Valle Nevado 8/24-9/2

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Valle Nevado 8/24-9/2

Postby Geoff » Wed Sep 05, 2001 9:10 pm

10 feet of snow fell in 5 days. For the first 6 days of the trip, they only ran the lower mountain lifts. Day #1 was 6-12" of powder with poor visibility. Day #2 was knee-deep on the groomers and waist-deep outside the bamboo. A truly memorable day even with the limited terrain. Day #3 was big wind with extremely flat light. Off piste was tricky breakable windblown crust in many spots. Day #4... blew it off and went down to Santiago. Day #5... another flat light day that wasn't worth skiing. Day #6... yet another flat light day with big winds. They ran the upper mountain HS quad for 10 minutes and a bunch of people got stuck on it for an hour. Day #7.... sun, glorius sun. They ran the upper mtn high speed quad. Great off piste just off the groomed trail followed by many laps around the back side on the unpatrolled snowfields down to the bottom of the resort. Triple/Quad/HS Quad back to top. Repeat 'til lifts closed. It's not steep but it's like intermediate heli-skiing. Zillions of acres of off piste and practially nobody skiing it. Day #8 and Day #9 were also sunny. Explored the 3 upper mountain poma lifts, explored the nooks and crannies off the HS quad where you could traverse to steeper terrain. Kept returning to those expansive mellow off-piste snowfields on the back side. <BR> <BR>They finally got the poma leading up to el Colorado running on Day #9. The terrain from there down to the Valle Nevado access road is truly challenging. Never made it over to la Parva, the other interconnected resort accessed via the upper mtn poma lifts. <BR> <BR>The base village is 3 hotels and a few condos. Maybe 1000 beds. Very much the modern French purpose-built resort feel. Room included lift ticket and meals. We stayed at the mid-level hotel. The expensive hotel would be a little quieter at 4am on Saturday nites when the disco closes. I'm sure the inexpensive hotel had lots o' hooting and hollering. 5 restaurants. French (good), Italian (good), Chilean buffet (fair but with some interesting selections), Suisse fondue (horrible), American (didn't bother). Service was spotty. Breakfast was marginal. Custom made omlettes and fruit were OK. Great strong coffee if you could get one of the apathetic waiters to pour you some. Maid service was outstanding and they cleaned the room spotlessly twice a day. <BR> <BR>Mix was 25% nat'l ski team and snowboard team people. Sweden, Canada, Austria, Italy, France. Mostly hard-booted snowboarders. The Swedish women wouldn't have qualified for the Bikini team. The Italians had more blondes. 25% Americans. 50% Chilean, Argentian, Brazillian. Before 1-Sept, mostly skiers. After 1-Sept when rates dropped, mostly snowboarders. Skill level of the non-ski team people was quite low. <BR> <BR>Overall, the resort has mostly intermediate terrain but you can traverse-to quite a bit of more interesting stuff. It's huge even though it doesn't have all that much vertical drop and doesn't track out for days. I was getting 100 turns without crossing a track at the end of 3 sunny days. Midweek, I doubt there were more than 1000 people skiing. On weekends, the lower mountain got busy with beginners from Santiago but it's a small parking lot and the upper mountain was still deserted off-piste. <BR> <BR>I think I'll go back next year but I'll pray to the sun gods, do a night in Santiago halfway thru the trip, and maybe finish the trip with some days in Portillo. 8 nights in Valle Nevado with some marginal flat light and high wind days was a little too much to deal with. With more sunny days, my opinion might be totally different.
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Valle Nevado 8/24-9/2

Postby DICKC » Sat Aug 09, 2003 4:35 pm

I skied Valle Nevado about eight years ago. I stayed in the "expensive" hotel, which was a better choice, I think. Facilities were wonderful and staff was pleasant, although they didn't speak much English. So I put my marginal Spanish to the test. <BR> <BR>There are five restaurants at VN, the best being the French. These restaurants are good, but not great. I wouldn't go to VN just for the cuisine. <BR> <BR>The skiing was disappointing. Snow conditions were pretty good, but the terrain is rather strange. I wondered why they put up a multi-million dollar resort on such mediocre terrain. <BR> <BR>I did venture over the El Colorado and La Parva, both accessible on skis from VN. There's a t-bar on the back side of EC that's accessible from a VN ski run. I went to LP by taking the high t-bar on the VN side and walking about 50 yards along the ridge to a slope that's served by a LP lift. Be aware that there is a separate charge to ride either the EC or LP lifts. <BR> <BR>EC is basically a cone-shaped intermediate hill. Its fall-line skiing gets boring after a few runs. It's sort of like Disneyland. <BR> <BR>I found that by far the best skiing of the bunch was at LP. It has some nice, long cruising runs, with bends that make it quite interesting and fun. There's also a charming, cozy sit-down restaurant at the bottom of the hill.
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