Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

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Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby bstevens » Thu Mar 31, 2005 3:52 pm

Hi

I read the other posts about South America being awesome in El Nino years. I've just finished an appauling season in Fernie, BC - the worst season in 30 years. Everyone was screaming El Nino at the top of their Canadian voices ... but Tony mentioned it's just co-incidence.

Research about El Nino is difficult to the untrained boarder. So the question is .. is 2005 an El Nino year or not? No site seems to just say Yay or Nay. Surely there's enough evidence thus far to say roughly yes or no?

Basically I've hunted snow for the last 3 years and failed every time. South America 2003 .. awful .. Pyranees 2004-2005 .. worst in 10 years .. Fernie BC, worst in 30 years. I have a huge high pressure above my head. I think I'm going to jinx Japan next season ... wait for the drought ...

Sorry I digress .. are the signs for an El Nino SA winter or not? Any ideas where I can get more info and keep myself posted for long range forecasts for South America? Termas de Chillan is soooo good .....

Happy days,
Bruce
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 20, 2005 4:24 pm

Larry Schick has advised me that this website table is the best measure of El Nino status: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/klaus.wo ... table.html

It is currently updated only to JAN/FEB 2005. Positive values are toward El Nino, negative toward La Nina. Values during 2004-05 Northern Hemisphere ski season were consistently positive but at a lower level than the mild El Nino of 2002-03. Strength was about 1/4 of the big El Ninos of 1982-83 and 1997-98. In the Northern Hemisphere mild El Ninos are not very predictive, despite what happened this year.
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:49 pm

For those who haven't noticed, predictions are not needed for the Andes now. There were major storms in both May and June. Season to date snowfall is 244 inches at Portillo and 201 inches at Las Lenas. To put that in perspective consider that Alta's season snowfall as of Dec. 19, 2004 was 223 inches. I have signed up for the Extremely Canadian trip to Las Lenas Sept. 3-10.
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Geoff » Thu Jun 23, 2005 1:00 pm

Yep. It's a good start to the season. I'm flying down on August 16. 6 nights at Termas de Chillan. A night in Santiago. 4 nights at Valle Nevado.
Last edited by Geoff on Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Admin » Thu Jun 23, 2005 1:46 pm

FYI, Portillo is reporting 5 feet of snow in the past week.
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:05 pm

Updated season snowfall totals as of July 12:
Portillo 301 inches
Las Lenas 270 inches
Valle Nevado 180 inches

Jan. 16, 2005 North America comparables:
Snowbird 313 inches
Squaw Valley 279 inches
Durango 195 inches
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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: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby ChrisC » Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:35 pm

Tony,

How did you decide upon Las Lenas over Chilean resorts like Portillo and Valle Nevado?

Eventually, I would like to do a trip there. However, I have considering day-tripping to Portillo for a day and spending the majority of time at the Vallee Nevado circus.

I also, wanted to visit Buenos Aires and Rio.
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:31 pm

1) Research indicates that Las Lenas is the premier area down there in terms of terrain quality for advanced/expert skiers.
2) Las Lenas has more erratic snowfall, so if you're going to go there it makes sense to wait for a year with good early snow and then book.
3) Extremely Canadian runs guided tours there for 3 weeks each season. We were impressed by them at Whistler in March, and guided skiing makes sense at Las Lenas because so much terrain is off-piste and unpatrolled.

I should warn you that Extremely Canadian tours are not cheap. You can get a ski/lodging package into the same Las Lenas hotels for probably half what we paid. So it boils down to the value you place upon their guiding.

Logistics in most less developed countries tend to route nearly all international travel into one gateway airport, usually the capital. So if you're going to Las Lenas you will almost certainly be going through Buenos Aires. With just one extra week of vacation available (my son Adam has to be back at college Sept. 18 ) I decided to go for what was interesting but logistically smooth from Buenos Aires, thus 1 1/2 days Iguazu Falls, then 4 days in Rio.

If you browse the ads Google provides FTO at the top of this thread you will find that some tour operators will do 2 week trips covering up to 3 resorts in both Chile and Argentina. These aren't cheap either but cover the inter-country logistics, tend to use the nicer hotels and also include guiding.

