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El Colorado Trip Report
The opening of El Colorado marked the first day of Andean skiing and snowboarding for the 2003 season. The snow and conditions did not disappoint. El Colorado had a good part of the mountain open, and the conditions were primarily packed powder. After last week's first storm of the season, base depths are a solid 40 to 50 cm .
 
 

 
  byBrian Passikoff, 2003

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!

[Opening Day Photos]

 



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