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Portillo Trip - Lisamarie & MarkXS

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
We posted some stuff in EastcoastsLoPes' thread, but here's a few more pix and thoughts on the trip.

Wow - what a great week! Major props to Portillo for inviting Lisa to present and letting me tag along.

Lisa just wrapping up one of her morning on-snow sessions down by ski school lineup - chatting with one of her students after the session:


Here's Lisa getting ready to head down Juncalillo (the long run that goes over the tunnels of a couple of the tight switchbacks on the highway up to the resort):


Nothing like Snow In August, and I don't mean the book!

View from the lift riding back up over the switchbacks (there are 29 of them on the way up to the hotel, luckily not that many on the lift ride):


Hanging out with the avy dogs - note the oldschool EpicSki bumpersticker on her helmet:


Looking down to the Hotel Portillo:


Hermann Maier presenting awards to the Challenge Aspen kids (sorry for the underexposure but I didn't want to be one of the jerks firing off flashes):


LM with some of her apres-ski stretch boys:


More with da boyz, and that's der Herminator stretching against the wall. Ask Lisa about when she took away Hermann's balls.:


Looking out over Inca Lake from the Hotel:


4 members of the Austrian Ski Team heading up the Roca Jack va et vient slingshot lift:



The sun setting behind Roca Jack:


I'm just happy to be here:


And now we're back in Springtime in Santiago today, where Lisa was watching the crazy dog-feeder lady feeding the army of stray pooches outside the Presidential Palace (La Moneda):

post #2 of 21
Absolutely tremendous! Pack me in a bag next year?



Yeah, I'm jealous, but grateful with you that you had such a tremendous time...
post #3 of 21
Did you go skiing with Will Ferrell?
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well we're back. 30 hours travel hotel door in Santiago to home in Dillon CO given the weird-but-free routing from United miles. Hint: a 6 hour layover in Sao Paolo airport is not fun. Especially if you don't have a Brazilian visa and thus are stuck in the dingy international airside transit section of the airport, waiting for the United Red Carpet Club to open when they finally decide to show up.

If anybody is planning trips down there next year, unless you're using miles and thus locked into what your airline will give you, I suggest using either Delta, American Airlines, or LAN (Chile) airlines. Any of those will give you a single-connection routing into Santiago, with a non-stop from the US from Miami or LA (LAN), Atlanta (Delta), or Dallas (American). Also consider Air Canada with a one-stop from most any US or Canadian major city connecting to their non-stop in Toronto to Santiago (also Toronto's updated international airport is extremely easy for international connections to/from the USA). Unfortunately, even though Air Canada is a United partner, United refused to allow award travel on AC so we had to do a dumb Denver-Washington-Buenos Aires (United)-Santiago (Air Canada) down and Santiago-Sao Paolo(Swiss Airlines)-Washington-Denver(United) routing. Really long layovers but not quite long enough to make it worth going into the city and paying the (Argentina about $30) departure tax or getting the (Brazil about $100) visa.

If you do take the UA routing (due to wanting to earn extra UA miles, using UA miles, or price), try to set it up with a full-day layover in Buenos Aires and go into town for some sightseeing, steak, and Malbec wine. Personally I like Buenos Aires a whole lot more than Santiago - we spent 2 full days before Portillo and 1 full day after in Santiago, and I didn't feel it was particularly worth it, while I loved the 10-day trip (non-ski-related) we did to B.A. last year. Also, Chile is expensive - the US dollar does not have a favorable exchange rate. It's (roughly as matter of mental arithmetic) $20 USD to a 10(thousand) peso bill, and things are denominated numerically in about the same or slightly less as in US - e.g. a sushi roll in Santiago is about 4(.000)peso, which is nearly $8 USD. (double that for sushi in Portillo but hey it's a long swim up the mountain!). So if you'd plan to include some South American sightseeing and it's your first trip there, a side trip or stopover in the much more economical Argentinian capitol and much more IMHO interesting city would make sense.

Since this comes up sometimes - no trouble with checking ski gear without extra cost at either Denver with UA or in Santiago with Swiss. A few funny looks at Denver carrying ski equipment and wearing a ski jacket when checking in on an 80 degree F day. No problem with the boot bag as carry-on either. However these are fairly new boots so they haven't had time to become biological weapons of mass destruction.

Nah, didn't ski with or see Will Ferrell - unless that's a reference to one of his films and I make it a point never to watch a Will Ferrell movie - can't stand him. Did ride lifts with some of the Austrian ski team members though (but not Hermann - probably still mad about Lisa taking his balls).

