I spent last week skiing and exploring the area around the town of Melipeuco, close to Parque Nacional Conguillo. I had visited this valley once before, many years ago. It was great to get back and see it in a new light.
After three-weeks of most bad weather in southern and central Chile, the recent high pressure was certainly welcome. I had five-days to get up into the mountains and poke around. There is so much adventure here. It's really a different experience. Obviously, my 2014 season is booked out and I am focused on making sure it goes perfectly; but I already looking forward to offering some new experiences in 2015. One thing is for sure: my primary goal on every trip is to make sure we never miss an opportunity to ski. As this year has proven, the Andes can give you the best or the worst. Never miss the good days.
There are a lot of people trying to ski in Chile right now. Most are stuck in the valley. Those that can't wait are finding themselves with visibility like being in a ping pong ball filled with milk and spinning around very quickly.
This is the Santa Rosa storm – one of those things that makes skiing in Chile interesting. The Santa Rosa is really a legend; but it is amazing how often it seems to happen. The Santa Rosa is the name given to the storm that happens "every year" five-days to either side of August 30th. It is believed to be both the last and strongest storm of the winter. Now that we have science to measure and record data, we know this isn't actually the case; but who are we to let science get in the way of our beliefs.
This year's Santa Rosa is mostly irritating; but with a little luck it will turn out for the best. The meteogram picture above is likely a little off. Typically, the winds and precip amounts are underestimated and the temps are a little too cold. But it's a good indicator of what's in store. If you're trying to ski this week, you'll be in flat light and wind most of the week. There will be five to twenty centimeters of new snow up high and it will be rainy in the valleys. The good news is that it is here and it is going to leave some snow for the spring season, which is coming quickly.
It's still fun to see a legend in action.