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Las Lenas is going OFF!!!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have only been here a couple of days so far, but this place is incredible!

Huge amounts of snow, short liftlines, the whole place open, and the skiing is more challenging than almost anything I have ever skied in the USA. Imagine- warmup runs on pitches measuring better than 45 degrees! And off the top, there are open pitches and couloirs which exceed 55 degrees!

I'm staying at the Piscis Hotel, which while not over the top of luxury, is way more than comfortable! The food is great (included with the rooms), the service has been super, and lift tix are included with the room as well!

I strongly recommend the local wines from Mendoza. The easily compare with anything Napa produces!

Over the next few days we will be going cat skiing off piste, and on Thursday we will be going heli-skiing, provided the weather continues to cooperate.

They groom more of the mtn than I thought they would, but there is NO shortage of ungroomed, awesome cold snow!

Pics will follow soon, and more reprts during the coming week!

Regards, Ric
post #2 of 24
So, ummmm, Ric?.....

I take it the healing process is pretty much complete?

It's great to hear you're having an "Epic" time. Keep the reports coming.

Wish I was there.
post #3 of 24
Nice timing of this trip. Marte was open only 7.5 out of the first 50 days of this season. It derailed from 3 towers in a storm around July 7 and reopened just recently.

There were several threads on TGR expressing frustration with the slow repair process. It's good to hear from someone realizing the full potential of Las Lenas. I had just one day like that on my trip last September.
post #4 of 24
Keep em coming snopro. It sounds fantastic!
post #5 of 24

We want pics!!!!!
post #6 of 24
Awesome, VSP! I'm glad your re-entry is so great. ...and I can't wait to see the pics... Post 'em up, man!
post #7 of 24
If I don't miss my guess, Vail SnoPro is "some guy from vail" referred to by mtnbikerskierchick in this TGR thread. And she scooped you with pics.
Xpost TGR:
Originally Posted by mtnbikerskierchick
’d been skiing with this guy Nick from the UK and also with an Argentine local named Lolly. When we arrived to the bottom of Urano after our second Volcano run, the lift operator tells Lolly that the Marte is opening at 1 pm. That’s right, the Marte- which has been closed for over a month- is opening… in about a half an hour!!!! Begin the mad rush to the Marte!

There I met up with a guy from Vail and another guy from Utah who’s a freelance ski writer. We wanted to ski this, which you can see from the Neptuno chair on the way to the Marte. I don’t know what the name of the area is, and either did they…. The Marte hasn’t been open, so for many, this was all new! There is an extreme lack of Beta on the Marte area right now b/c it hasn’t been open. If you know the name of what we skied, do tell

A look at our line

Sure hope it was you Ric.
post #8 of 24
kayak.com: $947 rt Denver to Buenos Aires on Continental. Fri, Aug 11 - Fri Aug 18.

That doesn't seem to bad of a price, especially considering it's only 3 days out. Whew... almost tempting.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Nope, not me! But I have met quite a few people from CO here, and alot of other American tourists from all over!

I have also met the owners of a couple of the wineries from Mendoza, and have been drinking copious quantities of the grape.

The weather the past couple of days has sucked!... Though it's been snowing, or blowing snow, the vis has been minimal and very little of the mtn has been open since Tuesday morning. The vis has improved this morning, to about 400 yds. It's snowing heavily, but the wind has diminished significantly.

Today, the lower pomas and a few of the lower chairs are operating. I leave tomorrow afternoon, so I'm still hoping for one more day of skiing the upper mtn.

There are definitely some bright points about this place, other than the skiing.... Lots of parties (most begin at midnight), the discos (one opens at 10, closes at 2; the other opens at midnight, closes at 5am), the Piscis Hotel has a Casino on the ground floor if you like Roulette, Blackjack, Slots, Electronic Poker, and a few other card games I didn't recognize.

Every night in our hotel, there is a wine tasting, and the food here is superb! Getting around the village is a short walk to just about any other hotel.

I'll probably put up a final report when I get home, along with some pics.

All in all, even with the poor weather, this place rocks! I will be coming back here again!

by the way' the greatest piece of advice I have for anyone planning on coming here......BRING FAT SKIS! There are none for rent, and this place exemplifies what they are for!

post #10 of 24

Waiting for storm cycle to end and then to go do it again!

Originally Posted by Cirquerider
If I don't miss my guess, Vail SnoPro is "some guy from vail" referred to by mtnbikerskierchick in this TGR thread. And she scooped you with pics.
Xpost TGR:

Sure hope it was you Ric.
Great to have you here Ric!

