Stories from Portillo, Plans for 2023, Fishing, Family and Fun
After three years away, it was wonderful to be back in Portillo, Chile. My group of ten was fantastic — all strong skiers with ages ranging from 38 to 72. Everyone got along so well with lots of laughs, fine Chilean food, and drink, and dancing in the lodge. Fresh snow came the day we arrived, and it kept coming. On Sunday, the sun came out and 14” of powder was enjoyed by all (on top of an already great base.) We split into two groups each day depending on who wanted to ski what terrain. My second guide, Andrew Rumph is young, strong, an excellent communicator, and technically, a perfect skier. Andrew and I have worked together in the past. We make a great team, complementing each other’s styles while bringing different aspects to ski guiding and coaching.
More snow came mid-week which made for perfect skiing. Frank Coffey and his snow safety team did an excellent job of opening the mountain slowly which allowed us to ski new terrain and get fresh tracks for the next three days. One life-long skier, Marna, enjoyed her first ever Ski with Kim experience. For the past ten seasons, Marna skied with the same instructor in Jackson Hole. I taught Marna a few ‘Kim tricks’ and her response was quite humorous… “Oh my god”, she yelled, “I’ve been taking lessons for over ten years and no one has ever taught me that. You are the real deal. I’m sticking with you.” Marna and I have planned four days together in Aspen this January.
The following week I was scheduled for a private clinic with a long-time client. She had to cancel due to health issues, so I decided to stay and ski for fun. I took Sunday off to regroup and rest and, lucky me, it started snowing that night. The wind blew hard at the end of the storm so the next day, the skiing was chalky, dry, and grippy. I spent the day searching out the chalk lines which was a super fun scavenger hunt on the mountain. The sun came out in the afternoon and the chalky dry snow turned to ‘creamy carve-y’ perfection. I skied buzzer to buzzer, solo for the first time in decades. Snow came again that evening and it kept up all day the next day. By Wednesday the mountain was covered with another 17” of snow. I had the best time. As a professional skier and guide, there are very few days I have to myself if it’s snowy. When I’m guiding, I ski below my level, going slow and stopping often to take care of my guests. No big deal, this is what I do, and I love it. This surprise week off in Portillo was the first ski vacation I had taken in over ten years. I skied non-stop all day for three days straight. I burned my lungs, my legs, and my smile. I relaxed and enjoyed my time in the mountains like I never had before. Having a week to play with no responsibilities rejuvenated my passion for the sport and made me realize I need to take more ski vacations. Portillo is magical in so many ways, and I love it there.
From Chile, I flew to my family home in Connecticut where I have been fishing, sailing, and crabbing — and loving this special time with my parents, two brothers, five nieces and nephews, and lots of old friends. The next stop is Idaho where I’ll be fly fishing for six days on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
My 2023 season schedule is set and I’m excited about my plans. I’m starting the year off with a new program: a four-day Coed Technique Camp, designed for men and women, intermediate skiers and above. Everyone is looking to learn, have fun, meet great people, and become more efficient and confident skiers. Recently, I worked on my own skiing, finding ways to manage body pain to keep going. A fused spine, a replaced hip, and degenerative joints have forced me to change the way I move. My days of being a bad ass are in the rearview — and I’m good with that, but I still love to ski. And I love to guide even more. Changing my style, my equipment, and my attitude has made a huge difference. I look forward to sharing some of my new tricks with you.
In Aspen, after my *new* Coed Technique Camp (January 9-12, 2023), I’m hosting an add-on day of powder skiing with Aspen Powder Tours. This is a great opportunity for skiers who want to learn how to ski powder in a safe, controlled environment. Everyone wants to ski powder well, but it’s almost impossible to guarantee fresh tracks. We can’t learn unless we have lots of new snow, so, Aspen Powder Tours is the answer. Come join the camp, add on the powder day, or just come for the powder day on January 13.
January 14-17 is a four-day Women’s Ski Adventure in Aspen followed by another add-on day with Aspen Powder Tours. This trip is almost sold out — if you want in, don’t wait. 2023 will be my 35th season hosting Women’s Ski Adventures and I love it as much now as I did back when I started the inaugural camp in 1989.
Japan is finally open again and I’m headed that way on January 20th for three weeks. After two years away, I’m stoked to return. For eight seasons I’ve been guiding groups on the northern Island, Hokkaido in Niseko, which is known as one of the most consistent places in the world for snowfall. The arctic cold air sucks the moisture out of the Sea of Japan and dumps on us day after day. My experience has usually been 6 to 12 inches every 24 hours, and often more. It’s like living in a snow globe.
In Alta, Utah I’ll be staying at the Rustler Lodge for two weeks hosting a Coed Steep Skiing Camp and a Women’s Ski Adventure, back-to-back. After each camp is a day of heli-skiing with Powderbird. The idea is to hone our skills and confidence during the four-day clinics, then head into the backcountry for fresh tracks in perfect Utah powder. March is the best time to be in Utah; Alta is the best resort in Utah, and the Rustler Lodge is the best lodging in Little Cotton Wood Canyon. Top that off with fresh Sierra tracks thanks to one of the premier heli-skiing operators and we’ve put together the ultimate ski adventure.
My private ski trips are very popular with people who want a one-on-one experience or guests that want to create their own group. Contact me directly about making arrangements. I can ski with up to five people on my own or hire additional guides/instructors. I really enjoy the more private experience and the flexibility a small group allows. I love the opportunity to teach more: I keep things simple and provide a lot of positive feedback. Repetition of movement is how we learn, not standing around talking about stuff. When people hire me as a private guide I act as a concierge and arrange off-hill activities like dinner reservations, live music, nightlife activities, cross-country skiing, shopping, equipment needs — you name it.
Lastly, my Alaska trip in April includes two days of resort skiing, two days of heli-skiing, and two days of snowcat skiing with Chugach Powder Guides (CPG). CPG is located in Girdwood, Alaska just 40 minutes from Anchorage at the base of Alyeska Ski Resort. During April, the days get longer, the temps get warmer, but the snow is still winter powder, and the skiing is off the charts. I’ve been skiing in Alaska since 1991 and every season it’s a highlight of my winter.
We are taking reservations, so start planning your winter now and put a Ski With Kim trip on your calendar. There is nothing more motivating than having a big adventure ahead.
Kim Reichhelm’s Ski Adventures Inc