Yesterday was Catedral ski resort’s last day of the 2014 winter season. The last 7 days of operations were powder days here. They will keep the Amancay gondola and Diente de Caballo chair open until Oct. 15th, but they will only allow beginners and sightseers to load.
On Monday, it snowed hard and added up here. The wind blew like crazy and closed the mountain at 1pm. We knew things in the backcountry were going to be smooth and fresh today after the snow and wind, but the heat was a concern. Our plan was to hit Zebra Chute, a northeast facing couloir in the nearby backcountry.
This turned out to be the wrong call. Once we got into the backcountry, we realized that the north facing aspects were already trashed with roller balls and point release wet slides. The spring sun was flexing.
We modified our plans, conservatively skied the east aspects of Alaskita and bailed. South facing aspects were still holding great snow: about 5 inches of powder on top of a hard sun, wind, rain crust. Anything we skied that was south facing was great. The north facing stuff was kind of a nightmare with the top wet 5 inches sliding off and leaving us on hard ice. We skied a chute in the lower fingers of Alaskita and it was frighteningly hard and icy, but still kinda fun and challenging.
After the fingers, we got some great low angle powder turns down to the creek and had some laughs. All in all it was a great day.
We skinned back up to Catedral ski resort, rode a few more final Nubes laps, then parked ourselves at Refugio Lynch and had a couple beers in the sun with the most glorious view slamming us in the face. There was no wind, it was warm, and there were beers.
It was the perfect ending to a fantastic season here in Bariloche, Argentina. Can’t wait for next year. I’m off to Chile to surf for a month before a ski guiding trip to Antarctica in November. I’ll keep you updated here.