One of my favorite lines for more than 20 years and to get first tracks is even better! What a great day that was El Collar, Eduardo's and Sin Salida (carne crudo) all first. What a great big mountain experience now just waiting out the current storm cycle so I can get these and other lines again. gw
post #11 of 24
gwvll, nice first post! Hope you'll help keep the TR updated.
post #12 of 24
Originally Posted by vail snopro

by the way' the greatest piece of advice I have for anyone planning on coming here......BRING FAT SKIS! There are none for rent, and this place exemplifies what they are for!

Another option for fat skis, and a tip. Bring some xtra cash with you....many of the gringo and euro skiers down there you see are pro freeskiers, semi-pro, big mountain competitors with product hookups etc and many of them actually sell off their skis just before the return trip home. so keep your eyes and ears out!
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

It's Still Snowing!

It snowed most of the day yesterday, with most of the lower pomas and a few of the lower chairlifts operating... then it really started dumping about 4pm. That heavy snowfall continued through the night, and it is still snowing lightly.

I estimate that we have received about 18" here at the base area since yesterday afternoon. Reports from Gregg (the skier services mgr) is that since Tuesday, they have received almost 3 M of snow on the upper mtn. But we haven't been able to see it at all.

Whoever is around when MARTE's reopens will have the time of their lives! It is said that the weather becomes more consistent and the winds drop off in mid- September.... Maybe it's worth coming back again next month!!!

Once again, I will post pics upon my return to the States in the next couple of days.

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

Final thoughts.....

I returned home to Denver about noon yesterday, and since have been sleeping, doing huge amounts of laundry, and paying bills. The leg did well with some fatigue, but no real aching. It is rather stiff this morning, but I attribute that more to sitting on planes for 17 hrs during a 24 hr period, not the skiing. But most importantly is the confidence it has given me that I will have a decent level of performance and comfort this coming season, until they remove the hardware in the spring.

The last couple of days we were there were windy, foggy, snowy, with limited lifts operating. Plan on skiing everyday, regardless of the weather, or you might find yourself skiing very little during your visit. And certainly take advantage of any day the sun is out, or the wind is not blowing. They are gifts!

As we drove away from Las Lenas, it was still snowing and the wind was picking up. Deja Vu! Overall, during our visit (7 days), we got about 3-4 feet at the base, and a reported 10 feet plus at the top. So anybody who is lucky enough to be there when Marte's reopens is going to be in for some incredibly SICK skiing! The snow pack seemed to be fairly stable, as the blasting (both howitzer and hand charges) seemed to encourage little movement.

I hear that mid-Sept is when the winds subside, and the snow begins turning to corn. So if anyone is planning a trip, consider that.

There are several different options for accom in Las Lenas, but almost all of it is hotels. The only difference is what standard of hotel you want.

The Piscis is arguably the upper tier (just over $300 per night, including all meals (very GOOD food, excellent service) and lift tix), with what the locals believe also has the best restaurant in the village. It also has a small casino on the ground floor, a secondary restaurant specializing in Italian food, a small workout area, (treadmill, a few dumbells, etc), and a small ski shop. But I caution you- take what you need! Ski gear, goggles, etc are quite expensive there, and should you damage your skis, they are very limited in the nature of what repairs can be effected. And as I stated earlier- bring fat skis! I would suggest you bring 2 pair--- an all-mtn ski (70+), and a full fat (95+).

The other hotels all are of a reasonable standard, and are priced accordingly. I believe they also include meals and lift tix.

Probably the most difficult part of the whole deal is getting from BA to Las Lenas (about 600 miles). There are very limited flights from BA to Malague, followed by a +/- 1 hr van ride to the ski area. The primary flight is called a "charter", but it seems to run on a regular schedule, albeit once a week. If you miss it, you might be stuck catching a bus for a 12 hr ride. Another option, if you are traveling with a fair number of people, or can gather a group together, is to charter your own aircraft to Malague. It runs about $6000 each way, but can carry 16-18 passengers plus all the gear. It is a little more expensive than the charter, but it keeps you from missing a couple of days of an expensive vacation. One note- bring really good earplugs or noise cancelling headsets! Once you are in Malague, engaging a van to get you up the hill is pretty easy!

I would also suggest making an allowance for staying in BA either a couple of days when you arrive, or when departing. It has excellent restaurants, phenomenal shopping, and some very cool cultural sites. To go all that way and not spend a little time in BA is to short change your trip!

