While the boys saga their way to Fitz Roy, my South American journey is a pampered press trip courtesy of Marker. The Kool-Aid up here in the Chilean mountains is made from grapes and tends to be a problem if you drink too much, but I’m sure it is having positive effect as well. The details of this will soon be revealed, but I thought I’d file a general TR from our first day of binding testing wherein we battled 70 mph winds in perfect icing conditions, skiing both ice and breakable crust. They couldn’t have planned a better evaluation program. Or maybe they did. Check it out.
The King in his royal cloak. The name is in the wild so can be revealed, saying anything else would get me black listed worldwide, so I’ll not. And for good measure I’ll redact the name on homepage just in case these guys get touchy about what’s published.
View from the lodge includes blatant banner advertising, something we are quite familiar with around here. That’s Nevado Chillan out there, quite a vast area you’re only seeing a bit of. Edit: Come to think of it, the binding name is out now, so here we go.
A van picked us up at the airport. I’m pinching myself to see if I’m actually down here. The air travel went surprisingly well for me, though some of the group’s luggage was temporarily lost. I was amused when I moved from my newish jet hop to Dallas to a LAN jet that looked ok on the outside (no holes), but had obviously held massive numbers of people for years on the inside. How did I know? Immediate allergy attack upon entering the plane. Luckily the histamines subsided and I enjoyed talking to a few folks from Chile, as well as chatting up guide Martin Volken who’s visiting here as a retailer. A few glasses of wine and a bit of modern chemicals sent me off to the land of nod for the whole flight. The flight attendant had even been kind enough to stuff the visa paperwork behind my head. We were landing by the time it was filled out. Santiago was classic. All you have to do there is stand around looking like a bewildered gringo in a bright colored puffy jacket. Doing so will get you that guy who seems to always show up and lead you through the baggage recheck and even cut a few lines. Happened to me 30 years ago, and happened yesterday. Consistency is a pleasure.
Heading out for ski tour from Roccanegra lodge. The intent was a chairlift ride up the Nevados Chillan resort and then a ski tour at altitude, but everything was closed due to high winds. So we slogged up the resort and punched into the alpine above until a stiff Patagonian breeze began blasting razor sharp ice crystals into our cheeks.
This should look familiar to many of you world traveler skiers, classic Chillan. Nice terrain if the weather cooperates. Of interest, our hosts made it clear before we began touring that there is no ‘organized official mountain rescue’ and we’d better watch our own behinds. Not exactly the Alps, but just as beautiful and snow is snow.
Into the winds of Patagonia (we’re not exactly in Patagonia, but that sounds good). The idea was to at least ski over a big shoulder of the massif and do a loop trip ending up at the lodge. Didn’t happen. Just fun to be here, and a good binding test.