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#10695 - 12/02/03 10:21 PM Skiing
TimTheClimber Offline
member

Registered: 10/31/03
Posts: 187
Loc: New Paltz
Can't wait to got out skiing this year. I plan to take my annual trip to Mt. Tremblant in Canada in February (has anyone else been there too?)! Also plan on skiing at Whiteface alot.

What are your favorite ski / board areas? Has anyone been out this year yet?
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#10696 - 12/02/03 10:51 PM Re: Skiing [Re: TimTheClimber]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
i wish, knee is still a little sketchy from injury.

Sunday River wins hands down though for northeastern areas that i've been to -- really big and lots of steep terrain. terrain that still gives me the willies.

I hear Hunter is skiiable with a small handful of trails. Not crowded yet. Of course it's likely to suck, but who cares its a quick getaway

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#10697 - 12/03/03 12:04 AM Re: Skiing [Re: TimTheClimber]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Hey,

How is Mt. Tremblant (its just outside of Montreal if I'm not too dense). My wife are planning on ice climbing in Montreal but hadn't figured on skiing (unless its REALLY good).

My wife and I (as does the Vlad from gunks.com and his wife) have seasons passes to Kirkwood (just outside of Tahoe in Cali). Looking to improve my teleskiing. I've got my tele-falling down to an art.

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#10698 - 12/03/03 02:30 AM Re: Skiing [Re: Chas]
TimTheClimber Offline
member

Registered: 10/31/03
Posts: 187
Loc: New Paltz
Personally, I really like Tremblant. Yes, it it about 2 (or less) hours outside of Montreal and as far as I am concerned, well worth the drive.
The mountain is laid out well, and it is usually easy to avoid long lift lines. There is also great tree-skiing on the EDGE side of the mountain. PM me if you have more questions.

NICE moderate!!
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#10699 - 12/03/03 05:21 AM Re: Skiing [Re: TimTheClimber]
roj Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/15/02
Posts: 68
Loc: NYC
i went to Tremblant for the first time last year. it was excellent skiing! but COLD!!! we drove up and our rental car had a thermometer reading the outside temps, we watched that thing drop like crazy as we got closer. by the time we reached the house we were staying at, it read -24F.


Attachments
98108-skitremblant005a.jpg (1046 downloads)

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#10700 - 12/03/03 05:41 AM Re: Skiing [Re: roj]
sohwhat Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 242
Loc: 10001
i'm going to get killed saying this here but snowboarding's really my favorite sport

there's no place like whistler, but it's a litle far. i've never seen more terrain. plus the canadian dollar is practically the only currency that's doing worse than the us dollar now.

last time i was at hunter i thought i was going to have to rent ice skates. the time before that a maintenance worker dropped a ladder on my foot and broke it (yes, i am very accident prone).

i spent a season snowboarding at mammoth mountain in CA, and there's some nice backcountry there, you can hike up some of the surrounding mountains and make fresh trails for 2 hours on the way down. the mountain gets really crowded on weekends, but there's almost never anyone at june mtn. nice terrain parks too.


i think utah has the best snow in the US. and there are tons of resorts within driving distance of salt lake, so none of them are ever crowded.

maybe i'll catch the end of the ski season, my doc is gonna take my cast off on xmas eve. that's the best xmas present ever.

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#10701 - 12/03/03 07:39 AM Re: Skiing [Re: TimTheClimber]
hartmann Offline
member

Registered: 11/20/99
Posts: 161
Loc: Northfield, VT
I’ve skied three times already this year . Twice in ski areas and one ski tour. Two of those days I was skiing in knee to mid thigh deep powder . I think I can get another 10 days in before the end of the year since I won’t be coming back to the U.S. for Christmas this year. My favorite ski area in the U.S. is Mad River Glen in Vermont. Its small, but when the snow is good, it can’t be beat.

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#10702 - 12/03/03 11:22 AM Re: Skiing [Re: hartmann]
KAYLA Offline
addict

Registered: 11/11/00
Posts: 407
Loc: new city, ny
Why drive the extra 2 hrs to Treblant. Go to JAY PEAK. Most snow and best snow east of the Rockies.
Over New Years my wife and I are taking the kiddies to Smugglers Notch . Great family place and good skiing.
Stay away from Killington. I hate that place...

