Torrecillas, Las Leñas, Argentina

Skiing all corners of the world one will eventually end up in freeriders’ paradise Las Leñas in Argentina. Many options for some serious “steep & deep” but the backyard of Marte chairlift remains classic. One of the most aesthetic peaks is definitely Cerro Torrecillas. I got to ski it in the summer of 2009.

That July I traveled to Mendoza in order to take the six hour busride to Las Lenas. In Mendoza’s Damajuana hostel I met another Dutch guy, Bert. We planned to meet in Las Leñas to explore the many options together and so we did. After a good day of exploring the frontside of the mountain, skiing runs like Cenidor, Eduardo and Mercurio we looked at Cerro Torrecillas. We didn’t have to discuss, we both knew we had to ski it.

We started the next morning with a warmup run on Cenidor, a 38 degree slope, before taking the infamous Marte chair. From the peak we skied down halfway where skis were attached to the backpacks to start the bootpack. A flat bootpack of about 15 minutes lead us to the steep bootpack next to Cerro Negro. Carefully we set step after step. Exhausted we reached the plateau where we took a break. We were in no rush. All alone we decided we wanted to enjoy this day to the fullest and so we absorbed the setting we were in every single minute.

After a decent break the hike continued. A long walk on the plateau was followed by a fairly steep hike on a ridge where we had a clear view of what we were about to ski (see first photo). Four hours after we set down in the Marte chair we arrived at the top. Yes, we took it really easy…

At the top I sat down to take in the view, a truly mesmerizing view. From around 4000 meters you have a unique view. No trees, no glaciers as you’d expect in Europe. No brown valleys or lakes as you’d expect in New Zealand. No, rock formations you can only witness in the Argentine Andes. A very special moment! Finally we had to ski down, the actual reason we hiked the mountain. A beautiful 45 degree (estimation…) run was ahead of us. Great soft snow was waiting to be skied with an audience of impressive rocks on the side. I dropped in first and had one of the best runs of my life. Bert followed resulting in high fives at the bottom. We finished the day with a Quilmes, the local beer!

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