Termas de Chillan--July 1-10, 2006

Snow in July

Something I have wanted for as long as I can remember is to go to South America and ski during their winter (summer in North America) so I made sure that my trip coincided with the chance to ski. I met someone named Pui-Yee from the UK when I was in Ecuador and we hatched a plan to ski in Chile the first week of July. We decided on a place called Termas de Chillan which is about a 6 hour bus ride south of Santiago. We booked a nice resort and decided to live it up a little for the week as we hoped for good skiing.

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Mud skiing

The first day I was very excited about getting on the slopes but was soon disappointed when I saw the conditions. They had not had snow in a couple of weeks and what snow was left was on the top part of the mountain. This picture was taken from the lodge in the middle of the mountain. Usually you can ski in and out of this lodge but not at the start of the week. We had to walk up to the lodge if we wanted lunch and had to take a lift up to the snow at the top of the mountain.

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Icy conditions

As you can see from this picture, the snow that we did have at the top of the mountain was actually a sheet of ice. It was very frustrating, not to mention dangerous skiing on this. It was definitely not what I had in mind when I booked the trip. I guess it is the chance you take when you ski early in the season here.

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The Snow Finally Makes an Appearance

After 4 days of ice and mud, it started to rain. We took a trip into the city of Chillan about an hour away just to get away from the miserable conditions and then it finally started to snow Friday afternoon. Of course I was scheduled to go home on Saturday! But after waking up to this I decided to stay a couple of extra days. This picture was from the hotel window at the base of the mountain. We had about 1 foot here and there was between 2-3 feet on the mountain.

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From the lifts

This picture was taken from the lifts on Saturday as it was still snowing. The 2 buildings are the same buildings from the mud picture before from a different angle. Looks a lot different now.

After seeing all this snow I was so excited. I got a day of skiing in the middle and lower portions of the mountain, but a lot of the mountain was still closed because of high winds. This is a gorgeous resort and would be awesome when completely open, but it wasn´t to be for me. I skied on Monday as well, but they only opened one trail on the bottom of the slopes. I decided I had had enough of Termas for this year and will return again one day.... and next time it will be in August.

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