3,600-Mile Patagonia to Antarctica Safari | Day #4 = Coyhaique, Chile → Puerta Rio Tranquila, Chile | Skiing El Fraile & The Ripping Winds of Cerro Castillo

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions ReportTrip ReportTrip Report

Report from October 7, 2023

On Saturday we got up and out of the house early. 

We’d wanted to ski off the mountain pass near Cerro Castillo, but the weather was heinous…

Ripping winds, pouring rain, and poor visibility.

Day #4 Details:

  • Miles Driven:  184
  • Total Miles Driven: 714
  • Hours of Driving:  4.16
  • Latitude:  44.3ºS to 46.6ºS
  • Good Food Eaten:  Casa de la Bruja – Ceviche – Salmon in a bowl with sauce – spectacular
  • Lodging: Bahia de los Exploradores – great spot
Cerro Castillo. image: snowbrains

We changed our plans to skiing the little local ski hill called El Fraile.

El Fraile had announced they’d be open for skiing and riding for the weekend so we thought we’d give it a go and get some local ski culture.

The road up the mountain was windy, dirt, and empty.

El Fraile ski area, Chile. image: snowbrains

Not a single car was encountered.

In the 40-car parking lot,

Team up! image: snowbrains

There were exactly zero cars.

Something was amiss…

We assumed it was due to the pissing rain and howling wind.

Casa de la Bruja. image: snowbrains

They must have called an audible and kept the joint closed due to the rough weather.

We slapped on our skins and headed up.

The wind was vicious.

Apres ski! image: snowbrains

Pushing us backward at times.

The rain wasn’t too bad, thankfully.

At the top of the T-bar we ripped skins and dropped in.

Library in Puerta Rio Tranquila. image: snowbrains

The skiing was OK up top, then real sticky in the trees, then just abysmal down low.

Sticky, weird, and wet.

There was no talk of a 2nd run.

Sasha. image: snowbrains

We loaded up, changed our clothes, and headed south.

We drove up over the pass near Cerro Castillo where we’d wanted to ski and we could see that the snow there was horrible, but the sun was shining.

The zone is epic.

Windy AF. image: snowbrains

We already have plans to come back and ski the heck outta this zone someday soon.

The wind ripping through the Cerro Castillo valley was impressive.

It was picking up the dirt along the river’s banks and throwing it upstream for miles…

Cerro Castillo. image: snowbrains

This was one of the coolest roads I’ve ever been on in my life.

A winding dirt road along a twisting river with some of the most inspiring terrain I’ve seen.

Eventually, we made it to the 2nd largest lake in South America:  General Carrera.

The Pass. image: snowbrains

We struggled but suceeded in finding a nice cabana and a uber helpful manager there named Janet (from Colombia).

We booked passage in the morning to drift into the famous marble caves there.

Janet sent us to the “Casa de la Bruja” for dinner and oh my…

Big terrain. image: snowbrains

The food was sensational.

We were in the middle of nowhere eating gormet cuisine for a minimal cost.

I got a salmon dish in a bowl with sauce that blew my mind.

Everyone’s food was succulent.

From there we hit the sack with dreams of marble caves in our heads.

3,600-Mile Patagonia to Antarctica

Road/Boat Trip 2023


T shack. image: snowbrains
Want to ski this someday… image: snowbrains
Apres ski! image: snowbrains
Casa de la Bruja. image: snowbrains

Casa de la Bruja. image: snowbrains
Casa de la Bruja. image: snowbrains
Miss Erica. image: snowbrains

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