A little peek from things down south
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Swimmer
August 19, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
143 posts
It's gonna take me forever to get things organized for a descent presentation on our trip to Patagonia. However, I know people enjoy a little mid summer stoke, so here is a peek of our trip. I took 150 digital shots and 350 slide pictures. This album is only 40 pics or so so it may be just enough of a tease not to turn into a bore.

I'll bump the thread when I get things a bit more involved.

Steve

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/firemt/album?.dir=/6cb9&.src=ph
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
August 19, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Nice shots. Catedral looked sweet.
Roy
August 19, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
I can feel the chill coming now. Thanks for the pictures. Cute kids by the way.

I hope you don't mind. I will probably take a picture and make it my desktop. Great pics of the mountaintops
Swimmer
August 19, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
143 posts
I don't mind you using my pics for a background on the PC..actually flattered. Only trouble is that yahoo photo album isn't loading up a high enough resolution. I just tried it out and it looks like crud compared to my straight from pc transition (not computer savvy, please forgive the lack of technical jargon).

Anyways..email me with what picture you like and I'll email the image to you. Gives a much better image (i hope)

steve
firemt@yahoo.com
DCSki Sponsor: Seven Springs Mountain Resort
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
August 19, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Swimmer:

Can you comment on the snow at Catedral? Was it wet and heavy or more on the dry side? How about the marked runs? What was the average vertical? How were the lifts, food, etc?

I guess we'd love a little more verbiage to go with the great shots...
Swimmer
August 19, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
143 posts
I'm still pounding out a trip report for the whole shindig. Being that the trip was a month long, covering a lot of different aspects, it's taking me a lot of editing and revisions.

In short, the snow was fairly wet and heavy. Even on the days of freshies, it was a far cry from Cold Rocky Mountain Smoke. However, it still was great to be dropping knee deep powder in Patagonia, tele style, in August.

Prices were cheaper than here, I have a list somewhere written down. Heli ski is an option for an arm and a leg. Food was more expensive on the resort, just like here, but the price was still cheap to this Gringo. Quality was maybe a little better, or maybe just the view made it taste better. Standard fare, heavy on the meat products. They love their cow down there. Beef and wine are all local with no mass production.

The resort advertised somewhere around 3500 feet vertical. In the beginning of the trip, the bottom 400 vert did not have snow coverage, so top to bottom run was not an option. Luckily a weather system moved in and fixed that problem. However, the pistes did not flow from top to bottom. You would start in the upper bowls, get funneled into a cat road, around to a cleared field, with the option to play in some tight trees (steep tight trees that I have no pictures of). Eventually you flush out the bottom on one cat road or the other. You do have the option of course to cruise straight down the mountain, but that's considered off piste, not groomed, and I don't have the skill for the conditions that were presented. Other than the cat roads, there weren't really that many marked trails. Mostly open fields and bowls and you just made your own fancy. A few places they would mark a path with flags, color coded with the same markings as here for difficulty level. But those were more of a general indicator, not "the only" way down.

The people, while nice, have no concept of lift ques. It's a dog eat dog mentality that will wear on your last nerve. If you leave an inch of space in front of yourself, someone will force themselves into it. It's fair game to ski over other peoples' skis. More than once I had to really resist the urge to start popping bindings on the people around me. On the last run of my last day, I actually got pushed over. I lost my temper and let it be known to all around me that I was not pleased. I was too tired to be pushed around like a sheep into a butcher shop. Still a nice run though.

They don't have a heavy grooming policy up there. In fact, I didn't see any corduory. They would take the snow cat down the cat roads to grade those back into shape after the drifting/blowing snow would threaten to close them off but other than that, the snowplowing Brasilians in one piece snow suits kept the main drags fairly mogul free. Off of the main drags things were anywhere from chopped mashed potatos to creamy silk, to a firm yet carvable windpacked powder. If you don't mind hiking a little for the goods, it was pretty easy to find untracked every day. The winds were tough to deal with, not allowing the mountain to be fully open a good portion of the days. I ski tele and packed my skins, so I had my choice of where to ski on any given day, based on my energy, time table, and avy conditions. As much as I wanted to wander into a couple of bowls, the little avy awareness I have recieved was screaming at me to stay clear.

All in all, in a good snow year, this place would keep you amused for a week easy, probably not hitting the same run twice. The list of lifts and pomas are extensive, I want to say around 35 total if they have everything running. It's forty minutes by public bus from town (85 cents USD one way or about 9 bucks USD via taxi) There is lodging there at the resort but town is so much more interesting at night. Huge night life that goes on until dawn (sunrise is around 9 am this time of year).

