Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finally powder in Chile!


We headed straight to the border and were the first guys out. After the usual south american efficiency at the customs, we were finally good to go and our way to Chile. There was only 14km between us and the customs. It has snowed overnight, but the road was nicely cleared….

Until we got to a crossroad. The machinery didn’t plowed the road that was goin to Chile.

There was one track that was plowing through about a foot of snow. We figured, it would get better, so I jumped on the gas and went for it!

My enthousiasm last for 10meters… until we got stuck.
That was the second time we got stuck in two days.

Damn we should have crossed the night before instead of going for a steak and wine!

About 30 minutes later, the grader showed up and and perfectly cleared the road!
We were pretty excited about still being on target for skiing that day!

We followed the machines…. Until the official international border. When we got to the line separating Chile and Argentina, the machinery turned back. Guess what?! Yep the road wasn’t cleared on the Chilean side.
We parked the van and waited an hour, then two. After drinking the last beer we had, I went for a nap

Amelie eventually wakes me up as a 4x4 was making his way up from the Chilean side. They explained us their machinery was broken and they kept going to go explained the situation to the border patrol in Argentina.

When they eventually came back Amelie arranges that we would followed them.
That was quite a challenge to stay in their tracks as the van was getting jacked up by the snow but as we were going down, there was less and less snow. We finally got to the customs 5 hours after we left the Argentinean customs!

Our fun didn’t end up there! The guy from the immigration wasn’t working as he has left for personal reason. He came back an hour and a half later…

After trying to cross for 3 days, we were FINALLY in Chile!

With more snow on the forecast, we headed straight to  Nevados de Chillan in Las Trancas that apparently has the best snow of Chile.

The storm was accompanied by some harsh wind that kept the lifts closed. We tried to hike our way up but were also forced down due to the high wind.
We quit and got soaked in one of the numerous commercial termas with Tree, my friend from Canada. One thing led to another and we eventually ended up in the house of the owner of the Snowpub, the main bar in Las Trancas. The storm was forecasted to get stronger the following day, so we didn’t fell bad to enjoy the party with the chileans until almost dawn.
When we eventually woke up, we head to the hill just to make sure it was close…. And it wasn’t!

In a sense of emergency that we didn’t really feel during this trip, we got dressed and went to the Tata lift. We weren’t able to see much and by looking at the tracks on the hill, we didn’t missed much on the powder. It kinda looked like the lift just opened.

We skied non stop through some nice silky snow.
We went to bed early since they were calling for more snow overnight then a clear sky with no wind.

The perfect day that we were hoping for, happened. As we woke up, the sun was shinning, there wasn’t any wind and the whole mountain was plastered with snow.
We followed the good skiers around the mountain.
I do have to say that it was quite a great day of skiing!!!
Fort the first time of the season, all the lifts were running, the snow was nice, it wasn’t cold or warm, there was plenty of terrain to ski, so we were able to get great turns after great turns.
It is quite great to be able not only to enjoy only a few runs in the morning but to be able to get great runs from the beginning to the end of the day.
When we eventually stops skiing after more than 8 hours of non-stop skiing!
                            
When we left the resort to drive back towards Santiago, we left one of the best day of skiing I’ve had all summer and one of the great day you remember for a long time.
We stopped overnight in a Copec station. Those stations are the perfect stop for travellers. With 1$ super clean shower and state of the art station, they are a pretty reliable stop.

The sound of broken glass waked us up in the middle of our sleep. It sounds like people were throwing beer bottle at each other. Then we heard guys shouting, tires squealing and a loud deep sound. We heard the same thing 2 or 3 times as we were waiting for it to ends in our sleeping bags, Amelie said that we should just leave. I crawled to the front of the van to peek through the small opening of the window to see what was happening.

Outside was a masked man walking nervously and talking on the cellphone. It didn’t took me long to figured out that they were there to rob the store.
Hopefully, the finally succeed and left after the front panel of the ATM slammed our van.
We were kinda relief that nothing worse happened!

It was about 6AM (which is about 3AM for North America since they started their day pretty late!) and there was no way we would be able to get back to sleep! We left and started driving towards the ski station El Colorado.

After what was probably my worst ever traffic experience, we finally got to El Colorado around noon after 6+hours to cover about 100km!!!
Valle Nevado, El Colorado, Farellones and La Parva are located (usually) 45minutes from Santiago and next to each others.
The terrain is more extensive than what it looks at the first sight. We were both a bit tired from the previous extensive long day of skiing and the short night of sleep but since the conditions were pretty nice, we skied almost non-stop.
The cover was quite thin as we both hit rocks and the terrain is not super steep, but obviously, people are not too eager about the powder since there was plenty left!
After witnessing a great sunset, we drove down to check out the IF3 presentation The Eye of the Condor that was happening in Santiago. That competition consists of putting on the best video in a week.
                            
It was quite impressive to see what those guys were capable in such a short period of time! No wonder why annual ski movies company presents such amazing images!
The following day was pretty standard with the last minute shopping and packing of our stuff. Pablo from Wicked Camper even kindly dropped us at the airport!!
Amelie and I both had to agree. Even if we didn’t ski that much powder, it was quite a great trip! I really loved it down there and I’m really looking forward to go back!
But before next summer, lets come winter!
Cheers,
evans

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