Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding anywhere in the southern hemisphere: New Zealand, Australia, South America, etc., including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:57 pm

With TISA factor it's not easy to get reliable info on the South America ski season. There are several nice videos on TGR from Las Lenas. Reported base depth is 24-71 inches, which is below average, but from the videos still plenty of interesting skiing from Marte.

Elsewhere in South America it looks very lean. Despite the Santa Rosa anecdotes, on average most of these places get 2/3 of their season snow by the end of July. Portillo has had only 94 inches, half of normal and almost none in the past month. Valle Nevado is 64% open and Chillan 60%. Catedral is 1/3 open. Base depths at all of these average less than 1 meter.

There is a moderate El Nino, so perhaps the time is ripe for Santa Rosa. My understanding that Patrick is planning a return to Las Lenas this year, which seems the wise choice at this point.
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:19 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:My understanding that Patrick is planning a return to Las Lenas this year, which seems the wise choice at this point.

Lenas was only one of my preferred options. Based on the latest information and looking at various websites, it would seem that I'll probably be return to Termas (my other preferred option). This trip will probably have less ski areas hoping and travelling. I've traveled too much this summer. :D

Portillo got a good dump, however the lake isn't frozen, so my interest in returning there are minimal.

Los Penintentes is closed due to lack of snow (at least it was a few days ago). Although not directly connect to Portillo, it reflects a bad year. I remember seeing the same thing prior to my 2010 trip when I opted in returning to Patagonia like in 2008 instead of repeat the 2009 Penintentes-Lenas trip.

The north Chilean Andes would seem to have the best overall conditions right now.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:03 pm

Portillo is up to 124 inches snowfall now. That's around average for the past 3 weeks, but after a bone dry July and a current base of 20-45 inches it still sounds like low tide to me. By common sense Los Penitientes is on the leeward side of same mountains where Portillo is windward of the crest, thus a low snow reputation in general and obviously in trouble in a year like this.

According to on-the-snow it' s 41F and raining at Portillo and the Valle Nevado group today. Chillan has improved some, 74 inch base at the top though only 4 at the base. Las Lenas 24-55 inches and 83% open.
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:14 am

Tony Crocker wrote:According to on-the-snow it' s 41F and raining at Portillo and the Valle Nevado group today. Chillan has improved some, 74 inch base at the top though only 4 at the base. Las Lenas 24-55 inches and 83% open.

Heard and saw a pic from someone I know, snowed a good amount in Las Trancas two nights ago, so you know the hill which is higher should have gotten a good amount.

Possibly looking at lesser known ski areas to tag up in this trip, not sure of the logistic of it. If I wasn't solo and it wasn't Chile, I would get definitely get a car to check them out. However it's impossible to find out if they are even open. I've heard some good things about the terrain (slack or back) of these areas.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby SKI-3PO » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:48 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:According to on-the-snow it' s 41F and raining at Portillo and the Valle Nevado group today.


I can report that it has not rained at Portillo this week.

http://www.epicski.com/t/113152/what-we ... r-vacation
SKI-3PO
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2004 4:44 pm
Location: PA

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:54 am

Nice to hear the good news from Portillo. One of the risks of South America as a ski destination is the abysmal reporting. It's a good thing we have ski forums for at least some decent info.

Patrick wrote:Possibly looking at lesser known ski areas to tag up in this trip, not sure of the logistic of it. If I wasn't solo and it wasn't Chile, I would get definitely get a car to check them out.

Lesser known in South America often means more TISA factor and even less reliable conditions. And it nearly always means no beta/recent TR's on ski forums whether the skiing is going to be any good. The bottom line is that you DO need a car for flexibility when you have such inadequate info in advance. This is another problem with the ski streak driving one's schedule. With more time flexibility it might be easier to hook up with someone else on a ski forum to share car rental/lodging expense. Early to mid-August is a more popular time frame to do that I suspect.
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:07 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Lesser known in South America often means more TISA factor and even less reliable conditions. And it nearly always means no beta/recent TR's on ski forums whether the skiing is going to be any good.


Yep...that is why they aren't the primary focus of any trips. In 2008, I had a very little beta on La Hoya. It was a gamble which paid off. In 2009 it was Los Penintentes' turns which worked out great as it was on the way to Mendoza.

