Waking up bright and early for our well anticipated ski trip was totally worth it! After getting a quick bite to eat we met the concierge and loaded up the vans for our trip up to Valle Navado. Along with us there was a french family of 6 that piled into the van for what was expected to an hour and a half ride up to the Valle Navado Mountain.
Much like Cusco, to get to the top of these very steep mountains we must traverse from side to side, up and up, winding back and forth across the mountain side- unfortunately this takes a while. Once we reached the snow level, we could see the rain we received the night before was snow here! Powder everywhere!! With the snow, came some sketchy roads, with warning signs of icy conditions and avalanches lining the sides of the roads. With those warning, our driver put chains on the tires and proceeded to climb the icy mountain. Unfortunately, shortly after putting the chains on we were stopped by mountain control. Up ahead there was an avalanche blocking the roads – it would be 45 minutes until it was cleared. So here we were stuck! A line of traffic in front of us and behind us, with no other route to reach the top. So we waited.. Waiting patiently we got all of our gear on so we could go straight to the slopes. After the roads were cleared we cautiously continued up the mountain, to the very top where we were welcomed by the snow bowl that was Valle Navado!!
After lacing up and strapping in we were on the gondola up to the main lifts! The place was beginning to get crowded but the mountain was big enough to maintain the constant increase in skiers and snowboarders. The rental equipment from the hotel was not the greatest, so after a run we needed to get a little tune up in the shop and then we were off! Spending the remainder of the day trying every trail and lift. By lunch time we needed a break, my legs were already so exhausted. Getting some food from the concession we sat and enjoyed the 40 degree weather with sun shine and no wind. It was perfect!
The mountain was so open compared to those in Vermont. Being used to trails cut into the woods with predetermined routes, here it was wide open. With portions groomed and the remainder left covered in powder; it was a dream come true. To my surprise the actual ski lodge was pretty small. With one small room for lockers, a rental shop and information desk, it was much different than the resorts back home where every main lift has a lodge for food and warming up. But the place didn’t seem too crowed, the line for food was long but other than that the lift lines were kept to a minimum and some trails were left untouched!
At 5pm the sun began to set and we were beat. Ready to crawl into bed and warm up, we met our van driver who would bring us and the french family back to the Hyatt. Winding and turning back down the mountain we arrived to the hotel later than expected and crashed. One of the best snowboard days I’ve had in a while, the fresh and easily accessible powder was great!!
Nothing beats a great day on the mountain – especially in the middle of JULY!!!