Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

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Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Patrick » Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:54 am

Day 9 out of the last 10, not bad for landing in Santiago on Agosto 27.

To make sure I was going to suffer a bit more, I decided that the main reason why I was in Pucon was to try to ski the volcano. The area starts at 1200m, la cima is at 2800m. Estimate trip was 6 horas. 8-[ The clear temps was in fact heavy cloud cover. At first it was the morning fog from the lake then once in the parking lot, the guides informed us that we might not make it to the summit due to the conditions and visibilty to the summit. Everyone in our group decided to spend the cash and go for it. A few of us (climbers, a snowboarded and me) opted to cheat and take the bottom lift (a long and flat 200m vertical gain) while the ski guide and a Colorado girl started skinning from the bottom.

I joined them eventually after crossing over a canyon to the rarely open lift 5. Dark cloud were moving in and summit was nowhere to be seen. The first break was at the top of lift 5 at about 2000m, it is a shame that it rarely runs, great skiing to be access by it. Higher up we continued up passed a wooded structure which was the remaining part of a upper lift of the old ski area destroyed by the 1948 eruption. The guide told me that the ski area was lower in another drainage and was pretty much destroyed. At this point, it started snowing and visibilty was far from great. Once up on the glacier, we skinned a bit to final make a group decision. The sliders (skiing/boarders) would start going down as in the whiteout conditions, the guides didn't want us to ski down from the summit. The hiker continued towards the summit. We were at around 2400m with a long plateau, steep climb at the end and maybe 90 minutes left. We skied slightly down and it would seem the cloud cover was started just a few meters down. Guide took us in one canyon, the snow was sweet corn and hadn't been bake.

Real sweet run down the Canyon next to 3. I imagine the snow wouldn't have been so good the previous baking in the sun all day. Skied back into the area at the parking, eat and waiting for the hiker and guide to come back. We found that they didn't make it. At the bottom, the temps were similar to the previous, everything clear up to make it a real clear day...except the summit of Volcano Villarrica that was wearing a sobrano cloud.

After a few cerzersas back at the guide shop in Pucon, I went to get my gear ready. Overnight bus to Santiago and then flying out back home to Canada.

Really satisfied on the 2010 edition of MadPat's SA trip. Up there if not better than the 2007 edition.

Travel days 2
Ski days 9
Flying day 2

A few thousand kilometers travelled by plane, bus, metro, taxi, pickup truck, minivan, pomalifts, t-bars, ropetow and handle tow, single, doubles, quads (HS or not) and one a HS 6 pack, gondola, skins and...... skis.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:06 am

This is one of the most publicized but least achieved ski experiences in South America IMHO. Patrick deserves some =D> for getting as much of it as he did. It sounds like he might have gotten all of it the previous day. Powderquest allows 2 days but I bet they still don't get it that often with the weather.

I wonder Pucon's summer weather is like? The Dec. 14, 2020 eclipse passes directly over that volcano.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:20 pm

Patrick wrote:Really satisfied on the 2010 edition of MadPat's SA trip. Up there if not better than the 2007 edition.

Actually it was a much improved version of the 2008 edition. There is some value to repeat visits, using prior experience to tweak the next trip more in your favor. So Patrick headed immediately for the area that was best last time, La Hoya, with similar results but spending more time there this time.

With regard to the implication that 2007 was among the best of the SA trips, this illustrates my point that from a pure skiing standpoint these trips usually fall well short of an average trip to the U.S. or Canadian West. I was with Patrick for part of 2007. I missed Chillan, which had the 2 best days of that trip but also 2 shutdown days of doing essentially nothing. Over an extended and inflexible period of a week or two, you are almost certain to get a few days of shutdown or marginal conditions. Of course the easterners are used to this. :stir:

5 of my 6 southern trips have been in the ballpark with Patrick's in terms of average ski quality. He's had more powder days but also more marginal or down days. My Las Lenas trip in 2005 was similar to Patrick's trips. Most of my potential bad days in New Zealand I chose something other than skiing to do, which is not so easy once you're in a ski resort in South America. I see a lower probability of outstanding days in NZ, except for my 2006 trip that was consistently good. The bottom line is that you must be willing to pay a fairly high "off-season" premium in both time and $ to take these trips on a regular basis. I'm likely to continue because I'll soon be retired and the time part won't be a big deal anymore.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:11 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:The bottom line is that you must be willing to pay a fairly high "off-season" premium in both time and $ to take these trips on a regular basis. I'm likely to continue because I'll soon be retired and the time part won't be a big deal anymore.


