The single most common question I am asked about skiing in Chile: "When is the best time to go for skiing?" It depends on what you'd like to do and where you'd like to go...
I just returned from a three-day trip to the Invernada area, in preparation of a guided trip that will happen at the end of the month. Like so many things in life, Invernada is fun and easy when its just a bunch of dreams and ideas. When the work begins, that's when the commitment really shows through. I am glad to know that I am still so psyched about this that carrying a few 60-pound packs, six-miles, and 4000-feet up into the mountains was actually pretty fun.
This project is about opening doors for others. Right now, skiing in this area requires a tremendous amount of work - in terms of preparation and then just straight up hauling big loads long distances. The skiing in this area is really good, but it's not epic. By this I mean there are no huge descents, it's not particularly high, and most of the terrain isn't steep enough to brag about. It's a perfect place for most people to ski. The problem is, most people can't get there.
I have no intention of turning this into a place that everyone can go. But what if I can take the bite of the expedition? This is the experiment for this year. When I return with the client, we will be able to tour in with the type of load that is typical of a hut trip in Colorado. If it works, then the even more difficult work begins. If it doesn't, well, I got another opportunity to ski a beautiful place that few know of. As we say in Chile: a ver.
The first set of bags are packed. I have spent the week preparing for my first guided trip into the Invernada area. I will do something I have never done before – haul gear into the cordillera in advance and establish a base camp. This has been a fun challenge because it requires so much forethought. I can't tell you how many times I have created, revised and checked the lists of gear to go in first.
The goal is simple. I want to create a very "livable" environment for the client, but not require that we carry 80-pound packs to get in. Eventually I'd like to see even better structures designed for accessing the Andes, and this is just the beginning of that process.
Maybe someday I won't be the mule. For now, I am thrilled to feel so attached to something. It's fun to embark on a project without a known outcome. We'll see how I feel after a few days of hauling huge packs into the cordillera.
I will be back on Monday evening. In theory, I should be able to update the Chile Powder Adventures Facebook page from the field, but if that doesn't happen, it's not because something has gone wrong. I am using a new device and social media will take a backseat for a few days. Have a good weekend!