So of course October started with the party fo the year, Sep 29 in Mendoza at Alfred's house to celebrate his birthday and the end of the season (although the season had really not ended yet in Las Lenas).

Thank you so much Alfred it was a fabulous party! A tent, open bar, DJ's, video screens, the works! Many lovely ladies and some unplanned

back flips made it a night to remember for all who attended but unfortunatley for the cleaning staff at the Damajuana Hostel whose Saturday morning included clenaing up smellier things other than just dirty towels. There were definitely one or 2 pretty drunk stuck up Mendoza young guys there that acted like idiots but that was highly overshadowed by the warmness of the Mendoza crowd and the 15-20 of us gringos that were allowed to come to the party that would have never known about it. As well there were some definitely some gringos that got real borrachoed up including myself and some other Whistler friends including one decorating many bushes and the other doing a 10 foot backflip form calle to flat agua (thankfully she was ok!) There was also the South American premiere of Plehouse's film for this year Skimatic, http://www.plehousefilms.com) which is a great movie with a combo of jibbing and big mountain skiing including a cool trip to Lebanon.

Some of the people in that movie were the Sun Ice crew that had arrived that day in Mendoza in attendance including photographer Felix Rioux and veteran Jf Cusson and Whistler local Frank Raymond and Matt Harvey from Freeskier. We helped them get some lost bags in Mendoza on Saturday before going to Las Lenas but of course one was missing (Continental Airlines not super bueno) and of course it was JF's who needed an ad shot by October 8 for Freeskier and he was "sin" his gear. We got into Las Lenas at 4AM and apparently the person who booked the apartment for the Sun Ice crew had not been honest with them so meant another change for this already frustrated crew on Sunday to a nicer place, anyone heard of the factor?

In Las Lenas there was talk that it was time to leave as too windy and too warm, or not warm enough to properly corn up, Marte not open, etc.... But as always to truly enjoy Las Lenas you need patience and just need to wait and one will always be rewarded. Last week was indeed the best October skiing ever had anywhere. Last Thursday and Saturday we finally had low winds and perfect blue skies. Thursday Frankie's, Sin Salida, Las Vegas greeted us with tons of fresh powder after a 10 cm snowfall and was of course a welcome surprise of knee deep powder. On Saturday of course we had to hike, but the south wall behind Cerro Martin was great and untouched. Our crew brought local youngster Juan Jose Soliz (12) for the hike up who was very excited and the is the first person under 18 to ever hike up past the peak of Cerro Martin. Holly + los flacos Yaya, Marius and Paul (owner of Hostel 41 Below in Bariloche) all seperated on to go down our own runs and I brought Juan Jose to the #2 chute away from the banana chute. Scared at first (come on he is only 12) talked him down and we all skied again knee deep powder. We then all skied the front side into Secret Paraiso and was amazing soft corn and still lots of snow left in the chutes for us to enjoy. Half of our crew was hungover and tired so then Holly, Paul and I went up again to ski above Cerro Martin but now all 3 of us hit the south wall as that had seemed to have the best powder the last time. Sure enough 5:30 PM and still fresh and we all had our own line. We got down at 6PM and was time for a descanso and a bit of Quilmes.High winds for a couple of days meant chilling around gringo ghetto and of course packing up. On Monday one of Las Lenas valley’s favorite sons went missing, el flacco gordo, Ivan Matisic. No one has seen him since Monday after skiing Frankie's so if anyone knows where he is, please contact Las Lenas Ski Patrol at 54 2627 471100 and press 0. Rumour has it though he is in the Pyramide eating chocolate and vanilla helados?

In retrospect, Las Lenas for Ocotber was awesome. Common sense was that you had to hike for powder but not far. As well the corn was awesome and some of the front side runs skied really well and had great coverage. Like always, the days Marte was open you had to make the most of those days and ski and hike everywhere you could and you were rewarded. What truly made this an excellent time to be in Las Lenas was the lack of lines and people and only about a total of 20 gringos in resort. In future good snow years I will definitely go to Las Lenas in October as truly a special time. We celebrated the upcoming last week of the season with a truly local asado put on by Geronimo the head bartender of the casino and mix of gringos and local Mendocinos.

On Monday I went with los flaccos Les and Yaya to Malargue to get my Argentine residency as was windy day in Las Lenas and needed to do this before leaving for Bariloche. We scammed a bit, got my 2 Argentine friends Yaya and Ricardo to sign as witneses that I live in Argentina and vola, mi certificado de residencia, soy Argentino! We then hit the trout farm and Les and I could not catch any trout but had one of the best meals I have ever had in Argentina, and at 30 P each a great deal with starters, apetizers, wine and trout. If in Las Lenas and there is a down day highly recommend visting Malargue and the trout farm for an excellent meal. I wish you better luck than Les and I had with the fishing rods though. A happening afternoon social spot in Malargue is the Mari Hati, an interesting locale indeed.

Les was very happy when we left Malargue as he got his # de cuil. We are still not sure exactly what this means Les can do but we will see. With this newfound joy and pride of being more invlolved in Argentina, Les found it his duty to get to know the local wildlife and nature and Tuesday night caught himself a special Portena snow lion, from the Buenos Aires region. Snow lions can be cagy as they are a bit older than cougars who are normally 30-39 years old, but snow lions, 40-50 years old are very savvy. Congrats Les and hope there were no injuries that occured during what would have definitely been a difficult capture.

I am now in Bariloche where it is raining with flaccos Mo, Yaya, Santiago, Marius and Yaya. It is supposed to snow in Las Lenas the next few days so here is hoping Doug and the crew get some pow this weekend with closing day being the 15th and ending of a great 2006 snow season with more face shots! Looks to clear up on Thursday here in Bariloche.

Las Lenas, thanks for another great season and staying open in October even though there was only like 100 people in the resort! http://www.laslenas.com Special thanks to Holly Walker for surviving some injuries, the male skier species and of course as always being super helpful! Closing day in Las Lenas is October 15 and in Cerro Catedral in Bariloche October 16 (super secret asado in Laguna if you are around!). So I guess now it is time to just wait 1 month for opening day in Whistler...........?


Opinions