jueves, 20 de marzo de 2014

Chile Road Trip: Malalcahuello

Esta vez, os dejo con un artículo titulado Malalcahuello, The Other Andes, que escribí para Splitboard Magazine, donde resumía la última semana que pasamos en Chile. Concretamente, en la zona del volcán Lonquimay, en la Reserva Nacional Malalcahuello. Un lugar maravilloso donde echamos raíces hasta que marchamos. Quiero agradecer de nuevo desde aquí, el trato que recibimos por parte de Jerome Boulay, sales manager de Venture Snowboards y de César Gibert y el resto del staff de Sled Chile Backcountry Adventures por hacernos sentir como en casa. Está en inglés, espero que no sea inconveniente.

Llaima y Villarrica subiendo al Lonquimay. Araucania, tierra de volcanes

After spending a few days in the Santiago area and Chillán, it’s time to travel to the south to the Araucania Region. There lies the quiet village of Malalcahuello, gateway to the Malalcahuello National Reserve and the Lonquimay volcano. Just a perfect spot to keep us away from the crowd.

Cesar Gibert and Jerome Boulay (Venture Snowboards Sales Manager) await us in the Sled Chile Snowmobile headquarters. Sled Chile is a backcountry adventures company that operates in the area since 2008. They will show us the best spots in the area during the next days. Since they started, they have opened new awesome areas to ride on a breathtaking environment. Do not hesitate to explain them what you are looking for, they will take care of you to make you happy. Be sure they will share all their knowledge and passion with you for living a great experience. Sled Chile is also a Venture Snowboards and Spark R&D demo center in Chile, so you can find some of their stuff there. They are developing a new brand called Freeride that will start to make some softgoods inspired by the araucaria tree, one of the national symbols in this country. Stay tuned, it looks awesome. On the other hand, there is a small shop also called Freeride, with everything you need to get out there.

Café Alemán. Best place in town!

Sled Chile headquarters

Javi Barro de Gaiur Compañía de Snowboard. Invitado de honor

Siempre al acecho

Asados y buen Carmenere en el backyard de Jerome

When we dream about travelling to the Andes, we do it thinking about shredding on sketchy and endless lines,  but we are not really aware of the limitations on access and logistics when you are not close to a ski resort. In Malalcahuello everything is human, you can ride into a stunning araucarias forest when the weather is bad, enjoy happy riding  in La Montura or skin up looking for the  Lonquimay volcano summit views as well. Not to mention other accessible areas   like Los Arenales or Sierra Nevada crossing Las Raices tunnel in the way to the Lonquimay village and the Pino Hachado pass. A beatiful spot to spend a lot of hours on your splitboard in a peaceful environment.

Carlos and Gube from Sled Chile crew awaited us early in the morning in the Corralco Ski Resort  with everything ready to go. We have no words to describe the beauty when we arrived at Cráter Navidad. A river of lava leaves us close to the paradise. After a 30 minutes snowmobile ride we start to breaking trail into the woods. Pachamama has given us about 10 in of fresh powder last night, and the mountain is pretty stable. On the NW we can see the south face  of the Tolhuaca volcano and on the NE we can spot the Copahue volcano close to Argentina's border. The sweet terrain lets us skin up fast motivated by the next descent. Definitely, we decide to extend our visit in Malalcahuello.The south side of the Tolhuaca volcano has caught us, there is some new fresh snow on the forecast, and we are feeling so good in this corner.

Our last day in Malalcahuello is such a big mission day. An awesome bluebird day await us after the storm. 5000 ft ahead after a long snowmobile ride approach is just the perfect way to keep us warm . The wind is very strong up there and we forget about the chutes we had been spotting some days before. It's time to think fast and we choose a wind-protected area on the south face. We have to move pretty fast in this area to stay safe before the descent. We get our pursuit of deep powder and a sick  first descent  in one of the most beautiful areas of the Andes . The Tolhuaca volcano is a really big mountain with a lot of options to shred some gnarly chutes.  An unforgettable day that ends with an awesome asado and a few beers at Jerome’s backyard. We  haven’t left the valley in a week and it's time to come back home.

Cráter del volcán Lonquimay y amor a primera vista en la cara sur del volcán Tolhuaca. Foto: Albert Costa

Gube y Javi, los fingers y el volcán Copahue ya en la frontera con Argentina

Javi poniéndose fino en los fingers

Penúltimo día de chillin' en Buchupureo

We would like to  thank all the people who made us feel like home . Jerome , Cesar, Carlos , and Gube from Sled Chile crew, Spencer from Chasing Winter Productions and all the friendly local  people we met during those awesome days.  And we would like to send the best regards to Lilo from the Café Aleman, by preparing those delicious dishes, a great kuchen and make us smile every morning. If you’re thinking about stopping by there, do not hesitate to knock on their door!

Araucaría, símbolo de Chile y el volcán Tolhuaca

Spencer y Jerome

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