South America 2023

With no new snow reported today, I think we can conclude that Portillo's storm total is 98 inches. That's season-to-date on Portillo's website today minus the 72 inches I reported Aug. 13.

SnowBrains, as we should know, will publish anything that looks exciting without curating its accuracy. I'm fairly sure that Snow-Forecast does not research and publish actual snowfalls after they happen. They publish what their models called for on those days. Past experience has told me that Snow-Forecast frequently overpredicts for the Andes.

OpenSnow's last post was Wednesday. It reported storm totals of 107 inches at Portillo, 56 at Valle Nevado and 59-138 at Las Lenas. That's Luke Stone's narrative report, and I know OpenSnow forecasters make a strong effort to curate what they report. As for Las Lenas, I know for a fact from when I was there that snow is formally measured only at the base. The 138 inches is possible and perhaps even likely, but if you've ever been to Las Lenas you know that number is a SWAG. Given wind and avalanche exposure, it's not possible to measure snowfall high on that mountain.
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SnowBrains, as we should know, will publish anything that looks exciting without curating its accuracy. I'm fairly sure that Snow-Forecast does not research and publish actual snowfalls after they happen. They publish what their models called for on those days. Past experience has told me that Snow-Forecast frequently overpredicts for the Andes.

I guess most of the reporting was from PowderQuest guides. I received an email:


And a few more details from Powder Magazine

Anyways, it's perhaps coming too late in the season to take advantage of for most skiers.
Saw OpenSnow was forecasting even more snow for the Andes in the next 10 days (I know it is a ways out).


Also I was reviewing some of Tony's prior Las Lenas reports (here) and just looking at logistics. Wow! Las Lenas is a huge commitment to get to! It's two overnight forms of transportatioin (plane, bus). Even if you flew to Mendoza. You are definitely going for a week. Japan/Europe/Chile are easier.

Note: With Argentina's continued financial and political instability, a 5-day lift pass is about $200.
Airfares to both Buenos Aires or Santiago are decent - $600-800 or miles.

My brother was looking into Chile - specifically Portillo. You now longer need to stay for a week - they break it out to 3 or 4-day intervals. If you do not stay at the main lodge, you can do 3-days for about $900 at the Octagon/dbl. It includes everything: lift ticket, lodging, 4-meals, pool, fitness, etc. Not bad.

However, curent situation with the road. Everyone is trapped up there - except for helicopter use. You can watch the guests skiing away on webcams.

Portillo's website shows fully operational today, with the roads open too.

Lots of recent pics from CaseyE at La Parva. Lift ops are limited there due to staffing though.

For Las Lenas you have to relay on third party websites.

This is what OnTheSnow says:
Las Lenas: Open
Snow Report Last Updated: Aug 31

Packed Powder

Packed Powder

15 / 15
Lifts Open

Closing Date: Sep. 29
That seems ironic...
Not any more than Crested Butte and Telluride closing first weekend of April. Las Lenas is 99% destination visitors and we all know how hard it is to get those people to take ski vacations later than March here in North America. Only the Euros seem to have a more broad appreciation of spring skiing.
In North America getting on a plane is a good definition of "destination visitor." A more general definition might be travel of at least one week. The spring/summer skiing in California is highly weekend concentrated, as I can attest from Mammoth's closing this season. At Tahoe and Snowbird they often don't even open midweek in late season.
Not any more than Crested Butte and Telluride closing first weekend of April.
Sad for the SA resorts and their employees overall, but still better than a total wipeout season.

Though, I'd probably also consider it ironic if those two resorts had essentially no snow until March 1 then closed first week of April after getting huge late dumps to full operation.