Skiing at Hunter this weekend

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#10703 - 12/03/03 03:23 PM Re: Skiing [Re: KAYLA]
nerdom Offline
Pooh-Bah *

Registered: 09/07/01
Posts: 2483
Loc: Davis Sq., MA
I was really impressed, not so much by the terrain, as by the speed with which they get you to the top of the mountain, at Stratton, when I went there last year. For pure, cranking out run after run, it really can't be beat.
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#10704 - 12/03/03 03:25 PM Re: Skiing [Re: hartmann]
crackers Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: pdx
i've gotta post about this project we are doing in Turkey. But since i am flying out today i dont have time. But here's a concept to think about till i get to post some photos: The mountain we're going to has about 1.75km of drop!


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#10705 - 12/03/03 03:37 PM Re: Skiing [Re: TimTheClimber]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Favorites from my years in the northeast are Sugarloaf, Stowe, Sugarbush, MRG, and Magic.

Most disliked: Killington on a weekend or holiday period, Mt. Snow, Someday Bigger.

I'm on my third Alta/Snowbird combined season pass and I really enjoy Solitude and Snowbasin. The Canyons is pretty good as well, but since I live 12 miles from Alta and about 20 from Solitude, it's kind of hard to get me to drive over to the other side of the range. Haven't skied Jackson (Tetons) or Sun Valley yet - both about 5.5 hrs away.

So far this season: 2 days at Snowbird, 4 at Alta, and 1 at Solitude
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#10706 - 12/03/03 04:48 PM Re: Skiing [Re: MarcC]
KAYLA Offline
addict

Registered: 11/11/00
Posts: 407
Loc: new city, ny
I love the skiing in little cottonwood . I think it is the best in the U.S.
I have skied at both Sun Valley and J hole. Jackson ROCKS , Sun Valley sucks. It doesn't get enough snow and it rained on me.
Still the best ski trip ever was, the week I spent Heli skiing in B.C.

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#10707 - 12/03/03 04:55 PM Re: Skiing [Re: KAYLA]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
And what about Gwen?.... Haven't heard from the south.

(ps: my wife would really like to know since she plans to heli ski in Argentina (myself, backed out because friends and I are going back to Peru to fail on the usual suspects).

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#10708 - 12/03/03 05:35 PM Re: Skiing [Re: KAYLA]
Daniel Online   content
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
Jackson ROCKS

Indeed it does. Been skiing there every year since '98. Awesome if you can handle the terrain. One thing that's very noticeable: the average skier at Jackson is really good.

This year I'm doing one trip to Jackson and one to Alta/Snowbird. Alta may be the most beautiful place I've skied and also has great snow and terrain--and no snowboarding.

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#10709 - 12/03/03 06:38 PM Skis - how short can you go? [Re: Daniel]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
What does everyone think about height vs. weight as the most important factor to determine ski length?

I'm still trying to jump on the parabolic bandwagon, and my rubbery 10-year-old "trad" skis are much longer at 190cm. I'm tossing up between Salomon X-Scream Series at 169cm or so and a couple different K2 Axis models at around 174cm. It's hard for me to get recommendations that I trust for skis because in proportion to my height I am very lightweight. There is so much to choose from, and it costs a lot of $$$...

Looking at the extremely short skis slalom skiiers are using, it almost seems that your height doesn't matter any more. How hard is it to learn to control the inherent instability on short skis?

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#10710 - 12/03/03 07:05 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: pedestrian]
MurphysLaw Offline
gumby

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 2308
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
Ski stability is no longer a function of length.

Improvements in construction (dampening materials), etc. make short(er) skis that are at least as stable, if not moreso, than our old long sticks.

More importantly, since they are sooo much easier to get and keep on edge, that in and of itself makes them more stable.

If you are bombing down the hill and trying to keep yer skis FLAT (a la downhill or maybe Super G) then they likely will be unstable.
The key is to always be edging, be it ever so slightly, and then they feel like they are on rails.

