10 Aug La Parva y Cortados: Chile Day 2
Somehow even without an alarm we woke up on time. Maybe it was the people moving around on the floor above us, maybe it was our stomachs, maybe it was the excitement of being on a trip. Whatever the case was at 8am we were eating fried eggs, granola, and fruit. Coffee was served and the sun was shining.
We were going to ride at La Parva. It was too far to walk, so Clara arranged a ride for us. A small Chilean man walked up to us. He didn’t speak English and smelled slightly of tobacco and was our driver. He had walked down the road to us because his van couldn’t make it over the snow and ice. Not exactly the sort of confidence building move you want in your transport to a ski area.
The van was small, like a Vanagen and it didn’t have seat belts. Not that they would have made much of a difference. The road to La Parva was one of those roads that you don’t want to look down over its edge. But the views…incredible.
It was Monday morning, so you could still see Santiago…
There were two interesting things about La Parva. 1st off, you didn’t put on your own lift ticket. You bought the ticket, then walked up the chair and handed it to the ticket checker and they attached it to your jacket. I’ve never seen this done before. The other thing was that they required a leash. I keep a little one securely attached from my binding to my binding. (It’s supposed to go from binding to boot/leg) But Will… he didn’t have one – and they wouldn’t let him on the chair. I laughed and he went and bought a $3 leash from the rental shop. Everyone in a while a liftie will care…but most of the time you can get by without one.
The riding at La Parva was pretty awesome. The was barely ANYONE on the hill. I don’t think we waited in a lift line all day. The terrain was interesting and as challenging as groomed runs and open faces could be. There was a bunch of drops and natural terrain that with 18″ of new snow would be simply amazing.
Even though it hadn’t snowed in a few days – the snow was so light and dry that it hadn’t packed down. Not like the snow in Washington or Tahoe…that’s for sure. The off-piste terrain looked like it should have been hard and packed down, but we could still get a good edge in it. Most of the time though we just went really really fast down the beautifully groomed runs.
I had my Super 8 camera with me and we shot a little bit of film. I was a little confused by some of the meter readings… one thing I noticed was by noon it was way, way too bright for the 50 ASA. That was the slowest speed film I’d brought, and I didn’t have an ND filter…so the times of day we’d be able to film were going to be limited.
We lunched on the patio. Meat sandwiches, papas fritas and a new sauce which we dubbed “tardinaise.” Will bummed a smoke from a cute girl working at the café and we relaxed in the sun for a bit. It was amazing how cold it still was. But this was a good thing, cause it was keeping the snow fresh.
After riding we stopped into a café at the base. I was suffering from a little altitude sickness. It was just a mild headache and could be easily remedied by an Advil and a cup of coffee. I heard the guys behind us order a “cortado.” This was one of the few foods I’d read about in the guide book that I was looking forward to trying. It’s espresso with a dash of hot milk. Like a latte – but instead of mostly milk, it’s mostly coffee. We ordered two of these and some smokes.
They were amazing. I still think those first ones might have been the best made coffee’s we had the entire trip…or maybe it was just the excitement of trying a wonderful drink for the first time.
We finished our coffee and headed to the parking lot to thumb a ride back to Farellones. A guy driving a pickup truck picked up us and two skiers. On the way back we chatted. One of them had been a instructor at Homewood. It’s a little area on the West Shore of Tahoe…and one of the few Tahoe areas I’ve never been to.
These houses remind me of the famous “Case Study” houses in the Los Angeles area. Like the Eames House.
When we got back to the lodge Clara was a little annoyed with us. Apparently we were supposed to ride back with the guy that took us there. Oops. Well, he’d never told us a pickup time. Not that it would have made much of a difference…there were NO clocks in Chile.
We had not seen a single one.
No in the ski area lodges, not in Lomas Del Viento, not in our room, not at the top of ski lifts. It was really really strange.
After dinner we took a walk looking for an internet café.
As we walked up La Capilla the moon began to rise right over the peak, directly in front of us.
We’d walked up the right street on the only day at the perfect time to see this.
A full moon wouldn’t rise like this the entire year. Time seemed to slow…I noticed the cold thin air, the crunch of gravel and snow under my feat, the way the light was mix of dusk and moon rise. It was an amazing moment.
Several places had wifi – but no one had computers. Or a place to buy phone cards. Or pay phones.
Still a little stranded…but well, we still had another day to figure out what we were going to do…we decided we could drive to Santiago the next day and find an internet café.
Back at Lomas, I told Jessica that tomorrow we needed to go to Santiago – for the day, to use the internet and call our parents. That was probably the best Spanish I spoke the entire trip.
AND…it turns out that they had a computer and a wireless modem. Not just any computer, an iMac. Once we got on the internet we were able to contact our folks, get a phone card, look up some words, and research changing our plans. It looked like the other area wasn’t open. We decided to see if we could stay 2 extra days in Farellones – and 1 extra day in Santiago. I emailed the appropriate people. Then we looked up the Spanish for “Power Adapter.”
It was…no joke…
“Adaptador de la energía.”
Clara had one.
We were back in contact with the world, we could charge our cameras and we had a plan.
Tomorrow we’d be riding Valle Nevado.