With the exception of Cerro Castor, I believe that any extra ski areas would fall below the 13 ski areas I've already been to. The vitals on verts for the remainders aren't great and are generally smaller than the top one in the East. However I've gotten some bits of beta on them from previous research and meeting with people on previous trips.

Tony Crocker wrote:The bottom line is that you DO need a car for flexibility when you have such inadequate info in advance. This is another problem with the ski streak driving one's schedule. With more time flexibility it might be easier to hook up with someone else on a ski forum to share car rental/lodging expense. Early to mid-August is a more popular time frame to do that I suspect.


There goes the ski streak comment again...totally independent of my timeframe for this trip. Early to mid-August is prime time for our family vacation. What is not, is I don't travel before kids get back to school. I prefer late season traveled for coverage and low season over earlier, higher prices and possibly not as good coverage.

I know a few people down that are heading down in my timeframe. 99.9% of NA skiers heading to SA wouldn't necessarily be interested in checking out the under the radar place. For me, it's exploring the unknown (for me). I like that...that is the way I traveled on snow and in general.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:01 am

I don't think the streak timeframe is bad for many places in SA. Extremely Canadian prefers it for Las Lenas. I do think the quality of the trip would be enhanced by sharing a car and lodging, not to mention Patrick's known desire to hold down costs.
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:41 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I don't think the streak timeframe is bad for many places in SA. Extremely Canadian prefers it for Las Lenas. I do think the quality of the trip would be enhanced by sharing a car and lodging, not to mention Patrick's known desire to hold down costs.


Yes and No, you cannot use North America ski trips models and perceptions and overlap them to South America.

1) Not easy getting partners that are on the same page and in synch. Last June we had a disagreement on only one week with few ski options. The only time I had a car (for part of the trip in SA), we had to compromise. For the type of trip I have in mind, it would be hard to find partners regardless. Example, if I had a car, would you have agreed to spend 2 days at Penitentes then 1 in Mendoza prior to making it to Lenas?

2) How many mileage did I do on my last trip? Maybe 3500-4000 miles in 13 days plus an 12 hours of flying from Ottawa? I skied 9 out of 10 days until I left back for Canada. I'm not afraid of driving, but they are limits.

3) Then you add the South American factor. Road and random road blocks by police, getting chains, the quality of the roads, etc..

4) It cost me way more on 1/3 of a car rental of smaller car I've been in the last 30 years versus the entire cost for bus, taxis on any of my trips. Plus I'm not even entering the cost of gas and tolls on the Pan-American highway. Oh yeah, I heard of at less 2 stories of North Americans having all their gear stolen in the car.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:32 am

Example, if I had a car, would you have agreed to spend 2 days at Penitentes then 1 in Mendoza prior to making it to Lenas?

If I knew Marte was closed at the time, you bet. Maybe a couple of days at Portillo too. If I knew Marte was open I would not waste any time getting to Las Lenas ASAP though. Having the car makes it easier to make those flexible calls.

I was off the grid for 10 days. It would be nice to know what's actually happening in South America now, even if pictures won't be part of the reports until much later.

Portillo snowfall is 128 inches, that's 4 inches in the past 2 weeks. Base depths 24-47 inches Las Lenas, 4-75 inches Chillan, not much change in those numbers either.
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:12 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
Example, if I had a car, would you have agreed to spend 2 days at Penitentes then 1 in Mendoza prior to making it to Lenas?

If I knew Marte was closed at the time, you bet. Maybe a couple of days at Portillo too. If I knew Marte was open I would not waste any time getting to Las Lenas ASAP though. Having the car makes it easier to make those flexible calls.

I was off the grid for 10 days. It would be nice to know what's actually happening in South America now, even if pictures won't be part of the reports until much later.

Portillo snowfall is 128 inches, that's 4 inches in the past 2 weeks. Base depths 24-47 inches Las Lenas, 4-75 inches Chillan, not much change in those numbers either.

The lower elevation at Chillan has melted incredibly in the week I was there.

