Invernada 2015 more of an idea than a place

This will be my twelfth southern winter in Chile. The scale of the Andes has always inspired me to seek adventure. A few years back I ventured into a place near a lake called "Invernada," which means wintered. I loved the coincidence of this. Every year since I have poked into different areas, yet I still call the trip Invernada. For me, the idea of exploring the unknown - at least the unknown to me - is more important than claiming some prize for an accomplishment in an undiscovered area. Invernada is more of an idea than a place.

It all starts innocently enough. Starting the trip with warm weather and clear skies, it was so easy to create grand pictures of tremendous success. Setting up camp on the first night made us giddy. It couldn't be better.

I often joke that you know the skiing is bad when we show more photos of sunsets and sunrises than skiing. But Chile can provide both amazing sunsets and fantastic turns.

This is the first evening of the trip.

And the first sunrise.

This was the last sunset of the trip. I feel blessed that I get to see this as often as I do.

I will admit that we had ambitions bigger than simply powder skiing. I really wanted to ski some of the bigger peaks in the area. We don't always get our way. The Andes are big mountains and the storms can pack a punch. The reality is that we were pounded by multiple storms and spent a fair amount of time making sure we didn't blow away.

Nina reinforces the wall around the tent. She's standing tall in this photo.

Luckily, the skiing close to camp was awesome. 

No, I am not going to say where this is.

But don't get me wrong; my coyness is not a way to keep this place for myself. I think one of the most special aspects of the Andes is the ability to feel like one is discovering something. Every run we did felt like a first descent. Maybe they were, maybe not. It doesn't matter. They felt like it. Every day, every run had a sense of exploration and wonder. We had to problem solve and in return we were rewarded with much more than great turns in perfect snow. We had a sense of accomplishment.

If there were people here before us I am thankful they didn't write about it on their blogs or some forum. I think this is wonderful and want to carry on this tradition - or start it if that's the case.

The Andes are a huge range with so many mountains to explore and adventures to be had. There is so little information and the infrastructure is such that just getting into the cordillera can feel like an accomplishment. I am a guide; and I want to help people to get into these places and experience the magic. But I don't want to take away from those looking to create an adventure of their own.

It's out there. Go get it.

Created By
Donny Roth
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