Friday's weather was pleasant, with sun and comfortable
temperatures around 5 to 10 degrees Celsius. With a temperature
inversion in Santiago, this was a nice change of pace. While the
city was covered with layers of fog, smog and clouds, skies were
sunny at El Colorado. The weather could hardly have been better
for opening day.
Beyond a short note on their Web site, El Colorado
had done little advertising for opening day. This was good, as I
was looking forward to some uncrowded fresh tracks. As it turned
out, however, Friday was the official opening day. Unofficially
the mountain opened briefly on Thursday afternoon, and lift access
was free. Nevertheless, fresh snow was still to be found on the
mountain on Friday, and the mountain was open to the summit for
the full day .
My day started with a run from the top of the Leon
chair. While the groomers had to be careful not to stir up too much
of the early base, the packed powder conditions of the Leon Sur
run were still quite good.
My next run was on the ungroomed Leon Norte. I was
happy to be snowboarding, as my board cut through the one-week crust
with ease. While Thursday's boarders had cut the first tracks, this
was still a lot of fun - especially for opening day.
I then headed up to the top of the Condor lift. Here
the snow was driest and deepest. The powder, while also cut up the
day before, was still soft under my board. From the top of Condor,
you have a great view of Valle Nevado. While that resort has not
yet opened for the season, the lifts were turning for some pre-season
preparations. Snow depths at Valle's higher elevation looked even
deeper than at El Colorado. La Parva, the resort on the other side
of the mountain, also looked like it should be in great shape for
its opening day.
The terrain was varied enough to make for an
enjoyable day. I took several runs off of each open lift. By the
end of the day, I was happy for the return of another Andean snow
season, and I'm looking forward to many more days on the snow!