The backcounry & sidcountry of Cerro Catedral is F*ing AWESOME. There are runs named Little Alaska… and if there’s a run named little AK you know it’s gotta be good.
Another killer sidecountry run with not quite as badass a name is Staff Party. This run gets it’s name because last year at the SASS camp (South American Snow Sessions) the staff would ski the run more than the campers.
Avy beacon, probe, shovel, touring bindings, skins. (note: you can boot it out there and back, but we recommend skins)
Directions to Staff Party:
Start with the 20 minute hike out to La Laguna from the top of the Del Bosque Chair. Once you reach the saddle, you traverse and contour around the entire La Laguna bowl. On the opposite side of La Laguna climb to the top of the ridge and up onto the first prominent “peak” on the ridge. From the top you can either drop back into La Laguna (not ideal because it’s North Facing), you can also ski Tage Chutes (obvious chutes between the large rock spires) or the longer, more south facing Staff Party. This run is an intermediate advanced run with options for some sick pillow skiing for the experts on the skier’s left ridge line. If you like big powder turns, mom, you can stay in the center. And, if you fancy some cliff drops you can poke around on skiers right.
The entire run funnels into a valley with a small creek that runs all winter. But before you reach the flats you have the option to ski a perfect tree run or (if the snow permits) hit some 20/30 foot airs (off boulders). Shortly after you hit the creek-bed your bushwhackin adventure begins. Depending on how much snow there is you will either need to ski or walk through a thick forest of bamboo. Some routes are easier than other because two SASS coaches took a saw to the bamboo in hopes of making an easier exit. Once you manage your way through the bamboo and the creek you’ll reach a trail and begin to pole (snowboarders have to walk). The trail keeps you on your toes and has some exciting bridge crossings complete with nails adding as obstacles. 30 minutes more on the trail and you’ll you reach the parking lot. Basically it’s 1 hour and 30 minutes from when the good stuff ends until you reach Tage (outdoor food and beer kiosk) and have a beer in hand. But it’s well worth it!
Check out the end of Jake’s video for another view of the Staff party Spines (start @ 1:41)