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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Blog Marathon

I decided to have a blog marathon.  Everyday I am down here in La Parva, Chile, I will blog about something.  I figure I will run out of information about La Parva after the first few days so this could become interesting.  
As for La Parva, it is one of three resorts in the mountains outside of Santiago.  It, El Colorado and Valle Nevado are the easiest accessible skiing in Chile.  You can get off the plane and be at the resort in less than an hour and a half.  
The journey to the resorts is an adventure in itself.  The drive used to take over 3 hours because of the lack of a highway through the city.  But 3-4 years ago they diverted the biggest river coming out of the Mountains above the city and built a road in its river bed or maybe under the river?  Either way there is water leaking all over in the tunnel.  A little sketchy but it saves you 2 hours of stop and go through the city of 5 million people and some of the worst smog in South America.  I wonder how the tunnel react after a major snow melt?  
Then you get up into the foothills of Santiago and begin your ascent from 1000 ft. up the mountain side to 9,000 ft.  39 tight switchbacks later you get to the junction for La Parva or Valle Nevado.  If you choose Valle you will face another 30 or so switch backs and if you choose La Parva you have 10 or so more with a long traverse across the mountainside. 
Once your up high the mountain views are incredible.  There are a few 17,000+ ft mountains around and if you get high enough you can see Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western Hemisphere, 26,000+ ft.
Aside from the mountain views, I have to say the worlds best sunsets are found up here.  You can see long over the Pacific and I think the cities pollution enhances the suns effects.  
As for today, the skiing was fantastic.  I ripped around with Marco most of the day and skied until my swollen summer feet couldn't handle it anymore.  
Day 1 over and out, enjoy the pics of tonight's sunset and some of the fabulous pollution found in the city below.