The first part to skiing in Chile for Line-S and the Ski Club of Great Britain.
Arriving in Chile, I awoke from my nearly 24 hour long-haul flight to see the magnificent, sparkling peaks of the Andes Mountains, which usually at this time of year would only be a figment of my imagination. Having left the UK at the end of the summer to embark on another ‘year abroad’, naturally, my friends weren’t the slightest bit surprised when I told them that I was only an hour and a half away from the nearest ski resort and that the wine in this region is some of the best in the world.
I arrived at the end of August and with news that the snow was quickly melting, in my haste, I decided that my first weekend would be spent on skis… life admin can wait, I told myself.
I scoured the internet to try and find any information or any cheap deals; there are many all-inclusive trips that are run for students and foreigners, which includes transport, ski hire, lift pass and lunch for around $45,000 (which is usually how much a day lift pass in Valle Nevado costs). Unfortunately, I hadn’t enrolled quickly enough, so my best bet to go skiing the following day, was Ski Total, ironically, the same name as the company I worked for on my first ski season. Getting up at the crack of dawn didn’t seem so painful; I felt more like an overjoyed child on Christmas morning! I managed to get my ski hire, lift pass and transport sorted before 8:30am, and off I went, up the winding roads to the snow-capped mountains.
The ski rental shop, to my delight, had some old battered twin tips that I rented as I didn’t fancy lugging my own half way across the world. Despite the sun shining, it was absolutely freezing in the shade, and at times could be quite windy; so don’t let the sun lure you in to a false sense of warmth, even when the beginning of September is their equivalent of ‘spring skiing’.
Later on, I met some Chileans that kindly told me about the Chilean version of ‘Skibay’, where people sell cheap lift passes, old gear and offer lifts, therefore, making a quick trip up to the mountains a lot more affordable. The Facebook group “Compra venta Ski, Snowboard Surf y Articulos deportivos” is a blessing as well as a curse, as there are plenty of pairs of skis for sale… and if you’re anything like me, and you can’t help but ogle incessantly at nearly every pair of skis, then it’s most definitely a curse on the poor bank balance!
Phone a friend… Chilean phone companies, such as Movistar and Entel offer ski deals, sometimes even 2 for 1 ski passes on selected days. Booking in advance or booking lift passes online will also save you some extra pesos, which, most probably, will go towards the pisco fund.
I also picked up some useful ski vocabulary:
Nieve en polvo – Powder
La sopa – Slush
Hielo – Ice
Capa de nieve – Snow Cover
Un viento blanco – Whiteout
Aterrizar (Spanish) – To Land (a trick)
Caer (Chilean) – To Land
Sobrado, creido, presumido – A Show Off
Brígido (ch) – Sick!
Bacán! / La raja (Ch) – Cool/Awesome!
Buena onda! – Good Vibe!
Alquilar (esquís) – To Rent (skis)
Fijación del esquí – Bindings
Ajustar el peso del ski – DIN Settings
Cera para esquíes – Ski Wax
Las cotas /medidas – Measurements: Height, Width and Underfoot
Bordes/cantos – Edges
Mapa de pista – A Piste Map
Fuera de pista – Off Piste
- Los circos – Bowls
- Las cornisas – Cornices
- Un acantilado – Cliff
- Bañera/bache/bumps – Moguls
Riesgo de avalancha (alto/bajo) – Avalanche Risk
Una arva (Aparato de rescate de víctimas de avalanche) – Transceiver
Una palas – Shovel
Sistema ABS AIRBAG seguridad – ABS Pack
La boleteria – Ticket Office
- Ticket dia/media dia – Full Day or Half Day
- Temporada baja/alta – Low Season or High Season
Cuidado! – Watch Out!
Peligro! – Danger!