I love this photo because it is the type of image that inspired me to visit Chile. The lonely dirt road that winds its way up, then disappears around the corner, presumably ending where the snow begins. It just begs for adventure. This is on the way to my basecamp that I call Invernada. The adventure is endless.
Volcán Villarrica is the most iconic, quintessential peak in Chile. It's the type of mountain kids draw when you ask them to draw a volcano – including the puff of smoke coming from the summit.
I just returned from my annual "Invernada" exploration trip. This year I was joined by my friend and fellow ski guide, Nina Hance. I can finally say I have worked out the logistics of this trip to a level I am happy with. Check out the story from this season. Then consider joining me in 2016. I am already looking forward to returning to "Invernada."
By now, everyone has heard of the monster storm slamming into central Chile at this moment. Snow Forecast called for nineteen-feet to hit Valle Nevado, with only slightly smaller amounts for the surrounding resorts. With the predicted El Niño taking its time to produce typical results, this is the storm everyone has been waiting for.
What's it like to be in a storm that drops three-meters of snow over a couple days? It's pretty intense.
What are you doing in early October? Actually, it doesn't matter. I've got a better idea. You should come to Chile and ski into the caldera of the Puyehue volcano.
My previous blog post was about why you would want to ski with a guide in Chile. After that I ran across a few advertisements from U.S.-based guides, offering trips to ski in Chile. Looking into these trips I see that they've done some homework – but not quite enough. The itineraries look good. For example, while I typically aim to ski three volcanoes in a week, some visiting guides have squeezed four volcanoes into their plans. That would be better. Never mind that the weather in southern Chile is far from perfect everyday and having some flexibility is critical. I saw one trip offered to a volcano which is presently erupting. I wouldn't recommend that. Some guides offer great prices. Cutting corners is never a good idea. Good food, comfortable lodging and safe vehicles with enough space are not cheap in Chile. So I am not sure where it's best to cut costs.
I guess I'd like to add to my previous post. Not all ski guides and trips to Chile are equal.
You are looking for an adventure and the typical avalanche hazard is easier to manage than a continental snow climate. So why would you want to ski with a guide in Chile?
I get asked about the "best time" to ski in Chile often. The answer to that depends on a variety of factors, so there's no really simple answer. But, here's one piece of advice I share often and am confident in...
Don't miss an El Niño year.