6 Days Shredding Argentina. Worth it? / by kevin hjertaas

Last year we went to Bariloche, Argentina to climb peaks and ski chutes with the #CanadianPowderTeam It was as good as it gets and every bit worth the travel. Here's the article from Biglines.com

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Make 6 days of skiing worth 4 days of travel: Argentina

The Canadian Powder Team (sure, that’s a thing) just had an amazing week of hiking chutes, skiing powder and touring around granite spires in Bariloche, Argentina. I can’t tell you how to get lucky with the weather and snow conditions (it’s a secret) but I can tell you…

Christina Lusti heading up near Bariloche, Argentina

What you need to make six days of skiing in Argentina worth the four days of travel.

-Touring gear… Don’t even think about skiing the lifts exclusively. If you want to travel half way around the world to ski the piste, you need to find another website to visit. Even on days where you buy lift tickets, almost all your runs include some touring. 

-Someone to do the leg work… Chris Rubens and Eric Hjorleifson have been skiing down here for a few years now and have the place pretty wired. If you can find guys like this to go down two weeks before you and dial in the lodging and vehicle, you’re set. If they know the ski terrain and snowpack too, even better. It would be nice if they could ski better, but you take what you can get.

kevin hjertaas skiing a couloir in Argentina by Eric Hjorleifson

-Lomo, Lomo, Lomo… Huge, delicious steaks cooked to perfection with all the appies, bread and wine you can handle for the price of a pub meal back home. How could you not eat out every night? (Lomo: Spanish for beef tenderloin)

-A Trail Breaker… Christina Lustenberger is faster than you on the uphills but will wait for you at the top and even let you ski first sometimes. If you can secure someone like this for your next trip, do it!

-Luck with the wind… On our final day the Patagonia winds showed up and literally pushed us off ridge tops while scouring the slopes and devastating the powder we’d been enjoying. It made us appreciate how lucky we’d been with the weather the first five days.

Granite Spires. Hunting a couloir in Bariloche, Argentina

-A warm up man… Andre Charland swung through Bariloche before us to softened up the team with late nights and heavy apres. By the time we got there the crew was ready to get to bed earlier and just shred all day, which is good because at my age it’s really one or the other and we didn’t fly around the world to drink.

-Easy backcountry logistics… The Frey Hut is an easy tour away from Cerro Catedral ski area. For about $40 cdn per day you get all three meals and a roof over you head. Just stuff a sleeping bag in your usual day-pack and go for as long as you want. Too easy!

Kevin Hjertaas skiing a line near Bariloche, Argentina. Shot by Eric Hjorleifson

-American $100 Bills… You don’t need a ton of money once you’re there but you’ll get a much better exchange rate if you show up with crisp $100 US bills and find a Blue Market money changer on the street somewhere.

-An optimist… Harley Hegnauer hails from Canmore, Alberta but fits in (and excels) anywhere he goes. You need someone who sees the good times around every corner and keeps everyone’s spirits high if you are going to live communally for a week. Booze might be the social lubricant but someone has to force it down your throat!

Harley Hegnauer and Eric Hjorleifson hitching a ride home.

-Good Apres Skiing… When dinner isn’t until 10pm or later and you’ve played hard in the mountains all day, you need to refuel. Tage on the Catadral ski area fits the bill. Choripan sausage and 1L beers for $8 cdn… Yes Please.

-Gear… When your gear doesn’t make the entire 25hr trip with you, it really helps to have a crew with extra skis, skins, goggles, gloves, pants, etc. to make sure you don’t waste a day. Just make sure you carry your ski boots and an avalanche transceiver on the plane with you. You aren’t going to be able to borrow those easily.

Getting ready to drop in. Christina Lusti in Argentina.

-Lodging with Local Knowledge… La Luna in Bariloche is run by a couple great dudes. Seb gave us directions to his favourite backcountry zones, made us dinner reservations, showed us around the hill and just generally hooked us up. It helps a lot if you have extra ski gear to sell down there too. Real skiers have a hard time getting their hands on current ski gear, so pack heavy and come home light.

-No Spanish What-So-Ever… It’s six days, don’t even try. Remember: Lomo, Gracias and Mas o Menos (More or Less).