Although recent storms around the country have improved skiing conditions considerably, this season as a whole has been one of the toughest in decades. Thanks for nothing, La Nina.
We certainly won’t blame you for pulling out the bicycles, the golf clubs and the kayaks—heck, that’s what we did this weekend as temperatures in Boulder reached the upper 70s—but don’t write this year off as a wash just yet. There’s no correlation between winter weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere and those below the Equator, which means this might be the year to pack your bags and head south.
It’s easier than you might think, especially with help from American tour operators who will not only book your flights, hotels and ground transportation but, best of all, will also set you up with expert guides who speak the language and know where South America hides her best stashes. If that’s not enticing enough, how about a little star power, like personalized instruction from Warren Miller athletes Ingrid Backstrom and Wendy Fischer or SKI instruction contributor Chris Fellows? The pros know: When the going gets tough, the tough go to South America. Here’s a sampling of what’s on offer from PowderQuest, NASTC, Extremely Canadian and more.
Ski Patagonia Instructional Adventure
Spend eight days touring Argentina’s best-known resorts and swankiest hotels, eating and drinking local specialties and improving your skiing. On non-ski days, take a snowfari through National Park Nahuel Huappi and the 7 Lakes
Areas visited: Bariloche (Alta Catedral), Chapleco, Villa La Angostura and San Martin de Los Andes
When: Eight days, Aug 12–19, 2012
Trip includes: Two bilingual ski instructors, lift tickets, daily ski instruction, lodging, breakfasts and dinners, transportation and airport transfers
Extremely Canadian World Ski Tours
Las Lenas is a magnet for North American freeskiers thanks to its 43,000 lift-served skiable acres, the most in the Western Hemisphere. Guides show clients the hidden nooks and crannies around the resort by day and then help immerse them in Argentine culture by night.
Areas visited: Las Lenas
When: Eight days, Aug. 18–25 and Aug. 25–Sept. 1, 2012
Price: $3,795, $3, 595
Trip includes: Six days of guiding and coaching, eight day lift pass, seven nights of lodging, breakfasts and dinner, snow safety seminar
Tailored to advanced and expert skiers with backcountry touring experience, this hut trip is led by certified ski guides and takes clients into Nahuel Huapi Park to experience Argentine scenery, food and untracked snow.
Areas visited: Touring focused trip that visits refugios outside of San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
When: Sept. 2–9, 2012; Sept. 16–23, 2-13
Trip includes: certified backcountry guides, avalanche safety review, lodging, all meals and transportation.
PowderQuest Women’s Freeride Ski Camp with Ingrid Backstrom
Intermediate and advanced women skiers fly into and out of Santiago, Chile, where they learn about Chilean wine and learn to tango. Then its off to the slopes where Backstrom teaches clients how to understand and manage tricky terrain and overcome mental barriers. The trip includes inbounds and out-of-bounds skiing with a focus on mountain awareness.
Areas visited: La Parva
When: Eight days, Aug 3–12, 2012
Trip includes: lift tickets, airport transfers, seven nights of lodging, breakfasts and dinners, morning yoga, tango dance lesson, a wine tasting, tour of Santiago and vineyard with lunch
Bonus: Learn about avalanche, mountain safety, and weather; discover how to find the best snow on the mountain; learn how to read the terrain and choose the best line for skiing; learn advanced freeride and control techniques; learn more about ski and backcountry equipment and how to choose what is best for you
Backpack (20-26 liter) with external harness straps for carrying skis
457 Khz avalanche transceiver
Avalanche snow shovel
NASTC Summer Skiing Adventure
Ask anyone about Portillo, and your bound to hear how magical it is. Ask NASTC’s Chris Fellows, and you might never hear the end of it. He and his crew of top instructors have been leading clinics in Portillo for nearly 20 years. NASTC’s clinic is three-pronged, focusing on technique, fitness and equipment.
Areas visited: Portillo
When: Eight days, Aug 17–26, 2012
Trip includes: Roundtrip ground transportation from Santiago, seven nights of lodging, four meals per day, seven-day lift ticket, six days of instruction in groups of six or less
Portillo’s Ski with the Stars Camp
For the seventh year, Chris Davenport, Mike Douglas, Ingrid Backstrom, Wendy Fisher and Chris Anthony coach and guide clients around the steep and deep slopes of Portillo followed by social evenings in Portillo’s intimate hotel.
Areas visited: Portillo
When: Eight days, Aug 11-18
Trip includes: Nightly slideshows and presentations, a gift bag, a DVD with images and video of each client’s skiing highlights
Portillo’s Insider’s Camp
Portillo’s ski school is one of the best in the world, and its best instructors are yours for the week. Leading the charge is ski school director and PSIA Alpine Team member Robin Barnes who helps intermediate and advanced skiers improve their skills and gain confidence. At day’s end, join the other Portillo guests for a wine tasting with local vintners, video analysis and presentations.
Areas visited: Portillo
When: Aug. 25–Sept. 1, 2012
Trip includes: Transfers to and from Santiago, six days instruction, private dinners, discount rentals, wine tastings and exclusive sessions with guest pros.