South America Trip Report

South America Trip Report



On September 5, Cody Townsend and I departed for a three week trip to South America in hopes of getting in some great summer skiing accompanied by a change of the American pace of life and a chance to test our Spanish skills. Our first destination was Termas de Chillan, Chile, a huge resort located about five hours south of Santiago.
After planes, trains and automobiles, we arrived at our quaint and extremely cozy French-owned and -run M.I. Lodge. There, we met up with our European buddies Phil Meier and Dominique Daher. We quickly found that the resort of Termas has much to offer, and quick 15-minute hike from the lifts can put you right into some amazing untracked terrain. One great perq that I came to find not only in Termas but everywhere else we skied in South America is that the best off-piste skiing is left virtually to a handful of skiers, making the epic skiing last as long as your legs can handle it.

After a few days of checking out Termas and never quite getting the deep snow we craved, we decided to make out way down to Puchon, which is located in Chile’s Lake District and is more known for its summertime activities than its skiing. After a stormy, grey day, we awoke to see the imposing, active volcano Vulcan Villarrica that we planned to hike and ski. After climbing about 3500 feet, we reached the top and saw liquid magma gurgling and burping before our eyes.
Apparently not the smartest situation to be in, we made our way out of the volcano’s mouth and got back to doing what we know best:
Skiing at sunset and getting some amazing photos of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Wanting to follow any chance of snowfall, we headed back to Termas where a storm was brewing. Unfortunately, 35-mph plus wind scoured the mountain of virtually any fresh snow, leaving us with icy hills to ski and dreams of what could have been. So, next stop Bariloche, Argentina. After parting ways with the Euros, Cody and I flew to Mendoza, and spent a day checking out the heart of Argentina’s wine country. A day of wandering the beautiful city, taste testing the delicious and delightfully cheap wine and eating Argentina’s famous meats helped prepare us for our 22-hour bus ride down to Bariloche. Situated in the northern Patagonia region, Bariloche and the ski resort Cerro Catedral are a spectacle to be seen. Cody and I were more fortunate here, with fresh snow and fun lines to ski at our disposal. After a few days of developing a fondness for this area, we had to begin the long journey home. After a 27-hour bus ride (our bus broke down for a few hours), and a day in the gorgeous city of Buenos Aires, we were on our flight home.

What an exciting adventure it was! I can’t wait to go back next summer…

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