Corralco 2* Preview
Last event of the FWQ Andes season takes place on Lonquimay Volcano hosted by Corralco ski area
The geologists will tell you that Lonquimay Volcano is a stratovolcano with an elevation of 2,865 meters in the shape of a truncated cone. The rocks of the volcano, they will say are andesites, with a lesser mix of basalts and dactitics. Located in the La Aracuania region of Chile, the volcano, the geologists will add, dates from the late-Pleistocene to dominantly Holocene age, meaning that it’s really, really old. The last eruption was at the end of December 1988, and forced the evacuation of nearly 2000 people.
Araucaria trees dominate the landscape around Lonquimay volcano and Corralco ski area. Many of the forests are thousands of years old.
But what the geologists won’t tell you is that on the flanks of Lonquimay sits a small ski area, and that little ski area by the name of Corralco is the host to the last FWQ event of the 2017 competition season in the Andes.
Corralco is run under the watchful eyes of a transplanted gringo named Jimmy Ackerson. Ackerson is a ski industry veteran, with stints at places like Valle Nevado, and he’s slowly been transforming the little slice of paradise called Corraclo into something quite interesting. While 2017 is the first year that the FWQ freeriding ecosystem has appeared at this magical location, Ackerson has been instrumental in the ski area hosting training sessions for FIS World Cup ski racers, top shelf boarder cross events and other happenings that attract elite athletes for competition or training. The appearance of freeriding here is a testament to Ackerson’s vision and that, along with the ski touring and ski mountaineering appeal of Lonquimay and the surrounding terrain, should start to place Corralco on most freerider’s mental maps of places that they “need to check out.”
Carving spring snow on Lonquimay volcano. The terrain above the ski area of Corralco is ideal for ski mountaineering and freeriding, with plenty of options for fun descents.
So what to expect when you finally “check out” Corralco? First, everything revolves around the volcano. This towering peak dominates Corralco’s landscape and terrain and is a playground of windlips, rolling terrain and long powder fields. It’s a user-friendly place where a short hike or traverse opens up ample room to get fresh tracks and enjoy unparalleled vistas.
Lonquimay volcano from the east. The mountain dominates its surroundings, and it is possible to ski all aspects of it, depending upon snow and weather conditions.
For 2017, the 2* FWQ event is being hosted by Freeride Chile. And it looks like the organization will finally have some luck with the weather after battling Mother Nature in their prior two FWQ events. This weekend is supposed to be clear and sunny and with a variety of top-level athletes already on the scene, the last competition of the 2017 Andes season should be hotly contested. Who will win? We don’t know that yet but we can say that anyone who has the opportunity ride the flanks of Lonquimay on a sunny day with fresh snow is already a winner. And for most of the athletes in Corralco this weekend, that’s going to be enough.