I seem to recall Tahoe having a miracle March in 1990 or so after a horrific year otherwise. But they obviously stayed open to reap the benefit of the bay area being nearby.
Portillo's season to date is now 217 inches, which means another 47 inches in the past week. Road access is closed. Portillo is still probably not a favorite to reach its 1970-2007 average of 270 inches.

miracle March in 1990
That was 1991. Through February Mammoth's season snowfall was 52 inches, even less than in 1977. This prompted first ever widespread layoffs before it snowed 176 inches in March. The layoffs meant that Mammoth could not run chairs 9 and 14 even though that terrain was accessible. Mammoth's first serious snowmaking including the reservoir at McCoy Station was installed that summer.
I am trying to find my way's insanely good right now. Mostly closed for too much snow.

Not sure if this will be an Alta.Snowbird epic collapse into 2 weeks of wet slides..... Utah really was not all that great this year - despite record snow.

Portillo is insane

Screenshot 2023-09-11 101316.jpg

And Las Lenas is more insane - 200" base and 80" new at altitude?!

Las Lenas.jpg
I'm going to try:

South America?

Do you know how many school plays, baseball games, synchronized swimming, golf afternoons, Zoom dog walks......whatever...... I get up in Europe at 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. and do an 8-hour day.

Tired of co-workers.

I'm going skiing soon. Keep you informed.
That’s another 40 inches at Portillo, may finally break average for the first time in 14 years.

Have you confirmed Marte is open at Las Lenas? Las Lenas is ChrisC’s kind of mountain.

Forget about powder; there’s lots of wind effect. But both Portillo and Las Lenas can be corn machines with the high altitude and chronic sunny spring weather.

Since ChrisC is capable of hiking Palmyra at Telluride he should try for the Super C at Portillo and/or Torrecillas/Entre Rios at Las Lenas. Staley has posted several reports from the latter on this forum.
Snowbrains says Las Lenas was only running 4 chairs today due to avalanche danger after 1 meter new in 24 hours.
I've learned to take what's posted on Snowbrains with skepticism like this from 2020 although Miles Clark's reports are usually great.

I saw report that said the 1 meter of new snow was at the base and the top received 2.5 meters. I couldn't find that again but Google found OpenSnow post that included "2.5 meters at the summit over the last 24 hours. In eight hours alone it snowed 1 meter!"
Snowfall in this past storm at the top of Leñas is anyone’s guess, but if it snows a meter at the base (and from reports from friends, it did), 2.5 meters at the top is not inconceivable.

There’s so much snow at the bottom of the Marte that it’s requiring a lot of digging out at the end of each storm, plus obviously nothing happens quickly there. That said, once Marte does open, coverage is better than ever—the entire South Face was already open prior to this storm. Now’s the time to go.
Las Lenas:
From personal experience, you don’t want to be in LL during a big storm. The resort will be literally closed for days. During my ill fated 2009 trip, I had a 7-day Lenas pass, but only used it for 3.5 days before lifts started shutting down. Basically all lift minus a beginner poma at the base were closed for 3 days; other lifts started slowly opening up on Day 4… day I was leaving for Buenos Aires. I wanted to see to modify my plans (bus/flights), but internet wasn’t really working and electricity kept flickering.

Catedral has extended its season to Oct 15(?). Yukon friend and family spent 3 weeks in the Andes in August; it only started getting better as they were leaving. Sucked pretty much prior to that.

Rodo (French monoskier) arrived at that time; his timing was pretty good.

Yep, these skiers were also in California in late May/early June.
CaseyE on TGR, from La Parva on 9/15:
In a snap of the fingers, winter switched to spring yesterday, starting with an overnight/early morning drizzle, then the afternoon sun hit and all was slush.
The drizzle part is a surprise, but in late September at latitudes 32-35 you are looking for the corn cycle anyway.

Another post in the same thread from Las Lenas:
The Mid August storm was insane and set up some amazing conditions. I got 3 Marte openings with fresh snow in the 10 days I stayed there. GOAT terrain for resort skiing!
That's as good a one sentence summation of Las Lenas as I've ever read. Like La Grave or Alaska, you are there for the terrain, and you may have to wait several days to ski it. Best of luck to ChrisC!

Portillo YTD snowfall remains 256 inches. It is not a slam dunk that the 1990-2007 average of 270 will be reached.
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