Las Lenas Backcountry

phatpow

New member
Hello! Nice Forum!

I am an expert, backcountry enthusiast from Alaska.
I am headed down to Las Lenas and to Bariloche in a couple of weeks.
I rode Bariloche as part of a long trip around S.A. last summer, this year I am bringing my own equipment for a more focused snowboard trip.

I have about a week and a half in each location. I already have a good idea of where to go in Bariloche for some backcountry excursions, but I have had a lot of trouble finding any legitamate information about Las Lenas. (it seems that everyone online wants to sell a trip package without offering any usefull information).

Lifts are fun and all, but I was hoping to ride mostly off piste, I was wondering what the Las Lenas area has to offer in this department, I have read about cat trips and I would like to know where they go so that I can hike to theses places. Are there any huts in the Las Lenas area?

Also: what is the lodging like near LL? is it all resorts? are there any places to stay for less than $20 USD a night?

Thanks!
 

Admin

Administrator
Staff member
phatpow":297oz35b said:
I have had a lot of trouble finding any legitamate information about Las Lenas. (it seems that everyone online wants to sell a trip package without offering any usefull information).

Ironically, we have a Las Lenas story in the can that will publish in the coming days. The author, Tony Crocker, is a regular here and will certainly respond to your specific questions shortly.
 

JimG.

New member
I've been to Las Lenas...the resort is huge and the inbounds terrain is a tiny fraction of what is available. Alot of the BC stuff could be more accurately referred to as side or slack country.

Look for a line you want to ski, ride a lift, take a short hike, ski it. The resort is very isolated, and you can easily get lost OB. So, if you want to hike way out in the BC, you might actually consider a guide for a day to get your bearings.

As for lodging, the resort is very limited. Nothing around for miles and miles. The hotels are fairly expensive, but there was one lesser priced option the name of which escapes me. In any case, unless there is a hostel there I think you're going to have a tough time finding a bed for $20US.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
The Las Lenas backcountry should be regarded similarly to the Alps or Alaska. You need decent weather/visibility, partner, avy gear and probably a guide the first time out.

There is plenty of lodging at the resort, but virtually nothing outside it as Las Lenas is so isolated. Supposedly private deals can be had for some of the apartments, but I don't know any details. Malargue is over an hour away and it's very small; the airport was built there just to handle the Saturday flights for Las Lenas.

Go in September to maximize lodging availability and reduce price some. I did read somewhere that bookings were very strong this season due to last year's great season plus some early snow just before this year's opening.

Season snowfall as of July 17:
Las Lenas 150 inches, most of the snow came in June
Portillo 174 inches, recent 7-foot dump
This is decent but far below the huge early season a year ago.
 

salida

New member
Looks like Portillo is nearing 100inch base territory. Awesome.

I'm there starting August 4th...
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
That's an excellent thread on TGR. Captures the spirit of the place. Mouth watering pics, waiting 10 days for Marte to open. There was also some discussion about how to stay there on a budget.

The rumor about new ownership possibly upgrading the lifts would certainly be welcome. Another lift to the top from the Vulcano side would allow you to get up there more often in terms of fewer windholds as well as shorter liftlines.

No post since 7/7? Maybe that projected storm didn't happen. LL website hasn't changed YTD snowfall during July, but that can always be management oversight down there.
 

ChrisC

Active member
Looks like the thread continues

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... hp?t=56697

However, you should pay attention to what is going with the Marte lift.

Skinned up to the top today. Since Neptuno was closed (there was some wind, but we think they don't want people seeing what is going on), had plenty of time to look at the situation. What I think must have happened was some huge slide came down from the top of Marte and Human Error and created an airblast which knocked the cable off the lift. The reason I think this is because there were at least 2 chairs that were missing seats, bar, etc. They basicly looked like skeltons and were in an open span, between towers, not damaged from dropping. There were 3 towers (3,4 and 5) that derailed. Looks like tower 2 they were taking off probrably to help get the other ones fixed. Also, the was a huge amount of rubble that ran along the side of Neptuno all the way to the top of Venus.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
TGR thread is very informative. We should keep monitoring that. LL website info is unreliable. I've asked Extremely Canadian to keep getting data for me when they are down there every September.

Despite the anecdotal comments about Santa Rosa storms, I think it's an advantage to ski Las Lenas late season when big storms are slightly less likely. As the main poster on TGR noted Las Lenas is not an area where you can ski much when it's snowing. Combine that with the dilatory repairs of Marte after it's buried or damaged by a storm, and I think you need to be rooting for a decent base but clear weather when you're there.

