Passikoff, June 18, 2003
I arrived on Tuesday for a short
but sweet two days of riding. My lodging was at the basic but comfortable
Inca Lodge. At Portillo all lodging is slopeside, and that makes
for very convenient access to the mountain. The weather for my two
days was not perfect, as it remained cloudy. Fortunately winds were
calm, and temperatures were moderate.
My first runs on Tuesday were under the Plateau lift.
The grooming here was phenomenal. With the white light, visiblity
could have been better. However, the grooming was so good, I felt
confident letting my board rip some high-speed cruisers.
The powder under the Condor slingshot lift was ok.
Having had been open to skiers and riders for the past five days,
the snow was tracked. Nevertheless I had a good time on the steeps
of the La Garganta chute.
The cruisers under the Juncalillo lift were fun.
The grooming was nearly as good at the Plateau area. However, the
Juncalillo run is the longest on the mountain, and its terrain is
diverse with several turns and dips. An added bonus is the ride
back up, as you cross the international highway several times, and
you get to wave to the distracted truck drivers.
My real bliss came with the opening of Roca Jac on
Wednesday morning. The powder was untouched, and I made run after
run of fresh tracks. My only company was a half dozen snowboarders
and a couple of skiers. By the afternoon, it was just three of us.
The chute to the rider's right of Roca Jac is especially gnarly.
Several of the snowboarders were catching some big air off of the
rocks before a soft landing in the powder.
The Inca Lodge was a great deal. Though I just stayed
for the night, for most of the season, you can stay a full week
for US$420, including lift ticket, meals and lodging. This past
week the Inca Lodge hosted guests from at least four different continents.
Lodging is bunk-dormitory style, but guests have access to all the
hotel amenities including the pool and gym.
While Portillo has terrain for all ability
levels, the steeps rank among the best in South America. I will
definitely be back!