It will not stop snowing in Bariloche, Argentina. Today the storm came in with so much wind it shut down nearly the entire mountain at about 1pm. The wind up high was blowing a constant 40mph, which made walking on the ridge-lines an interesting endeavor.
Catedral impressively got the highest chair, Nubes, open by about 11am after the whole mountain opened late at about 10am due to the strong winds. Nubes had amazingly smooth, wind-buffed snow, about 4-6 inches deep, with a harder, icy layer underneath. There was no one out.
We skied 6 laps before they closed and we were laughing our heads off. It was backcountry skiing from a chairlift. We had the place to ourselves and the skiing was fast and fun. Visibility was tough at times, but when it was good, you could haul ass.
One run before they closed Nubes for the high wind, we ran into Niki Salencon (4th place overall on the Freeride World Tour in 2014). We ripped a lap with him and then he invited us to ski a secret chute with him. Once the chair closed, we set off.
Niki dropped first and the snow was dense, responsive, and quick. The chute was tight with a section you had to straight-line right into a large rock wall. A hard right bank turn shot you out onto a smooth apron and a playfully sharp wind-spine. Short, dynamic, thrilling, fun.
We hiked back to the ski resort to see everything closed. Niki wanted to do it again, but it was 2pm, we were satisfied, and we decided to call it a day.
Tomorrow is the last day of ski resort operations before they trim down to just the Amancay gondola and the Diente de Caballo chairlift. Catedral will remain open until Oct. 15th for beginners and tourist only.
Tomorrow will be our last report from Catedral. It’s been an amazing September here and we’re sad to see it close, but we’ve got absolutely zero complaints. What an amazing summer at Catedral.
There was certainly some avy danger out there today. Wind was transporting snow rapidly, which is a big red flag. It was warm, and there was new snow. Two more red flags. Our test pits revealed 6 inch deep wind slab in spots and all kinds of bizarre wind deposited layers that reacted differently every pit, but all reacted. It wasn’t a great day to be in the backcountry avalanche-wise. That said, from what we saw, we felt the avy danger was generally in wind loaded pockets near the ridge lines. We saw some very small, isolated cracking in the surface windslab and no avalanches.