If the rumors about new lifts are true, I think I'll wait to go back there until after they are built.
 

aaron12345

New member
I've been monitoring TGR every day now for the past 2 weeks this is the new thread http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... 668&page=2

Marte still isn't up and I leave for Las Lenas on Friday! It changed from supposed to be up last week, to now this week, to now closed until further notice and I wasn't planning on shelling out the cash for heli skiing. I'll just keep my finger crossed maybe I'll get 2 days when it's open (out of 14).
 

ChrisC

Active member
aaron12345":3lsxcl8u said:
I've been monitoring TGR every day now for the past 2 weeks this is the new thread http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... 668&page=2

Marte still isn't up and I leave for Las Lenas on Friday! It changed from supposed to be up last week, to now this week, to now closed until further notice and I wasn't planning on shelling out the cash for heli skiing. I'll just keep my finger crossed maybe I'll get 2 days when it's open (out of 14).

Maybe you can ride one of the cats?

Marte lift operation seems unacceptable.
 

aaron12345

New member
Good idea, will look into cats. They're pretty cheap right? From what I've read Las Lenas is pretty much all about knowing the right people. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out who is actually in charge of the cats and booking rides up in them (or just hopping on).
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I recall from the other thread that aaron12345's ski trip to Las Lenas was Aug. 18 - Sept. 2.

No question that current Las Lenas management is less than competent. They are very slow correcting problems. When I was there Marte had no mechanical issues; it just had to be excavated. Nonetheless they waited a week to start the work and thus I got only one clear day with Marte open instead of 3. We are now approaching 4 weeks since Marte derailed.

The cat ride last year was $40 for one run of ~1000 meters. No question that you should do it if that's the only way to get up high. After you've been there a few days and acclimated your group could skin up also. A couple of the Extremely Canadian groups did that the week before I was there when Marte never opened. The 2,500 vertical foot groomed trail coming around from the back side of Marte should be easy for a fit high schooler to skin up :).

One of the advantages of paying the $ for Extremely Canadian is that Joe Lammers has been skiing Las Lenas for 20 years and he probably got us to the front of the line for the cat skiing. When you get there your guide needs to be proactive about this if Marte is still down and I recommend that you start lobbying him right away.

Season-to-date snowfall update through end of July:
Portillo 258 inches
Valle Nevado 221 inches
Las Lenas 189 inches

The Las Lenas number is 103% of normal, but it's probably understated. The website YTD number did not increase after the July 7-11 storm that derailed Marte, though it did increase after last week's storm.
 

aaron12345

New member
Unfortunetly I had to move the trip up a couple weeks because of getting wisdom teeth pulled. I'm leaving August 4, and getting back on the 20th (and my wisdom teeth get pulled on the 21st....). Will go for the cat and for hiking, and well as crossing my fingers on marte...
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Las Lenas website reports Marte open today Aug. 7, nice timing for aaron12345 if true. It also reports YTD snowfall of 382cm, DOWN from 480 last week. How many areas do we know that try to underreport their snowfall? At LL there may be some perverse logic because there's not much skiing available when it's snowing.

No TGR postings corroborating the Marte opening. But there are some confirming new ownership and serious research about redesigning the lift system. Timely opening of upper lifts after storms will greatly enhance Las Lenas skiing. There were posts griping about seeing lots of powder but that it was usually wind-affected by the time Marte opened several days after a storm. This occurred while I was there last year, and is also a common phenomenon at Mammoth. But at Mammoth they do get the upper lifts open as fast as they can so sometimes we can get some good powder up top.
 

Geoff

New member
Tony Crocker":3026owk1 said:
There were posts griping about seeing lots of powder but that it was usually wind-affected by the time Marte opened several days after a storm. This occurred while I was there last year, and is also a common phenomenon at Mammoth. But at Mammoth they do get the upper lifts open as fast as they can so sometimes we can get some good powder up top.

South America doesn't have the same level of avalanche control found in the US. I've experienced the same thing twice at Valle Nevado after gigantic dumps. You're stuck skiing on the lower mountain because they don't have the staff to bomb everything. ...not that skiing the lower mountain after a 10 foot dump is any hardship. Last summer, they had to use a helicopter to bomb the cornice on el Colorado that threatens the Valle Nevado access road. We were all stuck doing laps on the bunny lift when that was happening. The access road was one truck width wide with 10 foot snow banks. Quite the drive down the hill a couple of days later.
 

JimG.

New member
Tony Crocker":3c04ulce said:
There were posts griping about seeing lots of powder but that it was usually wind-affected by the time Marte opened several days after a storm. This occurred while I was there last year, and is also a common phenomenon at Mammoth. But at Mammoth they do get the upper lifts open as fast as they can so sometimes we can get some good powder up top.

This was my experience at Las Lenas as well. And since I was there later in the season (first week of September), sun exposure was an issue as well. My time in the Marte area was limited to 2 days and the lines skiied much the same each time...decent powder on top, wind crust midway, sun baked sludge at the bottom.
 
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