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Offseason Travel - Summer Road Trip. Would anyone consider chasing Winter to South America? 8,500 miles of Offseason Adventure?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

A conversation started recently among a group of us in Park City. As Winter tips past the halfway point, the usual talk about the shoulder season and subsequent summer has begun. Some people will rest, some travel, some move for different work. We started to toss around a lot of big ideas, stupid ideas and impossible ideas. One idea, however, kept coming back up.

 

What about a road trip to the Andes? Is it possible? Worthwhile? It seems to capture all the elements of late winter talk about post-season. The distance is crazy, the challenges absurd and the effort almost impossible.

 

After an initial shoot-down, we actually started looking at the facts. 

 

1. It is possible. 

 

Many people drive to Panama. Many people also ship their vehicle across the Darien Gap. Once in South America, it's simply a matter of driving to Argentina or Chile.

 

2. Mexico Border to Bariloche - 8,500 miles. Expensive?

 

The Mongol Rally (London to Mongolia) is 10,000 miles. It's completed in 3-5 weeks by normal people in shit cars.

 

Vehicle Shipping from Panama to Colombia - $1,500

Average 12 miles to the gallon - 708 Gallons. At an average of $3.50 a gallon - $2,479

Vehicle Insurance for Mexico, Central America and South America - $1,000

Random border fees & Toll Roads - $1,000

Oil Changes, Flat Tires, Repairs - $2,000

Shipping vehicle back from Chile - $2,000

 

Total vehicle cost, not counting food & lodging & beer - Just under $10,000

 

Divided by 5 people, that's not too bad - $2,000 per person to get to South America. A one-way flight from LAX to Bariloche on July 1 lists today on Kayak for $1,600 to $3,900.

 

3. Why drive instead of fly?

 

It would be an adventure. The chance to see a dozen countries, different cultures and all kinds of natural beauty. Obviously it isn't something for everyone. Plenty of people are too scared of the unknown outside our borders to seriously consider this. However, earning your way to ski the southern hemisphere would give a certain touch to a summer spent skiing than a simple flight. Anyone that can afford a ticket can fly. Besides, it would be nice to have your own car to hit all the good mountains and chase the snow. 

 

Ultimately, we decided it would take about $5,000 each to get there in under 2 months.

 

Anyone else crazy enough to think this might actually be a good idea?

post #2 of 8

I like lengthy ski road trips - but that is a bit over the top. Driven in Central America as far south as Panama and find it usually takes at 3x longer than you expect. Peru and Ecuador last I saw were slower. Don't know about driving Chile. Would be a fun trip however wouldn't do it just for the skiing. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

How long do you think it would take to get from the Mexican border to Panama? How long did it take you?

 

It is a crazy distance, and would take a while. But it would fit perfectly between the snow melting in the US and the snow getting good in Argentina/Chile. To spend some time in tropical areas on the way would be a nice break from the cold.

post #4 of 8

Time isn't your biggest issue. I'd be more concerned about safety. There was a big thread about this over on TGR. I don't remember all the details, but the gist was a couple got attacked, robbed and left stranded in South America. I'd recommend reading it before committing to a trip like this. Just found it: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/257036-Advice-vibes-need-for-some-Jackson-WY-locals-who-are-in-trouble

 

I'm not really a worst case scenario kind of planner, but theft, kidnapping, murder ... traveling through Central/South America just seems too risky at this time. Couple that with how expensive gas is and road-tripping just doesn't seem worth it compared to flying. 

 

At the very least, do your homework; incidents like those don't seem as rare as they should.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

That doesn't sound too good! That's the kind of insight we are looking for. Def. worth taking into consideration.

post #6 of 8

I guess that kind of trip just doesn't appeal to me.  The grand adventure always sounds nice in theory but there are a lot of negatives to heading south.  A lot that could go wrong, safety being the main concern.  There have been travel advisories for US citizens heading south.  I wouldn't want to be beheaded by the cartel for being a gringo in the wrong neighborhood.

 

Couple of suggestions maybe, road trip around NZ?  Small islands to cruise so distance isn't too far and tons of cool ski areas.  Road trip to Mt. Hood and then up to Canada and follow the snow melt and ski the glaciers.   Both of those are summer trips I hope to make someday.

 

For people that do ski S. America I've heard the best experiences are through ski clubs that go down there regularly and have guides and everything planned out in advance.  It is tough to get equipment and other basic stuff so having people that know the area, the language, and the culture is a must.

post #7 of 8

What if you flew to one of the "safer" countries like Argentina or Chile, buy a car and tour that way.  Sell the car when you're done.  Not sure how the $$$$ works out, but the time saved would equal a lot more skiing and barring an on-mountain mishap, you'll come home in one piece.

post #8 of 8

 Have you found this site? Lots of stories from people who have made the trek through Central and South America, although I don't think I've seen any from folks who made the trip to ski!

 

http://www.expeditionportal.com/

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Offseason Travel - Summer Road Trip. Would anyone consider chasing Winter to South America? 8,500 miles of Offseason Adventure?