What is the off-season premium? Total cost (taxes, cabs, meals in restaurants, bus, fees has me in the range $150-$175 CDN per day for 13 day (9 ski days + high guide premium in Pucon). Yeck, just going to Stowe for two days skiing on a weekend without food, gas and sleeping in a car has me over that price. [-(
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Staley » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:26 pm

That seems quite affordable for SA. It's still a large premium over what a college student like me skis for per day: about $50/day for ticket, gas, lodging, food, transportation for Mammoth, or $10/day for Baldy (no lodging).
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:46 pm

Staley wrote:That seems quite affordable for SA. It's still a large premium over what a college student like me skis for per day: about $50/day for ticket, gas, lodging, food, transportation for Mammoth, or $10/day for Baldy (no lodging).


So what you're saying is you can eat in a restaurant, have a beer, lodging, pay gas and transportation plus your Mammoth lift for $55 CDN? Student rates most be pretty cheap. As I have discussed before, if I would have stayed in one place and not hit a series of them and not eaten in restaurant for dinners, not used a guide in VV, my cost could be much lower.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:21 pm

Patrick has conveniently left out the airfare cost, which is real in opportunity cost even if you use FF miles.

The sharpest dividing line between high and low cost ski trips is whether you have to get on an airplane. Getting on an airplane limits flexibility also; thus the threshold of snow reliability needs to be higher. South America is ~2x the airfare vs. western Canada with considerably worse snow reliability. If the snow in Vermont or Mammoth is no good within drive distance, Patrick or Staley can decide to stay home at the last minute.

Patrick wrote:So what you're saying is you can eat in a restaurant, have a beer, lodging, pay gas and transportation plus your Mammoth lift for $55 CDN?

That does seem astoundingly low. In my family years 1985-2003 my objective was to keep that number in the $100 range. But I was just skiing weekends and buying day tickets.

However, Adam in 2009-10 provided a modern day improvement upon that:
Ticket $576 for MVP
Gas 7 Round trips from San Diego, ~$700, maybe $500 since sometimes he has passenger(s).
Lodging $550 for shared ski house

Total $1,626 / 44 ski days at Mammoth = $37/day. Throw in food and it's probably between $50 and $60, but he'd still have to eat if he were in San Diego. At Mammoth he was brown bagging lunches and eating dinners in more often than at restaurants.

I doubt this is typical, even for college students though. Staley is welcome to make the detail comparison.
1) You need a lot of ski days in one place to get that kind of value. My max days in one season at Mammoth was 22 in 1981-82.
2) 28 of Adam's days were on one trip for an extended semester break, considerably reducing gas cost.
3) You need to have bought the cheap MVP the previous April, and be eligible to do so.
4) You need some out-of-the-ordinary lodging deal. I do get the impression that most people who ski at Mammoth a lot have figured out some such arrangement.

There's no real surprise here. We know from people like Harvey44 and Geoff that skiing is cheapest on the high volume season pass plan. The variety junkies like Patrick and me will pay more.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:31 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Patrick has conveniently left out the airfare cost, which is real in opportunity cost even if you use FF miles..


No I haven't....I said this was the total cost of my trip, period. :stir: $150-175 CDN is including airfare (I didn't mention it on purpose).

Maybe you understand better my rational. I taken detailed cost of my trips in previous years and this isn't too far off the cost per day from previous year. Pretty much in the same ballpark and rarely more.

All cost...beer, chocolate bar I bought at the bus stop, internet, ALL expenses....I had an option of cooking my own meals, but opted for the expensive and lazy way...I went to the restaurant and bought cerverzas with my meal. That cost could have been real lower by going everything at the hostels.

