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Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:13 pm

Some of you may remember my reports from New Year's 2006: viewtopic.php?t=1573
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I would not dispute that the impact of wind upon skiing is more negative at Las Lenas than at Mammoth.
1) Mammoth's upper lifts are leeward of prevailing winds while they are frequently crosswise to Marte.
2) Mammoth does have trees on the lower half of its vertical. Adam can vouch for some impressive storm skiing powder days this past season, though there are times like my 2006 example above where the wind is so pervasive that there is not much powder left when the storm is over.
3) Windy days at Mammoth usually shut down 1/4 to 1/2 of terrain with just a handful of severe days as much as 3/4. Any windy day at Las Lenas Marte is down, which means 3/4 of terrain.

With regard to where the wind is "far stronger and more frequent" I'm not so sure. Mammoth upper gondola and chair 23 are closed for wind about 30% of the time by my 33 years and 250+ days of experience despite their leeward placement. Mt. Bachelor's Summit lift, which has a crosswind placement like Marte's, is closed about half the time during the winter months, not so different from Marte.

My impression is that wind is most frequent and consistent near the top of isolated peaks like Mammoth and Bachelor. But it's probably more localized; when it blows at Las Lenas it's more likely to affect most or all of the mountain.

Interestingly, during my 2005 week at Las Lenas I experienced little wind while skiing, though the snow conditions sometimes offered ample evidence that it had blown hard overnight.
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby soulskier » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:49 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
I would not dispute that the impact of wind upon skiing is more negative at Las Lenas than at Mammoth.

With regard to where the wind is "far stronger and more frequent" I'm not so sure.


Maybe you miss understood me, or don't quite understand my point, which is the huge and frequent wind is big contributing factor in why there are no trees in Las Leñas, per Mike's question.

The wind actually assists with the great skiing Las Leñas offers. During your week, maybe your guide Joe took you on some really smooth runs? The key to skiing down here is to use the wind to it's advantage. The windbuff that forms here is among the best on the planet. Think Chair 23 but only for much more vertical. Also, the corn forms very fast as a result of quick consolidation of the snowpack due to the aforementioned wind, along with low latitude and a very strong sun.

As far as the wind being far stronger and more frequent, you will need to trust me on this. I speak from experience. It's like me arguing with you on when Highway 134 has traffic and when it doesn't.
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby soulskier » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:01 am

Tony Crocker wrote:1) Mammoth's upper lifts are leeward of prevailing winds while they are frequently crosswise to Marte.


That goes against your earlier hypothesis that the wind blows from all directions at Las Leñas.

The reason Marte chair is closed so much is because it is a 1983 double chair that has been wiped out many times, there is incompetent management (especially since Jeff Eckland is no longer here) that doesn't consider running it a priority, and it is placed in the windiest spot in the valley, and perhaps the whole Andes!

Here's one from yesterday.

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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:18 pm

Sorry to hear Jeff Eckland isn't there anymore. He provided useful info last year which I passed along to FTO: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8266.

In that discussion it became quite clear that the placement of Marte would severely limit its operation even if management were more competent. I find it noteworthy that soulskier still finds Las Lenas skiing in a low snow year more interesting than Bariloche in an above average year.

soulskier wrote:the huge and frequent wind is big contributing factor in why there are no trees in Las Leñas, per Mike's question.

The wind and leeward side aridity undoubtedly explain why even at lower elevation as you drive up from Malargue you see few trees. But with regard to ski elevations the low tree line on the Chilean side, and particularly in New Zealand, which is not arid at all, argue for the Southern Hemisphere native vegetation being significantly different from North America.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby soulskier » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:43 pm

Tony Crocker wrote: I find it noteworthy that soulskier still finds Las Lenas skiing in a low snow year more interesting than Bariloche in an above average year.



That's like comparing Squaw Valley to Mount Waterman. Even though it's been low tide in the big Andes, there has been some amazing skiing at Las Leñas. Bariloche just doesn't have the terrain available for my wife and I's liking, regardless of the amount of snow.

Once Leñas closes, we will head back south to finish our ski sabbatical. I'll be sure to post some pics, including some trees.
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:54 pm

soulskier wrote:Bariloche just doesn't have the terrain available for my wife and I's liking, regardless of the amount of snow.

Which does raise the question why someone would pay the big $ to go there from the Northern Hemisphere, especially more than once. :stir: My son Adam has expressed exactly the same sentiment as soulskier with respect to Las Lenas terrain quality vs. other Southern Hemisphere ski areas.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,318K in 2010-11
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby Patrick » Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:54 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
soulskier wrote:Bariloche just doesn't have the terrain available for my wife and I's liking, regardless of the amount of snow.

Which does raise the question why someone would pay the big $ to go there from the Northern Hemisphere, especially more than once. :stir: My son Adam has expressed exactly the same sentiment as soulskier with respect to Las Lenas terrain quality vs. other Southern Hemisphere ski areas.


Meet a bunch of people that dont want to go to LAs Lenas for a number of reasons. They are Americans, Canadians and French and come to Argentina to ski. No time to get into details, but Im sure Soulskier knows the reasons.
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:32 pm

Mostly TISA, I would guess. But other areas are not immune from that. http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... p?t=195632
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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: 1,318K in 2010-11
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm

Snowfall update as of Sept. 2:
Portillo 130 inches
Valle Nevado 155 inches

At Portillo that's 8 inches in the past 4 weeks, base depths 21-32 inches. Not good. Note also that Portillo reports lower snowfall than Valle Nevado. Not the normal pattern, maybe La Nina related due to Portillo's lower latitude?
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: 1,318K in 2010-11
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby Admin » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:14 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:At Portillo that's 8 inches in the past 4 weeks, base depths 21-32 inches. Not good.


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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:45 pm

Coronet Peak did not in my impression have the length of slope necessary for downhill training. Mt. Hutt will be better for that. It would be interesting to hear how the New Zealand club fields are doing given the above average base at Mt. Hutt.

I thought about pushing Patrick toward NZ when I returned July 22, but I didn't think it was quite there yet. History was on the side of South America pulling ahead over the ensuing month, but it didn't turn out that way. I also get the impression from admin's report that the Canterbury areas in NZ are continuing to have a better season than the Southern Lakes.
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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: 1,318K in 2010-11
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Las Lenas and 2010 South America Season

Postby soulskier » Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:25 am

It snowed about 2 feet in Las Leñas the last couple days. It was getting very brown and melting out quickly, so this storm definitely extended the season. The snowpack is still way shallow in this part of the Andes. The farms in Mendoza province, who get their water from the snow melt, are going to have a tough summer.

Further south in northern Patagonia, a long time guide told me it's the best coverage he has ever seen in those parts.
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