Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chilean Winter 2012

Rundown:  Fun in the winter wonderland of Chile.  When's the last time you were skiing in July?

Location:  The Andes mountains around Santiago.

Not a great snow year in Chile, but one can't complain when skiing for free!  

Spent this season in La Parva.  Every Saturday we bring ~60 kiddos up to the ski hill, making sure they go up and return with all their limbs and gear, find their instructors, and have a good time.  

We are on point when if they crash and burn which earned one of my buddies a helicopter ride down to the hospital with a damaged teen.  Not very common though.

Days we aren't with the kiddos we have free skiing!  Despite the wanting base there was still plenty of off piste to be had this season.  

Only beat up my new randonnee skis a little bit.  Thank you P-tex.


Due to the early sunsets this time of year, and the cold, we've been climbing inside!  Not my favorite, but has been great for my endurance and technique.  Not that it matters, I suppose.  I still climb like a jerk when I'm on the real thing...

I did, however, make it a couple of times to the roof and stalactite.  Pretty fun.  Cost me a few long whippers though when I was getting used to the route.

We did get outside a few times to climb on nice days.  We were pretty excited to use our practice from the gym.  The cactus was pretty excited to see use too.

Hard to get good climbing shots when there are only two of you and both need as many hands as possible.  We make due.


Got my new (to me) randonnee skis fired up for a day backcountry on Volcan San Jose in the Cajon de Maipo with Jean the Frenchman, Oscar the Chileno, and Sergio the Mejicana.  Here's a sneak peek...

Got up WAY early for a Sunay... 3AM, piled into my buddy Sergio's Mahindra and drove two hours into the Cajon de Maipo.  Geared up and left the truck before the moon set over the mountains.

Crossed a snow field undercut by a river.  The popping and groaning of the snowpack covering the river could be heard.  I was glad to be on skis.

Started our climb and just kept going up and up.  My new climbing skins worked great!  We had a gorgeous day as well!

Up and up and up and up.  Climbed for six hours, sometimes together, sometimes alone, taking breaks here and there.

Once the snow started getting hard packed it wasn't worth skinning up to ski down.  We paused, had a bite to eat, then stripped the skins off of the bottom of the skis.  Locked the boots in and down we skied.

So fun to be in the backcountry, making fresh tracks in deep, undisturbed powder.  We wore beacons and carried shovels and avalanche probes just in case.  We paused here and there to regroup and marvel at the skiing.

So here's the full film... edited by Oscar.  If it doesn't come up, try the link:

And that's the ballgame.  The adventures left me as needy for more as these neighbor dogs are for affection....

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