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El Colorado Trip Report
Today was a perfect day. The skiing was just about as good as it gets. The night before I arrived, a strong snow storm covered the slopes with two feet of light dry powder. As dawn broke, the skies cleared and eventually became deep blue. Temperatures were comfortable, and snow remained dry all day.

  byBrian Passikoff, 1997

My flight from New York arrived in Santiago early in the morning. Because of the previous night's precipitation, Santiago's usual layer of smog was absent.

I took a van from the airport to Ski Total, a company that transports skiers to the mountain. At $12.50 round trip, it is a great deal. As I waited to depart, dawn broke. Without pollution, the view of the Andes was spectacular.

The ride to the slopes was treacherous, but luckily we arrived without incident. Even with chains on our van's tires, we slipped on several hairpin turns. A few nervous passengers quietly gasped each time we lost control. But the magnificent views made the frightening parts of the drive easy to forget.

Few skiers and snowboarders were at El Colorado. In this respect, it was a typical early season weekday. The vast quantities of early season snow were, however, an unusual delight. The lucky few who were on the slopes had a choice day. I did not witness anyone who left without a smile.

Most lifts and slopes opened during the day. The one exception was the steep Cono Este, whose powder would remain untracked for at least another day. Skiers and riders still had an excellent choice of powder stashes. The first I discovered was off the Condor lift. This highly accessible powder had fresh lines for most of the day. Many other parts of the mountain also had fresh powder lines all day.

One favorite run was El Avion. The terrain here is long and steep. Access is over an easy traverse. Powder lines were endless. Another excellent run was Cornisa. This was the steepest run open. Each turn in the powder here led to face shots.

To end the day I took some cruisers on the groomed slopes. The distances were long, and my legs could hardly take it after skiing powder all day. But it was hard to quit skiing on this amazing day. When I finally put my skis away in the van, I easily decided this was one of the best ski days ever.


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