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Valle Nevado — Parks and pipes

Mountain Layout—Snowboarding

From the Andes Express it is possible to ride down in any direction. For a long, long open bowl go left off of the lift and wrap around to a no name shot that eventually drains out at the real base of the mountain. Weeks after a storm fresh lines are still hidden back in this area. Natural gullies form back here and can be epic on a good powder day. Watch out for the rider’s left traverse back to the bottom lift, and abide by the rule “If there are no tracks going there, there is probably a reason why”. Not following the traverse back eventually leads to the road. This can be good or bad.

The back valleys are all serviced by surface lifts that climb for a ways. The Tres Puntas poma lift rises 1,435 vertical feet and is the longest vertical lift Valle has to offer. The backside of Tres Puntas is part of the heli operation, so some tracks will lead in that direction. There is no way out of this area except for a helicopter or a 5 hour hike, so beware. Steep, consistent runs roll off of the ridge of Tres Puntas. Check out the short hiking possibilities off of Vals and Twist for a fresh line. The day after a storm this may be a good spot to spend some time (hint, hint).

Valle de Inca is another valley with a surface lift that connects with La Parva Resort and El Colorado Resort. It is possible to ride the neighboring resorts with a dual lift ticket, but do not expect to play the “I’m a dumb foreigner” card to scam a free ride. The lift attendants have seen plenty of those moves before and get a kick out of watching people walk back up to the ridge.

From the top of the Valle de Inca lift some of the steepest and most challenging backcountry terrain is seen and assessed. This is real, big mountain riding where conditions can vary greatly, and extreme caution should be exercised. Crampons and ice axes may be useful. If not totally prepared for that kind of an adventure, check out the flawless open faces in the Valle de Inca back into the valley.

The short lift at the lowest point of the resort, El Prado, has two perfect natural gullies on either side of it. These shots mainly go unnoticed, but are definitely worth a look, especially for snowboarders. El Prado lift links up with El Mirador, which leads to the back valleys of the resort. Back on the front side of the resort, groomed trails of every level weave down the slope. Just below the main base center the El Carrusel and Telecuerda lifts pull novice riders up the mellowest runs on the mountain.

Parks and pipes

The flowing terrain park is on the rider’s left of the Prado triple chair. Valle Nevado really shows some effort in maintaining the park. Even at the very end of the season, snowcats groom the lips and landings daily. About 5 boxes and rails are set up on the left side of the park. The right side starts off with a medium kicker and rolls into a large kicker. Two more small hits are lined up followed by a decent spine.