Got a good tune at the Portillo ski rental and tune shop - but I had to take 5 minutes convincing the shop manager (in my poor Spanish, not an easy job) that yes I really did want the bevel I requested and yes I really did not want any detune. The guy was incredulous that I would request such a silly thing. So if you want a specific tune be prepared to insist.

Super trip - well worth returning, but I'd probably go in July or early August next time for better snow. If you've got young kids, they'd probably like it as they have a lot of activities for them. If you've got young-ish teens, they'd probably hate it because not a lot to do for that age group. Older teens would be hanging out at the disco or the employee's bar down the road until 5 in the morning.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkXS View Post

LM with some of her apres-ski stretch boys:


More with da boyz, and that's der Herminator stretching against the wall. Ask Lisa about when she took away Hermann's balls.:

I have to hear more about this^^^^^!:

Quote:

I'm just happy to be here:

I could be that happy too!
post #6 of 21
Quote:
I have to hear more about this^^^^^!:
Oh well. I guess I have to tell this.

On my first day of teaching, I went down to the gym a bit early. I decided to warm up on the bike. Members of the Austrian ski team were there working out. I got on the bike, and one of the team members turned to me and said, "You mean you don't use a heart rate monitor..." I've never used one in my life.

Later, I went into the class room to do my apres ski stretch. The team's trainer was there, and he was working with one of the team members. My students piled into the room, and I began my class. The trainer remained in the room, talking in an extremely loud voice. In the US, this would be considered rude, but I did not want to confront the Austrian ski team, so I kept my mouth shut.

The next day, when I arrived in the class, there were two stability balls in the room. I took one for myself and one for one of my students. A few minutes after starting class, the Austrian team member and his trainer came in. The trainer looked at the balls and gave me a dirty look. Apparently, we had taken the trainees balls.

At the end of the week, when the Challenge Aspen awards were presented, the Hermanator was the presenter. I looked up and discovered that I had stolen Herman's balls!
post #7 of 21
Did it make him speak in a squeaky voice during the presentation?
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkXS View Post
Super trip - well worth returning, but I'd probably go in July or early August next time for better snow.
How was the snow?

Also, was the lake frozen? I heard you can only do some of the lake runs when it is frozen to return back to the base.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc View Post
How was the snow?

Also, was the lake frozen? I heard you can only do some of the lake runs when it is frozen to return back to the base.
Snow was pretty crunchy - there was no new since around 11 Aug, we got there on the 25th. Not a bit of snow all week. Off-piste softened up some once it was in the sun a few hours. We tended to start off on the Roca Jack/Juncalillo western side of the area since that got the morning sun from the northeast. Later do stuff on the Plateau side once that warmed up.

Lake was frozen, so the lake run was available. You do need to schlep back across the lake, so unless you like swimming in cold glacial water of uncharted depth, you don't want to do that very early or very late season. I didn't do it because the one thing my shoulder wasn't up for was a whole lot of cross-country coming back across it, but there were people doing it. Now if they sent the avy dogs down there to give you a tow back, might have been different.
post #10 of 21
Glad you had a nice time. We were there the week before you. No snow during our stay and similar conditions (crunchy in the morning, but nobody actually gets out at 8:30 anyway). I imagine Garganta (sp?) had a few bare patches by the time you arrived.

We found the Austrian team to be very friendly and easy to talk to. Hermann Maier & Benny Reich signed autographs for the kids.

I do not know of another place that offers such an all-around great experience...From the food to the relaxed atmosphere, activities, scenery, terrain, etc.
post #11 of 21
Sounds like a good trip. I just returned from a 6 day trip to Valle Nevado, El Colorado and La Parva, and 4 days in Santiago (flew Delta from Atlanta directly to Santiago). We had very similar conditions, but it seems that our snow was a bit better judging by your description. I have friends in Santiago, so I actually enjoyed the city very much.
post #12 of 21
When we were on the plane, we met a man from Buenos Aires who said something interesting about Portillo: "It's not just about the skiing-it's the whole environment."

That said, I found that this was probably the only ski area that I could enjoy even in bad conditions. There is something about the sense of community that makes it totally amazing, almost as if it was a microcosm of Epicski. The exception-You've never met the people, even in cyberspace, but you feel as if you've known them all of your life.