I'll be able to make an exact cost once I re-adjust the exchange rate charge on my card and It would seem I overestimated the cost of the Argentine pesos. I also need to take into account, bank charges for using the ATM down there.

Tony Crocker wrote:There's no real surprise here. We know from people like Harvey44 and Geoff that skiing is cheapest on the high volume season pass plan. The variety junkies like Patrick and me will pay more.


Agree...I rarely stayed at the same place for a trip also, I just like moving around, but it does carry a cost. There are a few example of people that we staying 1 month in Esquel only. I just need the variety.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Staley » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:25 pm

Cost of pass last season (30 days skiing) was $20/day. I get a car from the school for free and they pay for my gas \:D/ Breakfast is generally bagels stolen from dining hall and lunches are Clif Bars and apples that are also included in meal plan. I can either eat out at Whiskey Creek for <$10 or get frozen meals from Trader Joe's in Claremont and cook them in the kitchen. If I plan a week ahead of time, I get free food from the school. Normal amount spent on food/day is probably $5. Lodging is usually free, sometimes I pay $25/night. I'd say it averages out to $10/night for a total per day cost of $35. And that's skiing just 30 days in one place. My $50 day ticket at Mt. Waterman was possibly the most expensive day of the season.

And of course I'm not old enough to buy beer and I'm a law abiding citizen.

My Baldy days will never be more than $10. :-D
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:45 pm

Patrick wrote:(I didn't mention it on purpose)

Yes, he enumerated everything else. Nonetheless I'm not surprised as Patrick has done most of his time in South America this way. We've been over this ground before. South America does not strike me as a place you want to get by on the cheap, as Patrick's and others' experiences have demonstrated. But to each his own.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Admin » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:41 am

Tony Crocker wrote:But to each his own.


Now that's a startling revelation. :roll:
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:57 am

Admin wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:But to each his own.
Now that's a startling revelation. :roll:

This is purely a stalling tactic. He's sharpening his knives in the shed and planning a new line of attack.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby longshanks » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:00 pm

Staley wrote:Cost of pass last season (30 days skiing) was $20/day. I get a car from the school for free and they pay for my gas \:D/ Breakfast is generally bagels stolen from dining hall and lunches are Clif Bars and apples that are also included in meal plan. I can either eat out at Whiskey Creek for <$10 or get frozen meals from Trader Joe's in Claremont and cook them in the kitchen. If I plan a week ahead of time, I get free food from the school. Normal amount spent on food/day is probably $5. Lodging is usually free, sometimes I pay $25/night. I'd say it averages out to $10/night for a total per day cost of $35. And that's skiing just 30 days in one place. My $50 day ticket at Mt. Waterman was possibly the most expensive day of the season.

And of course I'm not old enough to buy beer and I'm a law abiding citizen.

My Baldy days will never be more than $10. :-D


sounds like Staley has it dialed in, living close to the bone...Breakfast is generally bagels stolen...and I'm a law abiding citizen. but those 2 statements do seem to be contradictions dude lol
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Staley » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:00 pm

Looks like I need to pick my words more carefully! I generally just grab a whole bag of bagels and ask for some cream cheese packets the day before I leave. Then fill up a Nalgene with orange juice, grab a few apples, and you're set on breakfast for a weekend.
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Re: Volcano Villarrica CL - 7 Sept 10

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:48 pm

dialed in, living close to the bone..

Seems a more sensible strategy on one's home turf than in South America. Of course the widespread TISA factor in Argentina's governance probably does make expenses cheaper in Patagonia for North American visitors. And that does not apply so much at Las Lenas because it's in the middle of nowhere and prices are more based upon international resort standards. Even at Las Lenas and in nice places in Buenos Aires food is dirt cheap by North American standards though.

I would still recommend New Zealand over Patagonia. If you want to go cheap, the hostel/backpacker lodges are common, including onsite at some of the club ski areas. Snowfall, terrain, ski conditions are overall similar IMHO, without the TISA factor.
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