Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 12:08 am
El Colorado and some turns at La Parva
Different day with the same morning routine. The only difference was that I needed to get all my gear out of the room. Unfortunately it’s pretty hard to find stuff when the roommates from the lower bunk has scattered her stuff next to the bed and all over my own stuff. Had to sort through her pants, shirt and bra to find a missing sock.
The Bellavista Camp transportation to the ski areas was with a bus today, not a van. I guess that the demand is greater on Fridays and weekends. Another difference was the delays in leaving Santiago. It wasn’t until 8:30am that people were done renting skis and clothes and we were ready to leave. The next delay was at the “mandatory” stop at the convenience store. Driver mentioned 5-10 minutes, unfortunately some people are never in a hurry. To make matters worse, once back on the road and climbing up to the mountains, traffic was backuped because a tracker-trailer. Fortunately the driver was aggressive and we eventually were able to takeover the twenty cars and the van in-front of us.
Everyone on the bus were going to Valle Nevado, except for myself. The driver had told me in Santiago, or tried to tell me that he was going to dropped me off in Farellones instead of El Colorado and continue on to Valle Nevado. I wasn’t going to frustrate passengers on the bus by having to wait after me, so I was getting ready and putting my boots in the last few shape curve on that road. Once the bus stopped, I was ready got my skis and left everything in the bus. See here you at 5:30!!! I don’t think the driver was 100% sure I understood.
Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 12:41 am
Farellones is a junction in the road and the non-resort place to stay when you don’t want to stay in the resorts of Valle Nevado, El Colorado or La Parva. Farrellones has a tiny hill with lifts that is connected to the greater El Colorado about 300 meters higher. El Colorado is a volcanic cone, from the base on the West Face (ski area’s main side), the runs get steeper the higher you get. The bottom half is the face which is about 200m is served by a few lifts and is pretty much green land (easy runs). The top 300m are red runs (intermediate) with a very regular slope and was very popular for different race camps. Terrain doesn’t really change regardless which line you choose on the West Face, what else I can say, it’s a cone. After a few runs on hard frozen granular next the different courses, I moved on to the steeper East Face. Definitely more Springish surfaces, although still frozen for the first few runs. After that I started looking at the other face. There are some nice runs plus a nice face of ungroomed terrain further down along the Condor chair, unfortunately that lift wasn’t running.
Moved to Cono Este side of the mountain. This side of the cone has steeper runs in bounds; the most interesting stuff would be lower out-of-bounds and skiing toward the road to Valle Nevado. It was not going to happen today for myself; I was skiing solo and had the clock in mind. After one run on the steeper corn side of Cono Este. It was close to noon as I took back the t-bar to the top, I decided that I’d better look into skiing toward La Parva before the 2pm rendez-vous time I had set with Andy. I saw a group of skiers, one of them had BRO skis, I said to myself that they were probably Americans and could maybe confirm the way to get to La Parva. I was able to talk to one of them, but he wasn’t sure. The connection between El Colorado and La Parva isn’t marked and easy like the ones from Valle Nevado. Fortunately, someone was able to confirm the connection and inform me that they wasn’t any terrain traps.
The connection in through a fairly unmarked open and relatively flat traverse behind at the base of the other side of the Cone, terrain that had a few knolls or ridge and small gully (creek bed). Snow coverage was okay, but the base wasn’t very far in some places. I had to remove the ski for cross a snowless ridge then look to make sure I would connect with the La Parva.
At the bottom of La Parva lift, I had to try to figure out if they had many combo lift ticket with El Colorado or sold half days or something. This was harder to do when the lady at the ticket booth only understood Spanish and my Spanish wasn’t good enough in order. Ended up having to buy another day ticket for La Parva.
It was already 12:30 and I had 90 minutes to get back at the bottom of Cono Este t-bar for the rendez-vous spot I had set with Andy. Did a quick look at the map to figure out what I could do? I took 5 lifts and skied 300 meters vertical to reach the place where I could crossover. This took me 90 minutes. Conditions were great corn, mountain definitely seems to have a better variety than El Colorado, unfortunately I didn’t have much time to explore.
At 13:15, I was staring at where I wanted to go. I wasn’t sure how to get there, eventually crossover into Valle Nevado trail network always stayed on skiers’ right all the way skied the 600m vertical to the bottom of Cono Este without requiring another lift and going a long traverse. This connection was easy than anticipated and arrived 30 minutes ahead of time. Decided to eat my lunch here and wait to see if Andy would show up.
Posted : Sun May 18, 2008 1:12 am
After 30 minutes, it was 2pm and Andy wasn’t there. I decided to ski a few runs on this lift, which was okay because this was the best part of the mountain, the face was nice and corny Someone had the slide for life by falling off the very steep top of the T-bar, this girl really scared herself and slide a long way.