After one week between Nevados de Chillan and Las Trancas, now Im up in and around Santiago. Looking to ski new terrain (El Colorado;s new lifts, more time at La Parva or new smaller ski areas)

I was at El Colorado and crossed over in Valle Nevado for the last run yesterday. Very dry and coverage is minimal. Front face of El Colorado is pathetic looking. Cono Este is white, but snow has baked in the sun for the last few weeks. Will probably be back skiing up once or twice before I leave Chile on Monday.

More snow in Termas, but it has been very warm. It was 27c when I landed in Santiago on August 29. Temps are back close to normal, but the warm weather has had it toll. I have seen no serious snow in the forecast in SA since that storm that hit around Termas on the 24th. Lean year for sure.

Confirmed one thing, that heading to Termas was the good call for a bad year, but very limit time in the off piste.

I have looked into skiing lesser known areas in the north (around Santiago), but they are closed due to lack of snow.

Hard surfaces in the morning and corn in the afternoon in El Colorado or the rest of Chile, it isnt bad, but if youre looking for Winter, this is definitely not the place or the time. New 3cm fell today, but our group was under the weather the last few days. Surfaces probably didnt soften up today.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:04 pm

Not sure why Patrick would go to the VN group in a year like this. They are between Portillo and Las Lenas and get less snow than either. September conditions there during an average 2007 made it quite clear to me that I would not want to be there in a subpar season.

Also, I believe Patrick violated his previous sensible rule to wait until mid-July or so before committing where to go for the streak. It was quite clear by then that this was a marginal year for South America.

In the marginal years there may be a week or two when most of the snow comes that are very good. Bob Peters got one of those in mid-August at Portillo last year. I've reviewed the TGR South America thread and it looks like the week before Patrick got there was decent but then there was a hot spell. As many of us know from the northern 2012 season in Colorado and the Northeast, a hot spell in a low tide season is a toxic combination.

And yes, it IS all about the streak. Despite my personal puzzlement at this use of one's ski resources living where he does, I think Patrick has a possibly unique ski accomplishment. Has anyone else even heard about an easterner with a monthly ski streak? It would not surprise me if no one else has ever done it before for 7 years living continuously in the East the entire time.

We haven't seen the reports yet, but my guess is that June/July in the PNW was better than Aug/Sept in SA in 2012. I'm not sure what the right call for a streak in 2012 was. NZ has had a roller coaster season, some great reports on TGR but also a couple of nasty rain incidents with ensuing bad weeks. Australia has had its best season in 12 years, but Oz is really expensive now with the exchange rate and a good year there is probably the same as a mediocre one in NZ or SA not to mention not much in the way of steep terrain. Some years it may be best to take the minimalist approach, conserve $ and vacation time and just hit Timberline or PNW backcountry for a couple of days.

I'm really glad now I decided to terminate my streak at 21 months.
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:43 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Not sure why Patrick would go to the VN group in a year like this.

Because I need to be back in Santiago to fly out. The first week wasnt here.

Tony Crocker wrote:They are between Portillo and Las Lenas and get less snow than either. September conditions there during an average 2007 made it quite clear to me that I would not want to be there in a subpar season.


1: Portillo and Lenas needs a longer and more advanced commitment.
2: If you would have followed the various forums and sources, you would have known that Termas was the right call. The potential storms have fizzled out since Ive been here. I had a few plans, but weather changed plans of maybe heading in new areas for myself further south. VN wasnt far behind in term in conditions, in the same line as Portillo. Lenas was mentioned in a lesser category (regardless, distance vs Termas made it a non starter).

Tony Crocker wrote:Also, I believe Patrick violated his previous sensible rule to wait until mid-July or so before committing where to go for the streak. It was quite clear by then that this was a marginal year for South America.


No.

Season started strong. I ALWAYS bought my plane ticket before the end of June, all my previous trips. When I saw the price I was looking for, I got it.

Tony Crocker wrote:And yes, it IS all about the streak. Despite my personal puzzlement at this use of one's ski resources living where he does, I think Patrick has a possibly unique ski accomplishment.


