A potent, windy storm was clobbering Cerro Catedral ski resort in Bariloche, Argentina when I arrived this morning. It was snowing at the bottom and nuking wind up top. All that wind had the upper mountain lifts closed until about 10:00am. Once the lifts opened and I charged up in search of fresh snow.
(it’s supposed to snow and blow like this for the next 5 days straight…)
I made it to the upper mountain, hiked to the top of Nubes (chair was closed due to high wind), and grinned.
The hike was wild with a few wind gusts that nearly knocked me flat. I stumbled up the mountain like a drunk man. There’s something about nuking winds on a mountain ridge that just pumps me up and makes me feel ALIVE. I absolutely love it.
From the top of Nubes I dropped into to 2-6″ of new, heavily wind buffed snow. Turns were creamy, dense, and fun.
I zipped back to the lift laughing and electrified.
As I was about to get on the lift, I could feel the wind building. The lift whistled and shook in response. I knew they were about to close the entire mountain and was itching to get one more run. I made it on the chair just in time.
The chair ride was rowdy, to say the least, and they had to stop the chair over and over due to huge wind gusts. Maybe the windiest lift ride of my life… I loved it. They guys I was with were diggin’ it, too. We were screaming at each other, telling stories, laughing. After a long ride, we made it to the top and I staggered up Nubes for another windy run.
Things had already changed. More snow, more wind, more slab. Not quite a wind slab yet, but one was certainly forming.
The next 5+ days we will be experiencing dangerous avalanche conditions in the Bariloche area. This storm is big, snowy, windy, and will be dropping lots of heavy snow. Avalanches will be occurring in the coming days. Please be safe, smart, and prudent out there.
After checking the snowpack, I skied down Nubes laughing and hooting. I stopped in a safe zone above the Triple Park chair and just enjoyed the wind, flashing sunlight, and wind buffed scenery for a while. Two patrollers passed and let me know the entire mountain was closed and went on their way. One thing I love about South America: total freedom to do whatever you want.
I was able to ski nearly all the way down to the base of the mountain, which was key as the lines descend the chairs were long due to the sudden closure (upper mt. closed about 2:30pm).
46″ (118cms) of snow are forecast for Catedral’s upper mountain in the next 6 days. Should be a great week.
Cerro Catedral Snow Numbers:
- 3-8cms new snow past 24 hours
- Lower mountain snowpack: 7cms
- Mid-mountain snowpack: 65cms
- Upper mountain snowpack: 74cms