After 2:30 I headed toward the next rendez-vous spot #2 which was a nice on mountain restaurant like the ones that can be found in the Alps (and the Andes apparently). Meet Andy and Brendan just before 3pm meeting time. They just started skiing at 2:30. I was actually amazed that they made it, having just arrived at the airport a few hours earlier. Headed back to Cono Este and ski the steeps with Andy and Brendan. After a few run, we went back to that same restaurant for a refueling break. We finished off on the front face and skied through the terrain park for our last run toward the car.
The adventure is moving further South, but that is going to be another day. 8)
Riding the Cono Este T-bar (photo by Brendan/Andy).
Greasy Chuevos with the British Ski Club. (photo by Andy)
Pat and Andy before one of the last run of August. (photo by Andy)
Posted : Mon May 19, 2008 3:26 am
Agosto 31 – Après-ski :
El Colorado to ???
So I was finally able to tag up with Andy and Brendan at El Colorado, so I didn’t need take the bus back down to Santiago and THEN hoped that they could find my Hostal and rendez-vous spot #3 in Downtown Santiago.
Back at Andy’s car, I started wondering how the hell we could fit everything in this rental for our voyage. The car was already packed with 5 pairs of skis and their gear. Mine was still in the Hostel down in Santiago. After struggling to fit on the backseat with my ski boots on, the car wouldn’t start. #-o The battery was dead and we needed to get to Farrellones to recuperate my things like my shoes that I left on the bus. The pickup time was 5:30, it was currently something like 5:27. [-o< [-o< We pushed the car back on the road and down. Once it started rolling faster in neutral we jumped in, eventually the car started \:D/ and we got at the Farrellones at the same time as the bus.
Once I got my stuff from the bus and took off my ski boots, we were all set. The final destination was approximately 500km (300 miles) away in Las Trancas, however I wasn’t sure how far we would get. Andy wanted to drive as long as he could. Andy and Brendan had just arrived after an overnight flight from Canada and skied a few hours plus we needed to do something about this car. There was no way we could drive over one thousand miles in our current setup. [-X I had 5 pairs of skis within inches from my face, not a comfortable and safe way to see South America, especially on crazy mountain roads. Lets just say that I almost got a shave from the skis. There was discussion of our car options during this descent. Instead of going back to the airport and getting a larger rental car, Andy mentioned that we could probably fixed something up.
After stopping at a few ski shops in Santiago, we finally headed for this Mall. The biggest sport mall I had even seen. Only sport stores in the size of a suburban mall. This is what I found on the internet about this mall:
Canadian Government Source for Mall info (dead link)
Chile's first mall exclusively devoted to selling sporting goods will open next September 2004. The investment, US$26 million, is 100% Chilean. Is one of the largest department stores in Chile. The mall will be located in Avenida Las Condes and Fernandez Concha, a 18,000 square meter ground.This shopping center will include 62 stores in the sporting goods industry as well as clothing and equipment related to each sporting area. Two levels of stores, a food court, two levels of parking for 750 cars, an artificial lagoon surrounded by 7 formal restaurants, a fitness center, a spa, a sports health center, an indoor pool, a shooting polygon, and an area of multipurpose courts are projected for this sports mall. Among the companies contracted to be in the mall are Bata with New Balance, Sparta and Athletes World. This is a new business format for Chile, but according to analysts this is an answer to the market needs. Pablo Reszczynski, General Manager of this project, says “Mall Sport was born mainly from the idea of assembling in only one place sporting goods stores currently all over Santiago. We have noticed that the big channels of distribution and wholesale of sporting goods are not specialized.”
Let me just say that we were all impressed. As we walked all over the place looking for God knows what?. We eventually bought some rope in a boating store and a yoga mat in order to built a Chilean roof rack. Brendan was initially looking for noodles, the type of noodles that go with swimming, but couldn’t find any, so he bought a yoga mat instead. Back in the underground parking, we started building our roof rack. Andy and Brendan are kayakers, so they were pretty confident that this would work and hold, even at 130kmh. [-o<
Once everything was set up, we headed downtown, got the rest of my gear at the Hostal downtown and proceeded to fill every cubic feet still available in the car. It was pretty late when we left Santiago, maybe 9pm. After eating on the road, we headed off the Trans American Highway at midnight looking for a place to sleep. We weren’t going to make it to Las Trancas or Chillàn for that matter. We spotted Hostal sign on the side of the road, it looked like an individual home. It was midnight and we found a place to sleep in Talca. This was roughly half way to Las Trancas.
Next day we ski in Termas.\:D/\:D/\:D/
PS. I'll have limited access to my home computer in this coming week, so you'll have to wait (not as long as last time …I hope) before the next Chapter.
Pat and Andy getting the skis organized for the skirack in the underground garage of the Mega Sportmall in Santiago. (Photo by Brendan)
Agosto 31 – El Colorado
Post originally started on Sun May 18, 2008 12:08 am on firsttracksonline