The past 5 days have been full on at Catedral ski resort in Bariloche, Argentina. Somewhere around 130 inches of snow has fallen on the upper mountain between August 3rd & August 7th and no one had touched it. Today, we finally got to sample the goods up top and they were… good to OK.
There was a bit of a 4 inch thick crust in spots and other spots were soft and wind buffed. Nowhere on the mountain was it “deep” today. Some places had that perfect wind blown snow that you could mach on top of. Some places had a funky crust that must have formed from it getting warm yesterday afternoon. When you found the right zones, the speed was smile-evoking.
Nubes skied the best today. The Nubes chair stayed closed all day today (the only chair to do so) and the hike up from the Punta Nevada chair wasn’t bad. We did two laps up there where the wind had blown in snow on top of the crust making turns creamy and light.
We also skied one lap in the Palmera trees. We were blown away by how much heavier and crustier it was than yesterday at 4pm when we last hit it. It was goodish, but we didn’t return. A friend of mine, Federico, hit it at 4pm today, and said was pretty miserable by then.
La Laguna skied 2nd best today. Laguna has completely transformed since we saw it last week. Most every line in there goes and the boys were getting after it today. The snow in Laguna had the crust and some of the wind blown snow and was pretty good in spots, but nothing special. Landings were certainly punchy and not many landings were exactly ‘stuck.’
The wind was really rippin’ at times today. At the top of Nubes, you could lean into it. In La Laguna, it would be perfectly calm, then the wind would scream through and knock you over. You could see it coming as it always had snow with it. You’d see it from across the mountain, it’d pick up more snow, and just slam into you for 30 seconds bringing you to your knees at times. Many a snow whirlwind tore across the mountain today. Never have I seen as many snow whirlwinds as I have here at Catedral.
Tomorrow looks like a toss up. The forecast shows partly cloudy, then snow. By 4pm today, it appeared that Nubes was getting completely blown back in by the wind. My best bet for good skiing tomorrow will be Nubes early and hopefully it’ll stay closed again. If it stays closed, it’ll stay fresh longer. If it opens, it’ll all get ripped very quickly.
If anyone ever tells you that people don’t ski off the groomers in Argentina, you can look them directly in the eyes and say “you’re wrong.” Maybe before fat skis, but now, these guys and gals are on it and they’ll gobble up powder like alfajores dipped in Fernet.
The weekend looks snowy and a touch warmer than we’d like to see. Hopefully the weekend storm is cooler than forecasted.
Overall, I’d say that throughout this storm, yesterday was the best day of ‘em all. The Palmera trees were exquisit yesterday. Best tree skiing I’ve ever had is in that forest and yesterday wasn’t the best day I’ve had in there, but it was hoot-at-your-buddies fun.
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