We were blessed with a wonderful bonus day at the end of our 2011 Backcountry Tour, offering us the chance to ski one last day at Cerro Catedral, before heading back to Buenos Aires. What a day it was!
We prepped our gear, watching the snow fall on our deck in Bariloche. We arose early and checked the latest report from Cerro Catedral: 40 cm of new snow! Following a quick breakfast, we loaded our gear into our driver’s remise and headed up to the mountain.
We arrived at Cerro Catedral just before opening and were greeted with beautiful white slopes all around us. We told Hugo, the driver, to meet us back at the parking lot at noon, so that we could get ready to catch our bus back to Buenos Aires at 3:00. We went straight to the Sextuple Express lift and were on one of the first chairs of the day.
As we neared the top, we noticed that the Nubes chair was not running. This was good news for us, as that is exactly where we had planned to go. We jumped onto the Punta Nevada quad, and headed toward the summit. After asking permission from ski patrol, we crossed the closure ropes and skinned up to the top of Punta Nevada (aka, ‘Nubes’). The morning views were absolutely incredible, with fresh white snow all around, beautiful blue skies above, and Lago Nahuel Huapi in the distance.
We were the first to reach the summit, but not by far. We noticed a few other people making their way up the peak, so we made haste. Our first run was right down the gut of the main face, marking our signatures on the pristine blankets of powder.
Needless to say, stoke levels were high, and we promptly returned to the Punta Nevada chair to make another lap. By this time, a few others had also skied the face, and a bootpack had been established. We followed the bootpack up to the summit once again and set our targets on the slightly lower-angled wide face near the Nubes lift line, as it was still untouched and ripe for the picking. This turned out to be an excellent choice. One at a time, we made high-speed GS turns all the way down the face, on perfectly spongy powder snow. We felt like condors soaring through the Andes, and wondered for a moment if we might take flight. This turned out to be the best run of the day… Zen.
We noted the time, 11:25, and figured we had just enough time to make one final lap. We charged up the bootpack once again, this time dropping in a bit earlier, skiing the steep chutes on the north end of the peak. By this time, there were several people on the face, so we rallied down the run, straightlining through the bottom section. It was good fun, as it always is to mach down a clean face of powder snow. We continued down the mountain, hitting powder stashes along the way, until we had reached the parking lot at noon. Hugo was waiting for us, so we loaded up immediately and returned to Bariloche.
We had just enough time for a quick lunch and a beer with our host, Javier, after we packed our ski bags. Hugo arrived right on time, at 2:00, and took us to the bus terminal to catch our 3:00 bus to Buenos Aires. We bid farewell to the town we love, as we watched it fade into the distance. Before we knew it, we were sipping wine on the bus, cruising across the Patagonian steppe, just as we had begun this adventure. Reclining in our Super Cama seats, sleep came easily, and we were in Buenos Aires by 10:00 the following morning. It was the perfect end to the perfect trip.
Mil gracias a todos que nos ayudaron y saludos a todos nuestros amigos en Patagonia! Nos vemos a la vuelta, el año que viene! Chau!
Want to see more pictures? Click here to view our Facebook photo album from our Bonus Day at Cerro Catedral.