We touched down in Santiago early Friday morning on a route from Miami.
Sunday morning, even earlier, we boarded a van for the trip up to Valle Nevado. An hour later, the van actually departed for the journey. Ninety minutes of seemingly interminable switchbacks brought us to the bottom of the resort, where we faced a conundrum: how to get from the drop-off point up to our apartment with all our backpacks, ski cases, and other gear.
We stood in line for lift tickets instead. Even though we have Ikon passes, we had to get local lift tickets to ski here.
Having moved to the sun to get into the warmth and out of the way of the literally hundreds of people waiting for the gondola, we spied a shuttle that looked as it it might take us apartmentward.
A little broken Spanish, a misunderstanding that when the driver said, "Solo con ticket" he meant lift ticket, and lugging all our stuff back down the escalator, and we were again on our way.
Turns out we needed to switch shuttles once we got to the top, but we finally made it to our building, Tupungato.
Obviously, we were too early to check in. So we unloaded all our stuff in their lobby, stripped down and changed into ski clothes, wolfed down some deli meat sandwiches, crammed everything under a table, and headed out to the slopes.
We've just returned inside, checked into our apartment, and changed for a night out. Three hours of skiing on your first day above 3,000 meters clearly deserves some après action.