Bottom line: new skis are a VERY big investment. While there really are no longer any full-on crappy skis being made , you will enjoy it much more if yer skis do what you like to do well.
That super-duper mid-fat freeride ski that all the magazines loved (for out West) probably won't be as much fun on boilerplate at Stowe or Hunter.
(what is? )

And the best way to find that out is to demo. Most larger ski mtns have a demo center. Or demo days.
Pick the 3 or 4 models you think will be best for you and take 'em all out for a test drive.
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#10711 - 12/03/03 07:24 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: MurphysLaw]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
Thanks, this answers my unspoken question - with the short skis I demoed last year, the tips were wobbling in and out a bit on the straightaway now and then when I had them flat. I guess this is a result of my old school and out of practice technique. You almost have to start learning over again on parabolics.

I am 190cm tall and demoed 181's and 167's last year. when I tried the 167's the guy in the shop said I probably shouldn't go much shorter than that. I'm still having trouble getting my mind around the idea that if new skis are so much better short, why isn't everyone on snowblades if length doesn't matter. I guess it depends on whether you want long, high speed turns or not.

I guess I will just keep demoing if I go out again this season.

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#10712 - 12/03/03 08:11 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: pedestrian]
nerdom Offline
Pooh-Bah *

Registered: 09/07/01
Posts: 2483
Loc: Davis Sq., MA
I rented shape skis (parabolics) one day last season, and have to say I was extremely impressed! My stiff old 205cm Rossi 4S Kevlars couldn't hold a candle to those things! Truly remarkable technological improvement. Didn't make me want to give up my board, however . . .

On ski areas, a well-travelled ski buddy of mine swears that you have to ski the following three N.A. areas before you die:

Squaw
Jackson Hole
Blackcomb/Whistler
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#10713 - 12/03/03 08:15 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: pedestrian]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
It's difficult to buy a "bad" ski these days - they're all pretty good. However it is possible to buy a ski that is not suited to what you like to ski or your ability level. Length isn't as big a deal as it used to be - the side cut makes up for the shorter skis. Thus the 22 meter radius turn of a GS ski that used to be 205cm can now be done on a 177cm.

I'm 6', 186lbs, and low/mid expert ability (on a 4 point ability scale: beg, int, adv, exp.). My workhorse everyday, all-mountain skis are also my longest skis right now, at 185cm - Salomon Super Mountains (no longer produced). I would have preferred the 180s but they were the last pair at the shop and I got a great deal and I desperately needed to replace my straight skis after moving here. My powder skis are 180s and I just picked up a pair of 175cm Atomics.

Mid-fats are a fine all-mountain ski in the north east. However if you do all bumps all the time, you'd probably want something narrower and faster edge-to-edge. A GS ski like the Atomic Beta Ride 9.22 at 180 is excellent if you tend to stay on the groomed cruisers, but if you venture into the trees and woods a lot, you'd want something a bit shorter and softer.

The Salomon X-Scream Series is a great all around do everything ski, but because of it's stiffness it can be too much to handle if you're not at the advanced or expert levels. So if you're an intermediate or strong intermediate, you might want to consider the X-Scream 9s instead. I tend to steer away from integrated ski/binding systems like the Salomon Pilots or the Atomic system (whatever they call it) because of price and locking you into one manufacturer's equipment. [Disclaimer: I really prefer Marker bindings to almost any others and the integrated systems don't allow you to use other manufacturer's bindings] Despite saying this, I bought a pair of Atomic R:11s with their integrated bindings at the Snowbird swap this fall - simply because I got a $1300 set of skis/bindings for $600.

So it really depends on your style of skiing. Read the reviews and demo, demo, demo.

Quote:

...with the short skis I demoed last year, the tips were wobbling in and out a bit on the straightaway now and then when I had them flat.




It is a bit of a technique thing. The new skis really like to be up on edge and turning. Some skis are more squirrley on the flat than others, especially the super-carvers with a very deep side-cut.

Quote:

I'm still having trouble getting my mind around the idea that if new skis are so much better short, why isn't everyone on snowblades if length doesn't matter.