My read on Portillo is that it is smaller than Valle Nevado, but gets more snow and is more expert oriented. If I were there only one week I would try to divide the time fairly evenly. And if you're trying save $ you should stay on-mountain in Portillo and commute to Valle Nevado because the latter is much closer to Santiago. But from what I read about the roads you should really try to stay on the mountain for both if you can afford it.
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:48 pm

Updated season snowfall totals as of August 18:
Portillo 378 inches
Las Lenas 311 inches (16 days from now I'll be there :D )
Valle Nevado has no exact total posted anymore, just a comment of "over 5 meters snowfall, enough for the rest of the season." Reported base depth is 180 cm.

Feb. 17, 2005 North America comparables:
Snowbird 366 inches
Squaw Valley 322 inches

New Zealand's dismal season finally got a shot of 3+ feet last week. But most reported South Island base depths are still under 100cm.

Australia's season is probably above average by their standards. Decent dumps the first half of July and about a week ago. Late July/early August skiing was almost wiped out by thaw and rain.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby ChrisC » Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:05 pm

Sounds like you will be in for an epic time!

I'll be curious to see what you think.
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:13 pm

Updated season snowfall totals as of August 31 before I leave tomorrow:
Portillo 476 inches
Las Lenas 350 inches
Valle Nevado's base depth has increased to 270cm.

Feb. 27, 2005 North America comparables:
Alta 454 inches
Squaw Valley 336 inches
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Geoff » Fri Sep 02, 2005 12:39 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Updated season snowfall totals as of August 31 before I leave tomorrow:
Portillo 476 inches
Las Lenas 350 inches
Valle Nevado's base depth has increased to 270cm.

Feb. 27, 2005 North America comparables:
Alta 454 inches
Squaw Valley 336 inches


Valle Nevado got 8 feet of snow last weekend. Santiago had major flooding with 7" of rain. The road to Valle Nevado was closed until Tuesday afternoon so there were only about 400 people to track it all out. The base depths and skiing surface were excellent before that storm and are superb now.

For what it's worth, Portillo is well known for over-reporting their base depth. It's tough to guess the base depth at Valle Nevado since the wind pushes things around so much. It must be 30 or 40 feet in some places and wind scoured rock in others.
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 02, 2005 3:11 pm

I heard from a friend that the skiing was amazing.

She arrived in Santiago on last Thursday. I believe was in Valle Nevado the next day (that was the planned at least) then going to Portwas in Valle Nevado in the Friday and planning to ski Portillio.

She never made it to Portillio because of road closure, but she went south to a place called Pucon.

200cm in two days.

Email sent on Wednesday August 31.

So, I jumped on a bus and down south I went, to a small town called Pucon where there is a ski center on a volcano called Villarrica (yes, it's a real one, with lava and smoke and everything).

I thought you guys would like to get a description of the last two days...

Imagine a volcano shape mountain on which 2 meters of snow just felt. That fresh snow still untouched because the ski center is closed... and you are there when they open it... at first with only a couple easy trails open (which is quite fine because we don't exactly have our snow legs in August) due to poor visibility. The snow was dry powder pack and nicely groomed. Then, at 3:30, they open an extra chair with a steeper run and untouched powder to ski on. Thought I died and went to heaven!! I made the most perfect 10 turns floating on powder ever! ...Until there was a drop I didn't see 'cause of flat light and poor visibility... my skis followed some gravity rules, ended up covered in snow and I was sent like in a sling shot and landed a few feet away... spent 10 minutes laughing, digging out my skis and trying to put them back...

The next day (yesterday) was a perfect clear day with most of the mountain untouched... In the morning, the powder was still dry and I skied some amazing off piste and yes, jumped an other cliff (had no choice, was challenged by a Chilian ski instructor...). In the afternoon, the snow texture varied from light ice sugar to cake icing depending on the exposition to the sun. There are little crowed so, even with only a few lifts open I was able to ski untouched snow all day... Until my legs gave up and I had to stick to the groom. I can appreciate here that there are few skiers with our pace... Finally met one that challenged my speed and made me crank it up a bit at the end of the day when I skied the groomed trail. We had quite a laugh trying to speak franspanglish in the chairs!


Hope she doesn't mind me posting this... :oops:
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re: Chile 2005 .. El Nino or not?

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 30, 2005 9:19 pm

Updated season snowfall totals as of Sept. 30:
Portillo 526 inches
Las Lenas 366 inches
Valle Nevado's snowfall is "over 9 meters," about the same as Las Lenas

Mar. 31, 2005 North America comparables:
Snowbird 534 inches
Squaw Valley 453 inches

With no local population base Portillo and Las Lenas will both close Oct. 9-10. In will be interesting to see if Santiago can support Valle Nevado much longer. Base depth of 142 inches could last awhile.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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