Of course, the fact that we live in Summit County and get enough good snow days makes it easier to say "oh well" if we don't get good conditions. Regarding Santiago- There are sections that defintiely have charm, but it's a question of comparison. Having recently been to Buenos Aires, which is far less expensive and far more exciting, Santiago was less impressive. However, it was nice to be able to find food options other than beef, beef, beef!
post #13 of 21

Portillo

Good post, nice seeing he pic again.

I don't think anyone should finish their skiing life without experiencing the Rocca Jac 5 person poma. Great ride.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
Good post, nice seeing he pic again.

I don't think anyone should finish their skiing life without experiencing the Rocca Jac 5 person poma. Great ride.
I found portillo to be the most overrated place in the south america> v nevada,parva,termas chillan and first of all las lenas they all offer better terain.
I made just a one day trip to portillo and this was just enough:couldn't spent entire week up there, sorry

for me skiing is the most important stuff not after ski life
post #15 of 21
Two questions...

--Anyone know how the South American ski areas fare with El Niño or La Niña weather? A La Niña is predicted for North America this winter, so that means lots of moisture in the PNW and dry in the SW...sorry Colorado.

--Better skiing in Argentina or Chile? I'm not looking for nightlife, just a wide choice of slopes with good snow.
post #16 of 21
Portillo, Valle Nevado, Las Lenas are as strongly favored by El Nino as SoCal and Arizona. With these areas' extreme volatility I recommend not booking in advance until snow is on the ground, and that advice is particularly appropriate in La Nina years. I just got Portillo's snow data, and 7 of the past 39 years have had less than 100 inches snowfall. Farther south at Bariloche (drier on average, but 2007 was a very good year there) or Chillan (reputedly more snow) snow incidence may be different in terms of volatility and El Nino sensitivity but I have no data from those places.

FYI the current level of La Nina http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/klaus...MEI/table.html is not all that strong, so it's probably being overhyped at the moment. I've correlated monthly snowfall with this table, and the list of areas sensitive to El Nino/La Nina is shorter than many of you think. http://members.aol.com/crockeraf/MEI_corr.htm . Utah and Colorado in general have little sensitivity.

My Portillo conditions in early September http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...pic.php?t=5760 sounded a little better than this TR since the corn cycle was in full force. Without powder I think Portillo is worth half a week, since terrain is quite interesting even though it's not that big. The Valle Nevado group is a lot larger, but it's mostly very intermediate and gets less snow. Also worth half a week IMHO.

Las Lenas is in a different league completely in terms of terrain, but only when Marte is running of course.
post #17 of 21
wow you all are lucky it is sot hot and I cant wait for the summer to officially end. But, Speaking of Portillo, one of the patrollers from Crested Butte is in charge of the heli ops and maybe still ski patrol for all of portillo and I have to get down there. Another friend from my lifty days is from Chile and patrols at Valle Nevado and I am saving for a trip down latitude as we speak. My girlfriend is also from Lima, Peru. Cant wait, Ive never been that far South. Thanks for the shots!
post #18 of 21
How may days would you recommend in Bariloche? I'm trying to plan a Bariloche/Las Lenas trip for next summer and am wondering how to divide the time. Any suggestions?

Portillo was quiet and uncrowded, but I couldn't imagine a whole week there. VN & LP had more variety. Really liked Chillan and wonder if Pucon is worth a trip also.
post #19 of 21
You need a week in Las Lenas due to logistics of getting there plus allowing enough time to get a good shot at Marte open.

I've not been to Bariloche, so I'll defer to others on that. But it's probably a separate trip from Buenos Aires. Not like Chile where you can easily hop from resort to resort by rental car or public transit.

I didn't have time to get there, but Patrick who posts here occasionally also really liked Chillan. He also got a couple of powder days there Sept. 4-5.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
You need a week in Las Lenas due to logistics of getting there plus allowing enough time to get a good shot at Marte open.

I've not been to Bariloche, so I'll defer to others on that. But it's probably a separate trip from Buenos Aires. Not like Chile where you can easily hop from resort to resort by rental car or public transit.

I didn't have time to get there, but Patrick who posts here occasionally also really liked Chillan. He also got a couple of powder days there Sept. 4-5.
easy chops from resort to resort in chile??? depending on defonition: from santiago to chillan 1 hour flight to conception then 3h by bus. from conception to pucan 6-7h drive. even to valle nevada from santiago is 2,5 - 3h .....

las lenas remains my nr1 in south am

pcon (telarica) is interresting just for a day............
post #21 of 21
Yoga balls? Fly to SA to sit on a bouncy ball?
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