A Blissful Week in the South American Andes

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Portillo is one incredible place.  Situated quite literally on the border of Chile and Argentina, the resort is located in the depth of the magnificent Andes.

Massive wet avalanche ripped down the Roca Jack an hour before arriving.

In bounds conditions:

It’s been about an week and a half since this part of the Andes has received any snowfall.  The snow pack is in a melt-freeze cycle with generally spring conditions throughout the day.

Jake enjoying the view.

The high traverse, accessed either from the Roca-Jack 5 man rope tow or the Cara-cara 4 man tow, has been closing consistently around 11am-12pm because of the warm conditions and a high risk of rockfall and wet snow avalanches. This is due mainly to the hang-fire above the terrain (vast rocky/snowy cliffs that warm up throughout the day and often create hazardous conditions).

The High Traverse

Today, Thursday August 1st, was a bit colder and the snow stayed fairly firm throughout the afternoon.  This created choppier, icier skiing conditions, but allowed the high traverse to be open all afternoon.

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The cooler conditions, however, yielded chalky snow on the highest eastern slopes of the resort and was a BLAST to ski.  It ain’t pow, but it ain’t bad either.

Backcountry conditions:

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Last Wednesday, Portillo’s backcountry was stunning with warm spring conditions.

We had a TON on fun; it was probably the best day of the trip.

Anything that received enough sunlight softened up and made shreddin’ steep trenches quite pleasing.  We boot packed up two, long, slightly slushy runs that day that personally made the trip for me.

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The best thing is, this week, Portillo is supposed to get 40cm (approximately 16 inches) of snow.  This caught the eye of the Solomon Freeski team that will be headed there for an awesome summer session.  Let the shredding begin.

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