Photos and article by Miles Clark I was just going to sleep in and take my time packing and getting ready for my bus to Las Lenas, Argentina at 4:30 that afternoon. The forecast for the day, August 23rd, was snow and wind. Nothing was going to be open at Catedral (the local ski resort here in Bariloche, Argentina) in those conditions. When my normal alarm went off at 7am I got up and looked out the window, just for fun. I saw stars. It was clear and the day before it had been snowing harder than I-´ve ever seen. No thinking was involved in my decision to skip breakfast, go skiing, pack later and hope I make my bus. It turned out to be the right call. After an extremely dry July the mountain had finally filled in. Cliffs that I-´d only dreamed about hitting earlier in the year were completely filled in and ready to go. That day was by far the best of the season so far which made me late for my bus……but I am in Argentina, so of course, the bus was 90 minutes late in leaving. So I was fine. My reason for going to Las Lenas was the Freeride Contest they were holding there. I had been invited to the competition by Manuel Uranga, the marketing director. It-´s a 22 hour bus trip from Bariloche but Manuel-´s offer of free lodging, food, and tickets for 5 days was a lure too temping not to bite at. When I arrived the Marte chair (the insane chair that accesses the top) was closed due to wind, and had been closed for the past 2 weeks. The competitors got to take super uncomfortable yet scary snowcat rides to the top each day. From there the views were amazing. The snow wasn’t great, but the lines were beautiful, just how you’d imagine your ideal mountain to look. I had a great time and it didn’t hurt that a bunch of my buddies from Squaw were there with me. Having a solid crew of ski crazed Squallywoodians never hurts when you are on the wrong side of the world competing on a mountain that you-´ve never seen before.
The boys from Squaw did good and we ended up taking 6th, 8th and 11th place. The Freeride Contest-´s afterparty started late in classic Argentine style and continued until 6am, also displaying solid Argie form. The free drink tickets ruined me. After I had switched to beer, all I remember the bartender telling was -¨sorry, we don-´t have anymore beer, just redbull and vodka-¨. I guess I took her up on it becuase I had one of the worst hangovers of my life the next day. Huge props to my buddy Greg for saving my life at 5:30am with a huge -´choripan-´ (sausage) with veggies and a bun. Needless to say, with my memorable hangover, I didn-´t do much skiing the next day and Marte was still closed. On my last day I thought I-´d just sleep in and take my time packing and make sure to grab my bus back to Bariloche at 5 that afternoon. But the Marte chair opened that morning so I obviously skipped breakfast, went skiing, decided to pack later and hoped I-´d make my bus. I got 6 laps on Marte that day and most of them with the boys from Squaw. We hit something different on every lap and skied some of the longest most playful couloirs of my life. I skied until 4pm and was running with two backpacks, skis and poles to make my bus. But, I made it. On the bus ride home I found out that the entire time that I-´d been away from Bariloche it had been raining profusely. The evening I got back in town the rain turned to snow. The next morning, August 30th, the sun came out and it was another one of the best days of the year with some amazing sidecountry lines. After realizing how lucky I gotten with my timing I took a step back and mentally mulled over my hectic past week. I never have good timing like I-´d had… but I-´ll take it. photos and article by Miles Clark