Chile Continuation — Cultural Rain & Ski


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 9, 2014      

Still here in Chile. After getting hammered by weather on Nevados Chillan during Marker Kingpin binding testing, I thought luck would occur and I’d have some sunny spring ski touring days here on the southern Chile volcanoes. Not to be.

This is probably famous, viewed while driving through Chillan, Chile. But I should probably publish my own shot of it.

This is probably famous, viewed while driving through Chillan, Chile. But I should probably publish my own shot of it.

The fire hose valve appears to be locked open. A gigantic fan is roaring as well. From what I hear from the locals, the Patagonian wind blowing through lava rocks sounds something like the Chillean air force exercising their F-16 fleet. That’s probably about right.

We did get a few days of skiing at Corralco on volcano Lonquimay. But we got hammered there as well so continued on up to Santiago, where I hope to meet my son Louie and his friends and head into the mountains around the La Parva ski resort. Idea being the southern end of the Andes appears to have more likelihood of sun than the more southern Volcano District. The drive was not trivial: eight hours from Corralco to Santiago.

The Chil-in, Las Trancas. I shifted from high-end Rocanegra lodge to more modest accommodations,  which were fine nonetheless and felt a bit more appropriate to my style.

he Chil-in, Las Trancas. I shifted from high-end Rocanegra lodge to more modest accommodations, which were fine nonetheless and felt a bit more appropriate to my style.

Rare (for me) view of the mountains of Nevados Chillan above Las Trancas.

Rare (for me) view of the mountains of Nevados Chillan above Las Trancas.

We got on the highway, checked out this volcano viewpoint.  Around here everything is about volcanoes.

We got on the highway, checked out this volcano viewpoint. Around here everything is about volcanoes.

We ended up here at a the Suizandino pension.

We ended up here at a the Suizandino pension, which is of course a mix of Swiss and Latin American hospitality. Nice place — I’d return. Volcano Lonquimay is just above here.

The ski resort on volcano Lonquimay is Corralco. It's basic, with a few chairlifts and surface lifts that are in a variety of conditions and operate at various speeds (grin).

The ski resort on volcano Lonquimay is Corralco. It’s basic, with a few chairlifts and surface lifts that are in a variety of conditions and operate at various speeds (grin). The plan here was to either forgo the lifts entirely or else use them for tour access. The weather didn’t cooperate, so I ended up doing some laps for a morning then skinning up a tiny mountain next to the base lodge. After some days without skiing it felt good, though wearing wall-to-wall everything clothing for the wind felt strange. I thought this was supposed to be springtime.

Sergio, owner of Suizandeno, helps with ideas for future backcountry skiing adventure. He's got various forms of transport he'll provide for access.

Sergio, owner of Suizandeno, helps with ideas for future backcountry skiing adventure. He’s got various forms of transport he’ll provide for access.

Corralco. Weather ports seem to be popular around here.

Corralco. Weather port temporary buildings seem to be popular around here, perhaps due to the fact that hot lava or an earthquake can occur at any moment, so why build something too permanent?

Lonquimay map you can get locally is quite  good.

Lonquimay map you can get locally is quite good.

Interior of Suizandina features a tile stove reminiscent of the Alps.

Interior of Suizandina features a tile stove reminiscent of the Alps. Lot’s of European influence around here from various phases of immigration history.

Morning for a ski day that actually happened.

Morning for a ski day that actually happened. The landscapes here feature open forest of monkey puzzle trees interspersed with small farms and vegetated hills. Locals told me the hiking and mountain biking in summer is exceptional, and you can even 4×4 around and car camp.

At a Colorado industrial resort, this would have been a bunch of funky burger meat. Not in Chile.

At a Colorado industrial resort, this would have been a bunch of funky burger meat. Not in Chile.

WildSnow.com was welcomed to Corralco with a full military band.

WildSnow.com was welcomed to Corralco with a full Chilean army military band.

A shot from our small ski tour at Lonquimay, Casey skiing.

A shot from our small ski tour at Lonquimay, Casey skiing.

Me and a Swiss guy, Leo, headed up Sendero Cerro Cautin.

Me and a Swiss guy, Leo, headed up Sendero Cerro Cautin, a small bump next to the resort that made for a quick bit of cardio with the wind at our backs.

Yours truly skiing!

Yours truly skiing!

South American inspiration for Wildsnow Field HQ Colorado.

South American inspiration for Wildsnow Field HQ Colorado.

Oh, I should share snow report for Corralco. Average snowpack on the volcano is several meters. In some places they’ve dug a trench for the ski lift. If spring conditions hit it’ll be epic. If I had the time I’d go back for the coming sunny days. I find it easy to believe that Chile has about 2,000 volcanoes, with 500 active to one degree or another. I’d call it apocalyptic if it wasn’t all so beautiful.

Bonus shot. Apparently the guy peeking out of the snow is exiting a lift operator's shack.

Bonus shot. Apparently the guy peeking out of the snow is exiting a lift operator’s shack.



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Comments

One Response to “Chile Continuation — Cultural Rain & Ski”

  1. Rory Allar September 11th, 2014 2:30 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I was tossing around the idea of a South American ski trip. Looks like it hasn’t been a great snow year down there. How has the season been?

    Thanks,

    Rory

    p.s. Love your blog!

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