A monster storm descended on Bariloche, Argentina this week. It came in on Monday night, raged on Tuesday, and nuked perfect blower powder today.
Ripping winds and heavy snow closed Catedral ski resort Tuesday and the snow hasn’t stopped since. Today, the winds abated but the snow intensified. This would be an impressive storm at any time of year, but this late in the season, it’s an unexpected gift. This traditionally prime spring skiing time and Catedral will only be fully open another week before they switch to their trimmed dwon spring operations until closing in mid-October.
This morning at Catedral, winds were calm, the cold was intense, and the snowfall was light. As the morning progressed the spring sun fought its way through the clouds enough to warm things up quickly. But, in true Patagonian fashion the weather changed in a heartbeat. Suddenly, the wind picked up, the snow starting flying, and the temperature dropped.
By 4pm today, temperatures were about as low as they get around here and over a foot of new, blower snow had fallen. Every run we skied was fresher, drier, and colder than the run before.
I started the day hiking up Nubes to find heavily wind scoured slopes with icy patches and powder patches. After a lap there I headed to La Laguna hoping to find better snow in Laguna’s more wind protected zone.
On the way over, I ran into my buddy Aaron and skinned up to Laguna. The first lap was creamy, dense, slightly sun affected snow that was a dream to ski. During the next Laguna lap the heavy snow arrived. By the 4th and 5th lap we were getting slammed with faceshots and laughing like wild men.
An uber cold storm with blower powder this late in the season is kind of ridiculous. We still have at least one more day of this storm, temps are forecast to stay cold, and we couldn’t be happier. This is the ideal ending to a fun South American ski season. Of the 8 weeks I’ve spent in Bariloche, 4 of them will have involved powder. Not bad.
Our tests showed good bonding between old and new snow layer. There were spots with a 1-5″ deep wind slab on top of the new snow. We skied small isolated pockets all day and avoided large slopes. Avalanche bombs on Nubes this morning caused no avalanches. We saw no avalanches nor cracking today.