I don't think I would go back just to ski only. It's a beautiful area and I would to hook up with some b/c savvy folks and explore it all. My wife and I made some great friends and their language school was top notch. But all that will be covered in a more detailed trip report.

Well worth the trip and I'll be back. However, if I was a skier looking to burn some turns on primo fluff and that was my only objective I may look elsewhere such as outside of Santiago, Chile or down in Ushuai. (Tierra de Fuego).

Steve
Murphy
August 19, 2005
Member since 09/13/2004
618 posts
Quote:

I don't mind you using my pics for a background on the PC..actually flattered. Only trouble is that yahoo photo album isn't loading up a high enough resolution. I just tried it out and it looks like crud compared to my straight from pc transition (not computer savvy, please forgive the lack of technical jargon).




Your pics deserve high-res. You can try Webshots if you want to have high-res pics in your album. The free service limits the number of photos to 250 (I think) but not the size of the photos. They say they limit the daily upload to 5 but I downloaded over 40 without a problem.
MadMonk
August 19, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004
235 posts
I know it's been a long week when for some reason I read Patagonia as "Panorama" and kept thinking to myself that that was some great coverage for August in Canada.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
August 20, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Great report Swimmer. One only needs to ski abroad to appreciate certain aspects of the American ski experience--namely, our "generally" orderly lift lines. In Eastern Europe, it was the same deal, but people actually took their skis off for a chairlift or Poma line so as to be able to better push their way through the mob. FRUSTRATING! Western Europe is better because the lifts are newer and the lines, shorter. Nevertheless, no resorts there create orderly lines with roped lanes and a line Czar similar to what we see here. Instead, everyone just funnels to a single line at the end. I suppose the Europeans think that any type of imposed order on a liftline would reek of being American, and would therefore be uncool. The funny thing is that what Europeans like most about skiing here, besides the great snow, is the calm, orderly lines. I don't get it.
Roger Z
August 20, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Swimmer those photos were amazing. I'm hooked and ready to move to Chile now. Your kid is adorable too- looks like he had a blast.

Your photos from the top of Catedral- I believe- looking down to the water were incredible. Backcountry looks every bit as spectacular as backcountry out west or in Europe. Must have been a spectacular time. Are you fluent in Spanish? How much working knowledge of the language should you have before going down that far south in Chile?
Swimmer
August 20, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
143 posts
Primary trip to Bariloche was to take Spanish classes, immersion style. We attended a school called La Montana ( www.lamontana.com ) Class consisted of 4 hours a day, five days a week, maximum of four students per teacher, but in the winter, it's not uncommon to be solo 1:1 (fewer students).

I didn't speak a word of spanish, nor did my wife. Now, after a month down there, I think our baby learned more in his daycare. Seriously, I found it difficult to learn the language in an immersion program, like drinking from a firehose. However, I feel "ok" about getting around and making sure I can find a place to sleep and eat. If you want to learn, and have the mindset for it, I highly recommend doing the immersion program with a homestay family. You'll be speaking spanish in no time. Either that or you'll go hungry and be lost

It's not like Europe, they don't speak English everywhere. They don't get it in school, and there is no effort by the government to spread the english language. Most of the tourism that far south is from Latin American countries. Therefore, spanish or porteguses is the language of choice. The people are nice about it and are patient. A smile and body language will get you a good distance.

Steve
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
August 22, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Swimmer, looove the pics. I was unable to get my act together for a South Am trip this year as my friends who had promised to go with me couldn't get going on time and I had to canx. Vicariously, I found the Cerro Catedral pix absolutely awesome and next year I will be there alone or whatever...

On the other hand, and frankly, I was put off by the demonstration of what is nowadays, normal US Public Diplomacy... The Southern Cone is culturally a part of Europe, not a part of Latin America as we think of it. And their adherence to queues is about the same as Europeans. I wasn't there but I know your blowing your temper at the lift line will have the opposite long-term effect, besides making you feel good for a minute and giving you an "I showed them" adrenaline rush. They have no concept of a queue as we know it or that not making one can be an obnoxious practice for us. So they probably went home scratching their head and remarking how boorish, unpolite and petulant North Americans can be...
jimmy
August 22, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Swimmer, thanks for the stoke, "only 40 pics" man they are great.

OTOH, You are one "ugly american". Next time just give someone a hip check, i just hope we don't have to send the state dept down there to straighten things out.

Lou, where u bin,? I've missed you
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
August 22, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Hello there Jimmy, been canoeing and kayaking in the Eastern Fork of Long Island, and besides, with the weather the way it's been, it allows time to catch up on personal stuff before the next hurricane comes along and puts me on 16-hr work schedule...

