Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gringo Storm Saturday

      Another Saturday storm. As much I appreciate the snow gods' favor, they should know better. It's the weekend. Save the blizzard for Monday, Thursday, I don't care, and spare Portillo the only day it needs the road to be open. Fortunately, drivers brought out the chains and more than enough caravans braved the curves. It's a good week to be in Portillo, and guests tried hard to get here.

   To begin with, it's Wine Week (season calendar). Connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike are going enjoy nightly tastings of Chile's finest wines, each of which will be festively capped off with trivia and giveaways. I swear that that last part is classier than it sounds. Besides the anticipated vino fest, new guests have also been humming to ski what we expect to be 20 inches by tomorrow. Now that they're here, checked-in and cozy, they're happy. Between last week's gifting and tonight's addition, August conditions are looking hopeful. Total snowfall this season is still relatively low (~220 cm), so more is always good.

   The only problem I foresee is the commencement of gringo season. This week is a nationality overlap, with a mix of Peruvians, Brazilians and North Americans all arriving this afternoon. However, even the slight uptick in gringos means more skiers on Roca Jack, Cara Cara, and everywhere else I like to ski. The logic is simple: only serious skiers will trade Hawaii for Portillo, and the beach for the mountain. Those same skiers, if they're here, will also go immediately to the traverses. At the same time, I love seeing old dudes hollering down chutes. It's nice to share sometimes. Nobody wants to be greedy, and with so much good terrain, even a few gringos won't be able to shred it all.

    Below is the Santiago skyline from Wednesday morning. My feelings regarding cities haven't changed, but the view from my friend's apartment was stunning. The second photo needs little explanation. Valle Nevado is clearly ugly, flat and crowded.

All the people living here (Santiago)...

... are building property here (Valle Nevado)

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