the low end of the scale.


The next day I skied Catedral. Marte was still closed as I found out from some Colorado skiers that arrived a few days later in Bariloche.

What I intend to do next time
- Ski Portillo
- Go south (e.g. Bariloche)
- Ski Marte but only travel to LL if it is pretty sure to be open

- Always have enough cash (I did but just….)


Paedde isn't your normal ski traveller, he's had long epic trip and I wouldn't even try to guess how many areas he's been to. If you read Epic and TGR, you probably came across his Safari Trips. We traded some emails prior to this trip, but we were headed in different directions.

Before you start raining on the rest of SA, you should look into these TRs also.

Skiing in Patagonia:

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... p?t=131862

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... 582&page=2

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... hp?t=97715

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... hp?t=60554

So I'm not going to go to Las Lenas just because it's Las Lenas. It might be the case for most North Americans, but I prefer taking some other factors into account. Forecast clearly dictated that the route to go was South.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:36 am

The Jackson Hole tram is not an icon. It is a bottleneck -- that will remain a bottleneck. Is it really that cool to get in line 2 hrs early on a powder day for first tram due to low capacity? Hell no.
I'm in complete agreement here. In that last year of the tram, I rode it once in 3 days. With the powder that good, I think Patrick rode it once a day at most.

Both ChrisC's and Patrick's TR references do present TISA in all its ups and downs. :sabre fight: Worthwhile reading if you're considering a trip down there. The video in Patrick's 3rd reference is outstanding, professional quality IMHO. One of those TR's ended in Iguazu Falls and Rio, like mine in 2005.

From Patrick's 4th reference:
I arrive in Bariloche and it rains. In fact, it rains for about ten days after I arrive as well.
I realize Klar was there to learn Spanish, but 6 weeks in Argentina and not going to Las Lenas, it makes little sense especially with the disparity of conditions when she first arrived. Most of Klar's great skiing was backcountry telemark touring from the Refugio Frey. Patrick's situation was different. Once he committed south from Santiago, the logistics to divert to Las Lenas would have been a nightmare with his time constraint to leave South America Sept. 8.

Paedde's report is illuminating too:
1) Overall consensus on Chillan is positive, but the weather and TISA got him there too, so he never got to ski the best of it.
2) He confirms my view of not staying in Santiago to ski the VN group. But he had a good idea of hiring a driver for the entire day to handle those shuttle pickups on the Valle Nevado access road. Nice pics from El Colorado backside. Had conditions been good on my trip, we probably could have hired our Santiago Adventures driver to do that.
3) His time at Las Lenas ALMOST coincided with Extremely Canadian. He had the same deep powder day (#14 in report) on Caris (I could recognize a pic from Cenidor). And the huge Marte day was the day after he left. The lodging situation sounded tight; it may be quite expensive if you just show up there.

The logisitics and TISA are very frustrating when you're on the typical 1-2 week vacation schedule. I won't be going back until I'm retired for real, so maybe I should take the whole month of August and not be pressured for time. To some extent that's what skibum4ever and spouse did for 3 weeks in July, though my priorities would be very different from theirs.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:47 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
The Jackson Hole tram.
I'm in complete agreement here. In that last year of the tram, I rode it once in 3 days. With the powder that good, I think Patrick rode it once a day at most..

Yes, I rode the tram at least once a day in those 4 days. I might have taken it twice in one day, I don't recall.

Tony Crocker wrote:
I arrive in Bariloche and it rains. In fact, it rains for about ten days after I arrive as well.
I realize Klar was there to learn Spanish, but 6 weeks in Argentina and not going to Las Lenas, it makes little sense especially with the disparity of conditions when he first arrived.

I don't think that learning Spanish was her main motivation. :mrgreen:

Klar has been to Las Lenas a few times. I know she made to LL last year and this year, however not sure if she made it during that trip?

Here is her last TR, TR #5 of last season 2007. There is a link to her previous 4 at the start of that TR. Let's say that those long bus ride are excellent to write TRs if you have a laptop. :roll: Regardless, I love her TRs.

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... hp?t=96400

Tony Crocker wrote:The logisitics and TISA are very frustrating when you're on the typical 1-2 week vacation schedule.


Imagine for Paedde who lives in Europe. Some of his partners were there for maybe a week. One of them is someone that goes to South America to continue his streak. You might have heard of him? Endless or Ron for short. :wink:

EDIT: I realize what Chris is saying about bypassing Las Lenas, however I wasn't planing this as being my last trip to SA.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:08 pm

I was going to ask if Patrick met Ron Cram (Endless). Since he lives in the SLC area, it's still a mystery that's admin has never crossed his path.

Actually, my first US ski area West of Whiteface was Mammoth. :mrgreen:
June is not a winter month the last time I checked.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:26 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I was going to ask if Patrick met Ron Cram (Endless).

No, he stayed "again" in the Santiago/Lenas areas with Paedde. I know he tagged up with another maggot in 06.

Tony Crocker wrote:June is not a winter month the last time I checked.

:oops: Well it's Winter Down Under isn't it? This is the DownUnder section. 8-[
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:01 pm

Anyone who complains about lack of terrain around Catedral or lack of mountains around Bariloche is missing something.

From Klar's latest SA TR, SA Tripping. Okay, it's off-piste, but her TR are like poetry. :mrgreen:

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... p?t=134512
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:45 am

It's not lack of terrain, it's lack of snow. When you have both modest snowfall (60-240 inches according to Catedral's own website) and not ideal preservation (low altitude and at least partially sunny exposure) you need to think twice before an advance commitment well into 4 figures.

Patrick's reports have been valuable in illuminating the point that there's not just one ski area in the Patagonia Lake District. Since some of the others are more promising in terms of snow conditions, the destination looks more promising than before, especially for those who can be flexible once they arrive.
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Re: La Hoya, ARG - Sept 3-4, 08

Postby Patrick » Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:26 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:It's not lack of terrain, it's lack of snow.


My quote from Klar wasn't directed at you Tony. 8)

Tony Crocker wrote:When you have both modest snowfall (60-240 inches according to Catedral's own website) and not ideal preservation (low altitude and at least partially sunny exposure) you need to think twice before an advance commitment well into 4 figures.


Altitude isn't that much of an issue when you consider the climate. What is the freezing level in Bariloche versus the Santiago areas? Pretty sure it's much lower. But I agree about the wait and see attitude regarding commitments.
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