Is the casino all dried up from last year?
jimmy
August 22, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

......... the next hurricane comes along and puts me on 16-hr work schedule...

Is the casino all dried up from last year?




Yup, two floods in three months, not so good for them. I dodged the second flood, first one got us though. You planning an adventure on the Ohio or should I be moving to higher ground?
Swimmer
August 22, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
143 posts
Quote:


I wasn't there but I know your blowing your temper at the lift line will have the opposite long-term effect, besides making you feel good for a minute and giving you an "I showed them" adrenaline rush. They have no concept of a queue as we know it or that not making one can be an obnoxious practice for us. So they probably went home scratching their head and remarking how boorish, unpolite and petulant North Americans can be...




Thank you for the kind words about the pictures. It's my pleasure to share them with folks and am flattered that people like them.

I'd like to take a quick moment to address the issue of being a boorish, unpolite American and my reported moment of adrenaline...I had no intent of showing anyone that "I got them" when I cursed. I did not yell at anyone in particular, nor did I seek retribution or do anything untowards humans in general except yell a couple of curse words as I hit the ground. I did not mean to yell, it was not an intentional point trying to be made, simply a reaction to the events surrounding me. I was dehydrated, tired, had not eaten since breakfast, and it was around 4:30 in the afternoon, after skinning up a couple of runs that were above the lifts. It's not my customary act to be a boorish impolite American. In fact, I travel, stay with homestay families and take language classes in an attempt to learn about other cultures. My wife and I both agree on this concept and hope to pass it on to our 2 year old son.

As I hit the ground and the words came out of my mouth, I was embarressed, yet exhausted and fed up with the constant push of people that gain nothing. As I am to accept the cultures of others, I do believe that life should be a two way street. I am not yapping on my cell phone, throwing cigarette butts all over their beautiful landscape, commenting on the peoples' lack of ability to give a little personal space, I am not verbal about my displeasure of having my ski top sheets stood on, skied over, or having poles poke and scratch them. I don't push back when people elbow their way through and when it comes to finally get through the turnstile, I yield. In my culture, it's called civility. As I am to accept theirs, I do expect some understanding of mine. I am doing nothing to be a boorish, impolite American outside of a slip of the tongue when my tired fanny hit the hardpack. Have you ever accidently hurt yourself, like hit your thumb with a hammer? Did a bad word come out? Did that word have a long term negative affect on those around you?

Sometimes in this one dimensional communication method of cyber space, I find it difficult to get a point across, or communicate myself in an effective, clear, personable way. I re read my originial post and I can easily see how someone may misconstrue what I wrote as me making a scene. I also realize that I don't believe to have met any of you in person, so it's hard to include character into the writing style. I apologize for not making my story of Bariloche a bit more reader friendly.

Some day I'll actually get the rest of my slides scanned in and a report hacked out. Maybe the finished polished edition will portray this NorteAmericano in a more polite and understanding light.

Steve
JohnL
August 22, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Swimmer,

I saw nothing wrong with what you originally posted concerning the free for all at the lifts. I've heard countless similar descriptions.

Thanks for the trip reporting and pictues! Great stuff.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
August 22, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
You have a wonderful attitude... My hat off to you on your endeavors, and I think your children will learn exemplary cultural sensitivity. I hope they can pass it on to their generation as you show you can pass it to ours. And Spanish is not that hard to master... sure.....

I am both a foreign-born american and a retired US military officer (on a second career with the Feds) who lived abroad in the service of our country for over half of my life. Someone upstairs named God, Allah, Adonai, Buddah, Chango, Zoroaster or Cosmic Muffin has taken good care of me and allowed me to see the world, literally. And in both my official and personal travels in well over half the countries of the earth, I've seen the greatness of US citizens in some of the most amazing displays of philanthropy and generosity, as well as the most unbelievable displays of ignorance and prejudice against nationals of another country, even in THEIR country. So forgive me for being overly sensitive having been on both sides of the coin.

Both Argentina and Chile are two of my favorite places on the planet. The Texas-sized Patagonia is an unbelievable sight, especially towards the mountains... Ranches the size of Rhode Island, incomparable views in San Carlos de Bariloche or Torres del Paine, memorable classical architecture and the most refined culture in Buenos Aires that would be hard to match for even New York or Montreal. Santiago de Chile had a full-blown University a hundred years before Harvard was a figment of someone's imagination. Together with that, there are some differences between our cultures that create friction in cultural, business and diplomatic avenues... The concept of time and punctuality is one of those, for example... I guess the way to approach it is with a positive attitude, although I realize that after ruining the top of your skis, it is hard to keep a smile...

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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