Whatever...Tony. Skiing isnt everything in my life and Im not going to justify my choices. In an ideal world, I would have unlimited ressources, no scheduling problem between work, home and school. I have so enough airline points to use, however, as explained before, family commitments and work leave me to choose to travel on easier times. Leaving for 2 wks in the middle of school, active fill kids calendar would be a hard sell. Winter has been a hard recently for myself, you dont seem to understand. Ive only skied 41 times so far this season (October to now) which is the worst since 2004 and barely better too.

Tony Crocker wrote:Has anyone else even heard about an easterner with a monthly ski streak? It would not surprise me if no one else has ever done it before for 7 years living continuously in the East the entire time.


Im sure Im not alone. There are also a number of Quebec skiers, as well as Kiwis, Canadians, Americans, Frenchs, Swiss, Germans...many are repeating visitors. You might not understand and Im not trying to convinced you, but we are different.

The skiing isnt bad, its just not as great as previous trips. If I would look with winter conditions maybe, but its been prime spring corn to be had.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:32 pm

Patrick wrote:Season started strong.

Actually slightly below average through June. July was a total bust.

Patrick wrote:In an ideal world, I would have unlimited resources...

If there is another person in the East with a streak, I suspect it is someone with a lot of $ who can jet off to wherever on short notice. A streak is a very poor use of limited resources for skiing, unless you're a backcountry skier living in the PNW or maybe a few strategic spots in the Rockies or Alps. California had such a huge year in 2011 that I was able to ski easily accessible backcountry in Aug/Sept/Oct in the manner of the PNW guys, but that's more the exception than the rule here.

Patrick wrote:I'm sure I'm not alone.

I think there's a fairly good chance you are. You are welcome to find someone else and prove me wrong, especially someone who has a job/family and is not part of "the 1%".

Patrick wrote:There are also a number of Quebec skiers, as well as Kiwis, Canadians, Americans, Frenchs, Swiss, Germans...many are repeating visitors.

Repeating ski visitors to South America, sure. But I'll bet they are skiing big mountains in the northern winter and have leftover time and $ to keep it going in the off-season. And I doubt the easterners you see in SA are also skiing June/July.

Patrick wrote:If you would have followed the various forums and sources, you would have known that Termas was the right call.

That's why I did read those forums. I would say Chillan was first choice and Las Lenas second. Also Cerro Castor was supposed to be good, particularly if you throw in the fairly accessible backcountry down there. Of course, with limited resources in time, $ or both you can only pick one of those. I think it takes a lot of resources to maintain both a streak and decent quality of skiing, unless you live in one of those places with drive-and-hike access to year-round snow. Having a nascent streak of my own, I thought quite a bit about keeping it going and decided it was not worth it.
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
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10099
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Another Lean Year in South America 2012?

Postby Patrick » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:32 am

I dont want to start a debate as Im on vacation and need to go and enjoy SA. But on your final point...

Tony Crocker wrote:
Patrick wrote:If you would have followed the various forums and sources, you would have known that Termas was the right call.

That's why I did read those forums. I would say Chillan was first choice and Las Lenas second. Also Cerro Castor was supposed to be good, particularly if you throw in the fairly accessible backcountry down there.


Oh yeah...stop it with the streak and look at it as a trip persceptive will you.

Focus was a return to Termas. Arrived a few days after the storm. Fellow Ottawa skiers got some left over powder then it got really hot. 30c in Santiago. It is now 15c in town, however the damage has been done. If seasonal temps would have remained, this trip would have been great as the terrain in Termas in and around is still as impressive as the first time I saw it.

I came back to Santiago has one week in Las Trancas was enough for me. The south looked good, but I did one to many trips this year. I didnt feel like traveling past Pucon then coming back to Santiago in that second week. I though about Antillanca, Volcan Osorno, or checking the new Cerro Bayo with top to bottom gondolas. Friends were heading for Santiago and I decided to join them. We only skied on Wednesday at El Colorado, some of our group were feeling great on Thursday including myself. I d liked to head back up this weekend as check out La Parva (longer than I did the last time). The goal is also to observe the changed in the ski resorts. El Colorado added a new lift served valle off Cono Este. Valle Nevado is being built up and has a new gondola that seems particial built.

Coming back to Santiago wasnt done for the skiing alone, but for the overall. Staying in a place with multiple things to do. You can just spend just so much time in hot springs.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Next

Return to Down Under

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use

cron