Skiing in El Chalten

After a few weeks of waiting for a good weather window to climb in Patagonia, the overwhelming uncertainty and the pressure it brings with it can really start to take its toll on your psyche. You know need to stay motivated and keep the belief that the good climbing weather will eventually come before its too late, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. The daily routine of eating, sleeping and training can become repetitive and almost make you forget just how incredible this place really is.

Fortunately though not every activity requires quite the same level of perfect weather. A two day storm followed by a single sunny day might not be enough for climbing big objectives in the massif, but in winter certainly makes for an incredible powder day!

Here in El Chalten there is a dedicated group of locals who ski the wild mountains of the surrounding area at every chance they get. It’s a small scene and certainly neiche but on the right day the skiing is amazing. For them winter is their break from the mayhem of the summer tourist season. A time to relax, spend time with friends and family and most importantly for some, to ski!

Today I had the privilege of skiing some fresh Patagonian Powder and it was a day to remember. At the climbing wall the night before I managed to score an invite from photo journalist Matt Tufts. Matt has been in El Chalten working on a freelance piece about the local ski touring scene down here and the passionate people that get after it with every break in the weather. Over the last few weeks he has skied with pretty much everyone in town and captured some amazing images of the incredibly welcoming community behind it all.

We headed down the valley with local guide Merlin Lipshitz and his friend Laucho to a small side valley called Creston. After the usual hour of hiking through the woods we emerged into a veritable wonderland of perfect powder. A large bowl with a variety of options and not another person in sight. We made three runs without ever crossing another skiers track. It was an epic with incredible views up the valley to Cerro Torre and Fitzroy. An incredible day in an incredible place with great people, what more could you ask for?

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