12 Aug Valle Nevado: Chile Day 3
Today we’d be going to ride at Valle Nevado, we go to El Colorado and get an Interconnection to the other ski area.
Paulo gave us a ride to the ski area. It was an interesting ride. Half the time he was fiddling with his handsfree headset, and the other half we was zipping past backhoes or getting sideways around corners. After each turn he’d do a little headflip to get the hair out of his eyes.
Tickets were 1/2 price today at El Colorado. We were stoked, but apparently you had to ride over to Valle Nevado and THEN buy your ticket? I wasn’t really sure how that worked. After a couple warm up runs we headed over the hill to the other ski area.
At Valle Nevado there wasn’t a clear place where we were supposed to buy our tickets. And there was no way to ride all the way to the main lodge. So we rode down to the nearest lift. The liftie was cool and said we could ride the chair…but just that one time. It took one more chair to get to the main lodge.
It was definitely different at this area. It’s the place where people come to be seen, shop, and well – maybe ski. It had more of a “resort” vibe than the other two areas.
The ski resort itself was fun. The runs weren’t as steep or as well groomed as La Parva, but there were more opportunities for natural jumps. Lots of windlips and cornices. We hit a few of these and rode around for a while until it clouded up. Since there aren’t any trees, when the light gets flat you really can’t see anything. We had lunch and hung out in the lodge for a while.
The clouds began to break up a little bit, so we left the lodge and rode over to the backside of the mountain. There was the “Tres Puntas” lift. It was the highest point for the three areas. The t-bar up to it was brutal. Our third day of riding in a row had resulted in quite a sore spot on the ol’ inner thigh. This lift was so long, and so steep that it literally felt as painful as a tattoo. The sort of all encompassing, white hot pain that you have to just think your way past.
The top of the chair was really really cold…but the views were amazing. The mountains around us were so jagged and rugged. It really felt like we were IN the Andes here…not just on the edge.
The ride down was pretty rough. The light got flat again and we had a cat-track we HAD to ride down in order to get out of this valley. The only points of reference we had were dark blue bamboo pulls on the uphill side of the track. It was SUPER sketchy. Will wrecked once and I almost flew off the cat-track numerous times. The snow was super packed down and there was no way to see any bumps or holes or rough patches on the run.
A couple more excruciatingly painful t-bars and we were at the top of El Colorado. We rode around the mountain top and came out on the West face, looking down towards the Santiago. The view was breathtaking. I know I keep saying this…but it keeps being true. The sun was starting to set and had fallen below the cloud layer. We could see shadows again.
We rode around for a while longer…making sure to stick to lifts that were chairs.
It wasn’t 5 o’clock, but we were pretty tired so we called it a day and went to the bar. I order “un pisco sour y un red bull.”
I got 2 pisco sours and no redbull.
The pisco’s were alright, a little on the sweet side for me. We headed home with Paulo.
I asked Clara if these were her dogs. She said no. But she’d named them, fed them, and they slept in her woodshed. I dunno, but that sounds like they are her dogs.
Some of the amazing food we were served.
Coffee, reading, then we went out…
We wandered around for a while with the Southern Hemisphere star map that my folks had given me for my birthday. I think we found a couple constellations. The full moon was reeking havoc with night sky. I was hoping someone at the bar could help us out but the bar was closed. It wasn’t even 10pm.
Since we’d changed our plans around we had an extra day in Farellones. We decided to give our legs a break and take the next day off.