Entries from Chile Ski
We have had a great few days working our way south from Araucania to the Lakes District. We had a nice day of ski touring on the ridges across from Lonquimay before heading south to Pucon. Beautiful views that morning of Sierra Nevada, Llaima, Villarrica, Tolhuaca and Lanin.
We had a nice rest day in Pucon while a wet storm hit the region. That day we were slated for Villarrica, the most active volcano in South America. It’s currently under “Amber alert” after spitting some lava and smoke in the last couple weeks. Our backup plan was another nearby mountain - Quetrapillan. But with a forecast of heavy snow and 80 knot winds, a down day seemed like a better plan.
Yesterday we worked our way further south into the Lakes District, arriving to Refugio Teski on the flanks of Volcan Osorno. This morning we set off in light snow flurries and low visibility, once again with optimism that things would improve. Improve they did as we skinned through the cloud deck into the sunlight. We didn’t quite make it to the top of Osorno. The wind was whipping and the steep summit slopes were icy. But we did get an amazing 4000’+ descent above Lake Llanquihue. Snow conditions were once again uncharacteristically good for this time of year - a smooth, preserved, fast powder surface illuminated in cold sunlight. Quite a run to end the trip on. And one that should make the wait for our Northern Hemisphere winter more tolerable. An added bonus was having our friend and outfitter Sergio join us on Osorno. He doesn’t usually travel this far south with us but this was a special cameo.
Yesterday we raced to set up our tents under the Araucaria trees as a fast moving thunderstorm approached. This morning we awoke in a thick snowy cloud. After an hour of skinning up an ever narrowing ridge, we rose above into glowing morning light and blue skies.
Last time we came to ski Sierra Nevada was five years ago and we got 95% of the way there, but ran out of time. Today, snow conditions were perfect for skinning all the way to the summit. On top we had impressive views of our neighbors, Lonquimay and Llaima. And crystal clear radio communication with Sergio at his lodge way down in the valley. Three hours later, after a highly enjoyable skiing experience, he picked us up in his Land Rover (it’s a gnarly road) with cold cervezas.
Amazing photos! Good going you guys. Enjoy the cervesas, salud, y saludos a Sergio!
Posted by: Wolf Riehle on 10/4/2019 at 9:35 pm
Quick check in from our camp here at 5,600’ on Sierra Nevada. Beautiful approach through the forest and now we’re out chilling some weather. All is going well with our team.
Today we arrived to the base of Lonquimay to a fresh blanket of snow glistening in the morning sun. The nice weather was quite a contrast to what we’ve experienced thus far. And we enjoyed it thoroughly for the first couple hours of skinning. But there was a cloud cap over the summit (“a hat” as Sergio our outfitter calls it). The higher we went, the colder it got, and soon we were in whiteness, getting blasted by a frigid wind. We kept on though, and reaching the top we were blessed. The wind stopped. The skies cleared. The views opened. And we were lined up for some of the best powder skiing I’ve had down here. Our first cumbre of the trip took some perseverance, but man it paid off…
Yesterday we went out for a wild storm ski as our introduction to the Southern Hemisphere spring. We rode what lifts were open at Corralco and couldn’t see much. But the feeling of having skis on our feet accomplished the days mission, despite having no idea how fast we were going.
Today we awoke to continued dumping snow, roofalanches and a winter vibe here in Malalcahuello. We went up for a ski tour on the lower flanks of Lonquimay with open minds, finding some nice blown in gullies in the monkey puzzle forest. In the afternoon the skies started to clear and we toured up the volcano a ways, enjoying our first real views of the place. A fun day of fresh turns was capped off with a visit to the termas down the road to thaw out.
All is great with our team and the weather trend seems to be improving - fingers crossed.
RMI Guide Tyler Reid & the Chile ski team
September 29, 2019
Posted by: Tyler Reid
We just had our first team dinner here in Temuco, Chile. Everyone made it today despite various fight delays and the standard rigamarole of crossing continents, hemispheres and time zones. It’s snowing in the mountains and we might just get to ski some powder tomorrow… but first we sleep.
RMI Guide Tyler Reid and the Chile Ski Team
Yesterday turned out to be a stormy one on Osorno. With hopes of possible clearing we set off from the hut in weather that felt more like winter in Hokkaido than spring on the volcanoes. After 1200’ of climbing, it became apparent that things would not be improving anytime soon. We skied down, and like clockwork, the skies began to clear. But it was just a Northern Patagonia sucker hole, and soon it was pounding snow once again. We had a nice evening on the lake in the beautiful town of Puerto Varas, a great place to wrap up a very successful trip with a fantastic crew. It’s a beautiful morning as I write this, with Osorno looking proud across the water. A good reason to come back..
The storm arrived to the region as predicted yesterday and continues out our window here on the lower flanks of Volcan Osorno. We are sipping coffee by the fire in the comfort of our refugio after a chill day of travel to get here. Hard to say if tomorrow will be a summit day, but it looks pretty promising as a powder day!
Wanting to make the best of our closing weather window, I managed to convince our team to forego our rest day today and go for our third summit in three days, Villarrica. Our alpine start began with a three-hour drive, arriving at a socked-in trailhead. Was this a good idea? It didn’t seem like it until the early afternoon when we popped above the clouds. The mental fatigue of skinning in a whiteout gave way to nice views and general alpine enjoyment, even as the wind increased. We tagged the top, peered into the active crater, and 5,500 feet later were drinking beer in the parking lot. Tomorrow the storm arrives, and we rest.
Today we returned to Lonquimay for redemption! Our team summited in perfect weather with views of eight volcanoes to the north and south. Skiing conditions off the top were perfection. Now we are getting ready for one of the most important events of this trip: Sergio’s famous asado.