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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    546

    South America Recap: Nevados de Chillan and Las Leñas

    I spent two months skiing in South America this summer, and it was fun! My trip took me to Nevados de Chillan for two weeks, Las Leñas for a month, and the Cordon del Plata for a week. I’ve been coming down here for nine years now, which makes me feel kind of old, but also very fortunate.

    The majority of these photos were taken by Moritz Morlok. Thanks Boyscout!

    Snowbrains



    Santiago. At least it’s surrounded by great mountains.



    Santiago at sunset.


    I arrived in Santiago in the middle of August. Typically I head straight to Las Leñas, but things were looking a bit dry and warm there, so I decided to go south to Nevados de Chillan instead. I’ve been hearing good things about Nevados in recent years, and it seems to be the new snowiest place in the Andes, so I figured it was high time I checked it out.



    Hitching from Las Trancas to Nevados.


    We arrived to high pressure and a mediocre base, with a storm in the forecast. We spent a couple days touring around and skiing volcanoes, which was neat.






    Volcan Nevados de Chillan and the Pyramid.





    Nevados de Chillan is a nice little place. It has plenty of medium angle volcanoey terrain, with a few surprises hidden here and there. And it does seem to get more consistent snowfall than just about anywhere else in the Andes.

    After a couple days of touring, our storm arrived, so we skied powder.



    Jerry Hance approves.



    Hotel Nevados below.



    That looks interesting.



    The Fingers.



    One of the better runs we had in Chillan.


    It stayed sunny for awhile, so we explored some different terrain and some hot springs.



    New friends and new mountains.



    This was probably the coolest zone we found around Nevados de Chillan. Pretty steep and long, but it ends in an epic terrain trap.



    Aguas Calientes.



    More hitching.


    As the next low pressure system arrived, we decided it was time to move on. Nevados was fun, but I couldn’t stop thinking about home:



    There’s no place like home.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    546
    I’ve been coming to Las Leñas for a lot of years, and I really love it there. It feels like a second home to me.


    Oh yeah, BUT: it never snows, it blows 100mph every day, Marte opens once a month, the off piste never opens, it’s packed with gringos, it’s more expensive than Norway, and there’s no “culture”. So don’t come here.



    Headed to the office.


    We arrived with the next storm, and skied around for a few days in snow and clouds. The storm came in incredibly wet and heavy, sticking to everything and leaving quite a bit of accumulation up high.



    The closest thing we have to tree skiing in Las Leñas.



    The Banana in between snow falls. Boyscout skiing.



    Yep. Deep pow in Las Leñas. Mike Hamilton photo.



    This actually never happens here. Mike Hamilton photo.


    Then, it got sunny, and Marte opened. With one storm, Las Leñas had gone from low base to high base on the upper mountain. Some lines were filled in better than they have been in years. Pillow lines had formed on Clasico, which I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen before.



    Amanitas Phalloides.



    Magic Mushrooms.



    Frontside pow.



    Sin Salida, ridiculously filled in.



    And deep.



    Somewhere on the front.



    Unknown skier following Millan’s Clasico pillow line.



    Morlok the Warlock.


    Here are a couple videos from my buddies Adri and Dorian from that day. They kill it.









    Once the powder cloud had settled, it was time to get to work ticking off classic lines in the high alpine around Las Leñas. These were some of my favorite days of the year.



    Casco



    Turn two.



    Entre Rios.



    Between Go Or No Go and the Baño.



    Cerro Negro and Torrecillas.



    Headed for the Baño.



    Dorian, also headed for the Baño.



    Entre Rios framed.



    I ended up spending a lot of time up here. Which is ok with me, because Entre Rios is one of my favorite places in the world.



    Asado! Cumple Yaya.


    After a whole lot of powder skiing, spring arrived, and the corn cycle began. What the Andes lack in great powder, they usually make up for in great corn, and this season was no exception. I think we had two weeks of great spring days. We would start the day with a quick hike to some bigger north facing couloir or line, then head back to Marte and ski as many front side and south wall laps as possible before the mountain closed. With big vertical on steep, rocky runs, day in and day out, I felt like I was skiing stronger than I have in years.



    Arches.



    Enjoying this nice picture frame.



    Principito, getting really thin.



    Unnecessary scrambling. Lost my skis.



    Ponce Dos.



    Principito, Boyscout skiing.



    Mike and Dorian looking down Manhattan.



    Moritz and arches.


