The 2011 ski season in South America is long gone, and the snow privation is already making me depressed.
So I decided to put up this late TR about a trip to Valle Nevado - Chile, last August.
Aerial view of The Andes
2011 was not a great snow year for places like Valle Nevado, Portillo and Las Lenas, the season had a very slow start and things started to improve only around the last week of July.
Luckily August (IMO the best month for SA) brought several storms and they were able to open the whole mountain.
runs from "Andes Express"
We got about 3 feet of very dry snow while there, and although it looks like great coverage, out of the groomed runs it was still very thin, I hit several rocks and damaged my bases pretty bad...
on top of "Eclipse"
Valle Nevado is a big resort, specially when combined with La Parva and El Colorado. Although it is not full of very steep terrain, you can find some nice stuff from Andes Express, Tres Puntas and Valle del Inca lifts. Be prepared to run surface lifts though.
bottom of "Eclipse"
As always, weekdays were never crowded, actually when the mountain is in full swing it's really rare to wait in lines in August.
We did several laps all over the powder runs without any competition.
snow bellow "Embalse" was SWEET!
There is no tree skiing in this part of SA, so during the storms visibility is always a major issue. Even flat light is frequently a concern in these resorts...
Snow volatility is high, some seasons are awesome, others not really... Storms usually are huge but far apart. It's not unusual to have dry spells with several weeks of blue skies.
You ski between 9500-12000ft, and the sun is pretty strong, in late August the northern exposed terrain is already quickly affected by the sun.
A short POV video with some fresh turns:
It's a relatively flat mountain, but the 180 wide angle POV camera always makes it looks even flatter