Snowboarding Stoke In September

A long trip, and lessons learned in the South American backcountry

Jeff Bauer

Looking back at our lines in Laguna

It's early Spring in Argentina, and I'm lucky enough to be here in Bariloche with some of the best snow guides in the world, the crew from Sass Global Travel. I'll be here for a week and hope to post up a few times with updates on the conversation and the riding here. 

When you travel halfway around the world to snowboard, you're taking a big risk. There are no guarantees you'll get good conditions, and you generally have to book far enough in advance that you can't just chase storms. So far, we appear to be having some good luck. It snowed last night on top of a mountain that was starting to get hard with ice or, worse, melted completely, depending on the altitude.

Today started with an avalanche awareness lecture, then on-mountain beacon finding drills, and then some riding. The groups are small, and we've got one guide to three clients. Today was orientation, so we basically went across a lot of the mountain to get everyone familiar with the terrain. We hiked for some turns and made our way to the backcountry area known as Laguna, a nice powder run that ends on a frozen lake. Unfortunately that was my last run, because my toe strap broke. I descended with the broken strap, which worked well considering the good powder back there. The board was not as easy to control once we got back into more tracked terrain, and I've returned to the lodge where I will get it repaired so I can ride tomorrow.

Lessons learned today? Bring spare parts and the tools you need to make any repairs or adjustments with you. Especially when you head into the backcountry. If I had the right tools and replacement parts, I would have gotten at least one more solid lap into Laguna. But at least I learned a lesson, and it's good that it happened on a relatively easy day. I'll be riding with replacement parts from now on.


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