Diminishing returns - there is a limit. The new skis are better short as compared to the old, straighter skis and philosophy. It's not that shorter is always better. See my point above about sidecut making up for length.

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#10714 - 12/03/03 09:38 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: nerdom]
stimpy Offline
Site Supporter

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 243
Hey Nerdom, you have a board and you still ski??!! Downhill lift service that is. I have a XC and BC ski set-up, but if I'm riding the lift I would not even consider going back to skis.
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#10715 - 12/03/03 09:54 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: stimpy]
TimTheClimber Offline
member

Registered: 10/31/03
Posts: 187
Loc: New Paltz
I prefer having longer skis (190 cm) that are "subtly " shaped. In other words, I really didn't experience the advantage to skiing on skis with a head width of 8 cm. Something this drastic has an adverse effect on fast mogul skiing. I would rather have a gradual curve that quickly tapers off.
By the way... Tremblant, -50 degrees F. Been there, done that.
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#10716 - 12/04/03 02:59 AM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: pedestrian]
chrisinvermont Offline
member

Registered: 05/08/01
Posts: 184
Quote:

I'm tossing up between Salomon X-Scream Series at 169cm or so and a couple different K2 Axis models at around 174cm.




I have a pair of X-Screams that I got when they first came out. They are amazing. I got the longest ones that they made at the time, I don't remember the actual lenghts. As mentioned they are really an expert ski and were a little much for me when I first got them. It took a while for me to get used to them, if you get out of synch with them they will throw you. I let a buddy ski them last year and he is a very expert skier and they got away from him after a bit. They turn so fast!

As for favorite areas, Pico was where I first started, long before Killington owned them. When I moved to Burlington I skied Smuggs for several years. Great woods skiing in the back bowls and good party scene in the upper parking lot. Last couple of year I skied Sugarbush which was nice switch with the modern chair lifts. This year should be a great year for snow because I didn't buy a pass anywhere.

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#10717 - 12/04/03 03:14 AM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: chrisinvermont]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
I'll try out shaped skis for the first time this year. A friend of mine gave me a pair of old, but unused, X Frees, now I just need bindings. From everything I hear from my buddies who still ski a lot, I plan on getting hooked all over again. This will be the first time since 1988 that I will ski on skis shorter than 203cm (except for the time I skied the Otis from N Lake to Palenville on 185s after the blizzard of '93). I'm not sure how long the skis are but I think they are 190s. Long by today's standards but short by mine. Time to bust out the day-glo orange boots again! Favorite area? When I was in Plattsburgh, Jay Peak became a favorite spot for many of us. Mad River Glen was always fun for a couple of trips a year too.


Edited by pitfall (12/04/03 03:19 AM)
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#10718 - 12/04/03 05:45 AM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: chrisinvermont]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
chris - i assume you are referring to the X-Scream Series (yellow) and not the "X-Scream" (orange)? I was looking at the specs and the two look like a very different ski--the orange one looks like much more of a long-radius-turn ski for fast downhill/GS style runs, not such a tight turner. which one do you have?

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#10719 - 12/04/03 02:18 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: stimpy]
nerdom Offline
Pooh-Bah *

Registered: 09/07/01
Posts: 2483
Loc: Davis Sq., MA
Quote:

you have a board and you still ski??!! Downhill lift service that is. I have a XC and BC ski set-up, but if I'm riding the lift I would not even consider going back to skis.




Yeah, I know. It was curiosity. My buddies were ranting and raving about the shape skis, so I had to try them out. Plus, it had been a long time since I thrashed around in the bumps. It was fun, but not as fun as boarding. I just the love the fluidity and naturalness of carving turns on a board. Always brings me back to my SoCal surfing days <sigh> . . .
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#10720 - 12/04/03 11:50 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: pedestrian]
chrisinvermont Offline
member

Registered: 05/08/01
Posts: 184
Quote:

chris - i assume you are referring to the X-Scream Series (yellow) and not the "X-Scream" (orange)? I was looking at the specs and the two look like a very different ski--the orange one looks like much more of a long-radius-turn ski for fast downhill/GS style runs, not such a tight turner. which one do you have?