I will attempt to put up a few pics later today, or ASAP. I promise, this place is unbelievable!
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

A few thanks go to.....

I need to make sure that I thank a few people that made this trip so incredible!

Of course, to begin with, I must thank my clients who have waited patiently for me to heal enough to go on this trip with them!

On the ground in Las Lenas-

Pedro, our guide... he and I work together in Vail/ Beaver Creek, and he really helped us get around the mtn.

Claudio, the supervisor of the mtn guides. His assistance throughout the visit was immensely helpful.

Gregg, (now known on epic as "gwvll"), for his assistance , guidance , and advice throughout the entire planning proccess over the past 2 years. ( I hope you enjoy the tortillas and hot salsa, bud!)

All the locals and employees of the hotels and ski area! They are really friendly, helpful, and provide awesome service!

If you consider yourself a serious skier, you owe it to yourself to plan a trip to Las Lenas. Pay homage to whatever snow gods you admire, for good weather and snow, and I promise it'll be an experience you'll never forget!

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

Pics from Las Lenas , Aug 8th + 9th, 2006

Here are a few pics of the mtn and such from around Las Lenas.

The view from my hotel room window... Sucks, huh???

The view back towards the hotel, with the shopping Pyramid ...

Here's a little ski porn for you....

The view across the valley...

It almost seems like you are looking down between your feet...

These are just a few of the scenes. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did experiencing them!

Do yourself a favor... start planning your trip today!
post #17 of 24
Looks great! Good to hear that you're back on the boards.
post #18 of 24
I want a turn by turn description of this decent!

post #19 of 24
i skied las lenas for 2 weeks a few days ago. found a really cheap way of going about it. their is a town less than an hr away from las lenas called marlague, may be spelled worng, you can get a hotel for about 7 or 8 usd a night. the town offeres 50 percent off lift tickets so tickets are in the low season 45 pesos insead of 90 and in the high season about 60 pesos rather than 120. their is a daily transport from marlague either from your hotel, about 25 pesos, or the bus from town is 15 pesos.

i found it a better way and much cheaper to ski las lenas
post #20 of 24

Awesome looking blower snow!!

ahh ... that's just all a marketing myth it doesn't exist (see other thread
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Tyler James-
You are correct- there are much cheaper ways to ski LL... But from what my buddy Gregg tells me, during the snowy part of the season, the road closes with great regularity. Malargue is a cool little town, a farming town actually. It reminded me of a larger version of Methven at Mt Hutt, NZ.

The road is not the same degree of life threatening that the Mt Hutt road is, but apparently the blowing snow drifts pretty badly.

By the way- what were the snow conditions and weather like while you were there?
post #22 of 24
I think your way would be my way, Tylerjames! Thanks for that info.

I worked with a chap from that area last US season, and his stories were highly er, motivating (especially after the almost non-Australian season we've just had, I've not had skis on since late April in the US).
post #23 of 24
condititions were amazing. marta lift was closed for 2 or 3 days because of high winds. had a few good good snow falls that brought about a foot and half to wast deep pow out of bounds. the snow was amazing light and dry full face shot even on the second and third day after the storm with fresh lines to be had.
the only problem i found with las leñas was the lifts they were so slow, it took maybe a good half hr to get to the top of marte where the peak is and thats if you take the quad and ski down the step face to skip the first lift. then you have to take another lift to get to the start of marte. i was talking with someone on the mountain they were saying their have been no improvments or new additions since las leñas opened in 1984.
but i have no real complaints the mountain was amazing and loads of fun at 13 dollars a lift ticket you can´t beat it.
as for the roads closing their are a few companies in marlague that have full on all terain jeeps for transport, karen´s expeditions i think, they are said to go up in any conditions. and for the most part outside of las leñas they dont really get much constant snow fall.
i have some pictures i´m going to try and load up in the next few days, tomarrow i´m off to bariloche to check out patagonia skiing.
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the update!

WOW! Sounds like you are hitting it well! It is an amzing place, eh?

Gregg was telling me that the new owner is about to invest 120 million dollars in upgrading the lift system, adding 5 new cats to their fleet, and building new hotels.
Currently the max capacity is about 3500 per day, and their goal is to expand that to 10K.

If that happens, you can surely bet that the lift tix prices will escalate as well..... Darn... I'd hate to have to pay $25 p/day to ski that mtn!

Have a great time in Bariloche, and look up Sergio Jaeger if you need a guide... He is the owner/ director of one of the ski schools there. He is a good friend of mine, and works here in Vail during the northern season.
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