    All too soon, the season in Las Leñas came to a close. After the resort closed, it snowed again, and the valley was once again blanketed in white. Unfortunately, the resort had decided that all terrain in and around the valley of Las Leñas would be closed, and ski patrol and security were out enforcing this policy. It seemed wrong to leave the valley covered in unskied powder, but there was nothing else to do.



    Last run in Las Leñas.



    Valle de Las Leñas on the way out of town.


    After a couple days in Mendoza, we decided to head up to the Cordon del Plata, which you can read about here.


    It was another great season in South America, and I can’t wait for more! Winter in the northern hemisphere is just around the corner…

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Driving2VT
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    3,790
    Sick. Haven't been down in a couple years and miss the adventure and of course "summer" turns. Thanks for sharing.
    Uno mas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Vanity Fair
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    2,702
    Nice. Weird how people (me included) always seem to end up going back to the same places almost by default. I know a bunch of people who go to SA every year and a bunch who go to NZ but only one or two who switch it up. SA skiing seems to be divided into North of Chillan and South of Chillan for most of the regulars...
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Between a rock and a soft place. Aberdare and The Brecon Beacons, Wales
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    2,841
    Sweetness

  6. #6
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    Jan 2008
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    Paper St. Soap Co.
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    2,717
    good stuff.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    The Wilds of Maine
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    2,763
    Yeah Lee! Looks sick man. Good Leñas conditions are sitting in there right at the top of my bucket list...
    "We're in the eye of a shiticane here Julian, and Ricky's a low shit system!" - Jim Lahey, RIP

    Former Managing Editor @ TGR, forever mag.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Home in the Highcountry
    Posts
    480
    Yeah LL! Killin' it as usual. Hitchhiking in Nevados seems to be an entertaining endeavor - we hiked halfway back to town twice in rainstorms last year...waited 30 minutes+ a few other days to get up. Really like the low key community up there though. Gotta get to Lenas. That terrain is endless!
    An Evolutionary Rider

    www.PeaksforPeace.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    en route
    Posts
    591
    Sweet. Where to this winter?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    1,445
    awesome TR! chile is great, and your post is inspiring me to check out Nevados de Chillan next summer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Eagle, Idaho
    Posts
    159
    Las Lenas has been on my list for several years now. I don't know if I'll ever actually make it down there, but this stuff makes me dream about it. Thanks for the great report!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Fresh Lake City
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    3,862
    thanks for the stoke and pictures to help fuel my pre-winter dreams!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Carbondale
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    11,167
    Thanks for sharing that! great stoke.
    www.dpsskis.com
    www.point6.com
    formerly an ambassador for a few others, but the ski industry is... interesting.
    Fukt: a very small amount of snow.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    P-tex, CA
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    8,400
    Radical...jealousy is not the right word

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    546
    Thanks everyone.


    Quote Originally Posted by 1thenaton1 View Post
    Sweet. Where to this winter?
    I'll be back in Japan and Alaska this season, and we'll see what other opportunities come up! Can't wait!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    seatown
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    3,598
    fuck ya. thanks for that.

  17. #17
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    Oct 2009
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    441
    That is ridiculous, good on ya!!

  18. #18
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    Oct 2006
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    Uber Alles California
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    Man alive that looks like fun

  19. #19
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    Mar 2011
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    Northern Vermont
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    385
    Outstanding TR. Well done!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southern NH
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    4,271
    To the top for a killer TR. FKNA.
    The Passion is in the Risk

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ventura Highway in the Sunshine
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    22,163
    Yeah, Las Lenas looks like it really sucks, I can see why you tell people to stay away.

    I have been meaning to open this TR, but have been on my phone. Glad I waited to see in in a large format...FKNA!!!

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Eastside Til I Die
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    1,837
    Bravo. Extremely enviable, would have much rather spent my summer that way. Thanks for sharing. My fave pic of the trip:

    http://snowbrains.com/wp-content/upl...6.47.02-PM.png
    ((. The joy I get from skiing...
    .))
    ((. That's worth living for.
    .))

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    1,095
    That is some sick ski terrain Lee!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Denver/Boulder, CO
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    1,183
    Las Leñas is amazing on a day with deep snow and no wind. They usually open up Marte chair and the chutes on the front side of the resort. Insane inbounds experiences but I will admit it almost never happens. The last time I was there it sucked. The second to last was like heroine and was 3' of unadultered heaven.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Somewhere else
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    4,355
    Sweet! Those videos are pretty killer as well... kill it indeed!!
    Goal: ski in the 2018/19 season

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