You are right, I have the yellow ones. They are just what I am looking for. They have a bit of wobble at high speed, but they are fine for carving big GS turns and they have definitely helped my mogul skiing. I didn't do any research at all before buying, a friend called with an offer I couldn't refuse. He knows how I ski and thought they would work well, and the price was great. I am happy with them and when you get the ski in just the right groove it is a blast trying to stay on for the ride.

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#10721 - 12/15/03 07:29 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: chrisinvermont]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Hmm... it's interesting. How many people get the "perfect" ski? As opposed to people like me who just go for the "great deal"? I picked up a used pair of Rossi Bandit XX's (I think they're 170s, down from 180 straight skis). I was looking for something else, but well these used skis w/ bindings were just too good to pass up.

The best mountain to ski is Mad River Glen, no doubt about it. Of course, I don't ski much anymore, so my favorite mountain to ride is Stowe. Killington is the usual destination though since once you get on the runs it's less crowded than Mt. Snow. Killington has some nice glades, and there's Outer Limits- I love that run, but can't get the other snowboarders to go with me... don't know why snowboarders don't like moguls, I love 'em. Used to like Whiteface when I skied hard, haven't been there in years. Jay Peak is great, but it's a trip I make coming from Montreal, too far for a weekend from NYC.

-QtM
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#10722 - 12/15/03 08:47 PM Re: Skis - how short can you go? [Re: quanto_the_mad]
CrackBoy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/06/02
Posts: 2435
Loc: Republic of Davis
i have been on a few mogul runs while boarding, thought not really on purpose (didnt know they turned mogul til it was too far down) it was real hard, lots of hard riding and adjusting, probably why a lot of riders don't go on them, i found it kind of fun myself, would i want to do it all the time, probably not, but a little bit of mogul riding was fun, especially if there is some powder flying

ps hey quanto.. alpinist 5 is out
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#10723 - 12/16/03 10:41 AM Re: Snowboarding Moguls [Re: CrackBoy]
crackers Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: pdx
There is nothing better than passing a bumbly in a mogul field, popping off the top of a bump and switching outta fakey and then really cruising off.

I generally rode moguls for an hour or two a day...
Ugh, i will get my first day in on Friday. I can hardly wait.

Then we've got this film project we're working on in Eastern Turkey that should be super super sweet.

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#10724 - 12/16/03 04:46 PM Re: Snowboarding Moguls [Re: crackers]
edk Offline
addict

Registered: 05/06/02
Posts: 441
Loc: allentown, NJ
My ex-riding partner was so into moguls I had no choice. It was either learn to ride them or lose her so..... I learned to ride them AND lost her anyway.

They are fun once you get into them and get going. I cant cruise fsat through them, but I will spend alomst all day in bump runs - the flat stuff gets old fast to me.

last season was tough for me becuase of 2 recetely broken hands I was a wimp in the bumps and really didnt let it all hang out so I was very timid and it wasnt as much fun.

Worst thing about bump runs on a board is when they are spaced tightly like skiers make them, then its more like surfing the tops of them - which I find scary and hard. the moving between them for me is easier.

ed

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#10725 - 12/16/03 06:34 PM Re: Snowboarding Moguls [Re: edk]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
Nothing is more annoying to a skier than snowboarders who just slide from bump to bump because they can't handle the moguls. It's impressive to see someone who can really board through them with style. The only thing I find almost as impressive is to see someone who can tele the bumps like a champ.
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#10726 - 12/16/03 06:51 PM Re: Snowboarding Moguls [Re: pitfall]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
I think that beginner skiers and snowboarders do the same exact thing on the mogul runs; neither really annoys me since I know I was doing the same thing once upon a time.

I think beginner skiers are a little more dangerous, not to themselves but to others, since when they wipe out you have gear strewn across a fairly wide area. Then you have all their friends nearby picking up gear, which clogs up a part of the run for a few minutes. On the other hand snowboarders just stand up and go.
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#10727 - 12/16/03 07:10 PM Re: Snowboarding Moguls [Re: edk]
crackers Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: pdx
surfing the tops is the only way to go. i love it so much.

it is draining though. it does take alot of energy.

top turn top turn top turn top skip to the next line and turn on landing top turn...

