Skiing In the Andes

Run a marathon – check
Go sky diving – check
Ski in the Andes – check

Yesterday, Saturday, we went skiing in the Andes. There were 5 of us in all. Neil, from Australia who is working down here on another project. I met his wife, Annette, at my Spanish school. Annette is currently back in Australia so we invited Neil, who has never skied, to join us. Ariana and Daniel are two other students at the Spanish school. Ariana is from Michigan and is in college. Daniel is from Colorado and is going to attend Harvard in September. They had skied only once or twice before.

We all met at Ski Total on Apoquindo Avenue, not far from David’s office, at 7:00 AM. There we rented goggles, ski parkas, ski pants, gloves, ski boots, skis and poles, bought our round trip fare and ski lift ticket. The total for everything for one person was about $140 or so.

At 8:00 AM we loaded into our van and headed up to Valle Nevado, one of the three ski areas. It was an amazing journey just getting to the ski area! It takes two hours, one way and most of that is up the side of the mountain. Now, Valle Nevado is 12,000 ft above sea level. The mountain road is narrow and someone told me that there were approximately 70 switchbacks. Thank goodness, I bought some motion sickness pills which I handed out to everyone! Getting to the ski resort, gave you a whole new appreciation for what it must have been like to get all the construction equipment up there to build the lifts, hotels, etc!

The day was beautiful and sunny. We actually had to peel off a couple of layers before hitting the slopes. It was fun skiing, but very different from the states as there are no trees at all on the trails. We met people on the chair lifts from all over. One man was from Brazil and he had been to school in Tennessee on an exchange program!! Another man and his daughter were from Italy and a man from Argentina who worked for Proctor and Gamble.

We had lunch at 1:00 and then went back out to ski until our departure time at 4:30. Unfortunately, the weather had changed while we were eating lunch. It was cloudy and at the wind had picked up. The skiing really became a challenge as it was very difficult to determine where you were going. I don’t know if it is the lack of trees, but it was difficult to gauge if you were headed for a steep trail or if it was flat. Plus, a couple of times, the wind blew so hard it was like skiing in a white out. The skiing became too much work, we were tired and after only 2 runs, we called it quits.

I think the ride down the moutnian was more worse that the trip up! It was like going down a bobsled run!! Thank goodness for the sharp turns so our driver had to break once in awhile! As you can imagine, the traffic was amazing….between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM, everyone is going one way on the road up to the ski resort. Between 5:00 PM to whenever, the traffic is heading one way down the mountain. They are fairly good drivers down here, but still passing on those roads was a little scary!

We were tired when we arrived back at the rental office around 7:00 PM. David and I decided that we needed a Pisco Sour or two to end a fun day. So, we bought the ingredients for Pisco Sours on our way home. I tasted the Pisco straight and it taste much like Scotch to me, except it has the punch of Tequila!! After a couple of those and a full day of skiing, we slept like babies!

Oh, I did take pictures, but I took them on a disposal camera that I bought down here. I didn’t know if they had lockers at the lodge, so didn’t take my camera. The disposable camera has a roll film…I guess disposable digital cameras haven’t made it here yet. If I can get a CD of my pictures, when I get them developed down here, I will upload them onto my webshots page.

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