01 June 2008
El Primer Día
At long last the wait is over. My breathing has returned to a regular rhythm. The shaking has stopped. My mind is clear. It's wintertime in Chile once again. And away we go.
The first day out was simple enough yet entirely rewarding. We headed to Farellones to check out the snow conditions, stretch our legs a bit, and take in some sun. What we were offered as a bonus were crystal clear skies, no wind, and deep snow. The plan was to climb El Colorado and hop off the backside wall known locally as Santa Teresa.
El Colorado is Julián's home turf and he arranged a meeting with Olivier, a French ex-pat who lives, quite literally, on the Farellones ski resort and spent the last twenty odd years teaching at both the El Colorado and Valle Nevado ski schools. Earlier in the week, Julián sent this picture he found on Big Lines of the Santa Teresa wall taken from a helicopter.
El Colorado's top cone is somewhat hidden in the white of the long plateau. The line we skied is along one of the spines just about mid-picture. The bottom road switchbacks up the hill and ends at Valle Nevado.
Here's Los Tres heading up the Farellones resort with Santiago far, far, far away. From left to right: Andres, Julián, and Olivier with the snowboard.
"This town is coming like a ghost town." Oh, the emptiness of it all. In one week's time this place will be turned upside down. Until then, all ours. Heading up El Colorado with La Parva underneath the sun.
On a clear day you can see forever and ever. The edge of the resort and the end of all things ascending.
Andres the abominable snowman and his full frontal aggression. The Valle Nevado road waits for him at the bottom.
Somewhere about halfway down the wall, a lifetime still to go.
The support troops faithfully bringing up the rear.
Somewhere in the middle of all that there is a French guy having a bit of fun.
The elusive Andean snow chameleon make a run for it from his home in the rocks.
The snow man returneth and the completion of a fine, fine first tour.
We said goodbye to Olivier; Julián hauled Andres and I up to Valle Nevado for a gratuitous on-piste run; and we concluded the day by sharing the obligatory beers. By all accounts it should be a good season.
Fleet Foxes: White Winter Hymnal.mp3 from Fleet Foxes. Website, Buy
Reverend Jim Jones and the People's Temple Choir: Walk A Mile In My Shoes.mp3 Yes, that Jim Jones. Read about the recording on WFMU's Beware of the Blog.