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#10728 - 12/16/03 07:35 PM Re: Snowboarding Moguls [Re: quanto_the_mad]
MurphysLaw Offline
gumby

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 2308
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
On the other hand snowboarders just stand up and go.

Indeed. This is usually due to breaking their fall by landing on a nice, soft, unsuspecting nearby skier.

Q: How does a boarder introduce himself to a skier?
A: "Sorry dude!"

I give mad props to any boarders who can ride bumps smoothly and in control.
(in part cuz they seem to be a very rare breed - I call the vast majority (of riders and skiers) who can't "groomers", since they all just sidesip straight down and scour the bumps down to glare ice )

My intermediate-level riding skills completely abandon me in the bumps.
(It's a strange feeling to be terrified on a run that I wouldn't give a second thought to if I were on skis. )
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#10729 - 12/18/03 05:47 PM Re: Snowboarding Moguls [Re: quanto_the_mad]
Daniel Online   content
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
I think that beginner skiers and snowboarders do the same exact thing on the mogul runs; neither really annoys me since I know I was doing the same thing once upon a time.

Perhaps both skiers and boarders have problems in the bumps before getting their technique down. But from what I've seen, the scraping caused by boarders who really shouldn't be in the bumps does far more damage to mogul runs than skiers. I've seen some boarders simply give up on turning and just scrape the snow off bump after bump, which really ruins that line it for everyone who follows, while poor skiers at least try to make turns as they stumble down the field. Perhaps it's just a case of a few bad apples, but I really think boarders who don't know what they're doing in the bumps should make an effort to stay out of them so that we two-plankers (and better boarders) can continue to enjoy the runs.

Or maybe we just need some separate terrain? (Mmmmmmmm, Alta . . . .)

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#10730 - 01/10/04 10:26 PM Re: Skiing [Re: Chas]
GwenL Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 326
Loc: Reno, NV
Quote:

And what about Gwen?.... Haven't heard from the south.

(ps: my wife would really like to know since she plans to heli ski in Argentina (myself, backed out because friends and I are going back to Peru to fail on the usual suspects).




I just saw this...sorry, we aren't doing much skiing down here right now!

I know nothing more about heli skiing (or any other type of skiing) in Argentina than you can find on the web.

About one hour from my house are Santiago's three closest ski areas, Valle Nevado, La Parva, and El Colorado. All well worth skiing, never seen a lift line, reasonable pass ($25 per day last year, and you can find discounts). All the skiing is above the tree line, and there is nothing really equivalent to a double black. When there is lots of snow (as there was in 02 but not in 03), there are some neat areas that are rarely skiied but are served by the lifts. Kind of behind a few ridge lines.

The next closest area is Portillo, on the road to Mendoza, Argentina, about 90 min - 2 hours from Santiago, depending on the road and truck traffic. Also a very nice area, more of a destination as there's only one hotel. Also reasonably priced, both the hotel and lift tickets. Right across the border into Argentina, 20 minutes by car but really more like an hour after going through both customs posts, is Las Lenas, which many know as a "base camp" town for Aconcagua but also reasonably cheap, very high, and some good runs.

About five hours south of Santiago is Chillan, Chile's only tree line skiing. I haven't been yet, but it's supposed to be worth the trip. Again, reasonably priced.

The concept of "off piste" doesn't really exist here. Meaning they don't shoot you, or threaten to take your pass, if you ski off piste. I've skiied randonee many times in the mountains behind the ski areas of La Parva and Valle Nevado, really pretty, lots of solitude, and interesting "runs."

Both Valle Nevado and Portillo have heli skiing. I've not tried it, as it's too pricey for me ($100 a pop). I'd rather grind up a hill in my skins and enjoy the descent in solitude.

I've seen lots of American tourists on the slopes here. Many don't know a word of Spanish and come straight from the airport to the ski area, stay a week at the hotel, and then leave. A bit of a shallow pass through what is really a quite interesting city, country, and culture.

Gwen

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